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TEXAS VOTER - The League of Women Voters of Texas

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					                          TEXAS VOTER
                          League of Women Voters of Texas                             Vol. 42, No. 1                       Spring 2007


League Advocacy Activities                                              the Legislative Newsletter (LNL), which you should be receiv-
                                                                        ing electronically. In the LNL, members are provided informa-
Elaine Talarski (San Antonio Area), Advocacy Vice-President
                                                                        tion on bills that LWV-TX is tracking, supporting and opposing.
                               The 80th Legislative session has         It may also include articles that examine the issues on which we
                               convened and LWV-TX is prepared!         are working. If you are not receiving the Legislative Newslet-
                               The following is a summary of            ter and would like to subscribe, e-mail lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org.
                               the tools and individuals who help       In the LNL, you may find Action Alerts to which you should
                               make our advocacy efforts a suc-         respond. Action Alerts may also be sent to you by e-mail when
                               cess:                                    necessary. The LWV-TX web site, www.lwvtexas.org is also
                               In order to advocate for the             an important resource where you will find the League Advocacy
                               League’s priorities, program chairs      Papers and other helpful information.
                               are using Gallery Watch, an im-          When You Go to Austin (WYGTA) brochures for the 80th
                               portant tool used by the program         Texas Legislative Session are now printed and ready for delivery
                               chairs to manage and gather the          from the state office. These handy brochures provide contact
                               information they in turn can use         information and committee assignments for all Texas Repre-
                               to alert League members concern-         sentatives and Senators, as well as other helpful information.
                               ing our priorities and to take action    WYGTA brochures are free with a nominal charge for shipping
when needed. The program is “a web based subscription service           and handling. Contact lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org or 512/472-
offering legislative professions consolidated Texas legislative         1100 to order.
and governmental information, updated throughout the day, as
events happen”. Gallery Watch allows program chairs to track
bills from filing through activity in committees and hearings to        League Lobby Day
final passage. The program also offers other services that are          Elaine Talarski (San Antonio Area), Advocacy Vice-President
helpful in tracking legislative activities, such as ability to search
for bills, notification of events and emails to program chairs of       The Advocacy Committee, headed by Deanna Frisk (Comal
changes in bill status. This service is only accessible to program      Area), Director, did a marvelous job planning League Lobby
chairs and the Advocacy Vice President. Members interested              Day held at the Legislative Conference room in the Capitol
in a specific priority and related legislation are encouraged to        Building on January 30th. Not only was there a good turnout of
contact the appropriate program chair who can provide you with          members and legislators for the breakfast, but many legislators
bill numbers so you can find information on-line. Program chairs        whose schedule would not allow them to attend, dropped in to
are listed in the League Handbook & Directory where addresses,          say hello. There was time for attendees to visit with some of the
phone numbers and email addresses are available.                        legislators in person and interact with League members attend-
                                                                        ing from around the state. Senator Jeff Wentworth gave insights
The Capitol Corps is a group of volunteers from the Austin              on some proposed legislation, some which he is sponsoring.
Area League coordinated by Mary Finch. They provide a valu-
able service by volunteering their expertise and time to advocate       In preparation for visits to legislators, Elaine Talarski (San Anto-
and lobby for LWV-TX’s legislative priorities. When program             nio Area), Advocacy Vice President, gave tips on advocacy and
chairs are unable to be in Austin, and testimony for a particu-         lobbying. Presentations on the three issues selected to advocate
lar bill is imminent, Capitol Corps members will deliver oral           were made. Presenters were Program Chairs who spoke on three
and written testimony at committee hearings and legislators on          issues selected from the many LWV-TX priorities.
behalf of the League.                                                                                                 ...continued on page 3

Legislative Priorities will be the focus of League advocacy ef-
forts during the 80th legislative session. Program chairs submit-
ted priorities of importance for their portfolio.                         IN THIS ISSUE
Not all priorities will rise to the top nor is the list inclusive. A      Voters Guide Wrap Up              IN THIS ISSUE 3
                                                                                                                        p.
list of the League’s legislative priorities for the 80th Legisla-
ture can be found on page 6.                                              Coal-Fired Power Plants                               p. 4
                                                                          Conversations on Judicial Independence                p. 7
All League members are encouraged to participate in the im-
portant activities of advocacy and lobbying. Members are kept             Focus of Testing Committee                            p. 7
informed of legislation the League supports or opposes through
                    Texas VOTER                     letters to the editor. Educating citizens       Local Leagues are targeting individuals
    This newsletter is published quarterly by the                                                   and organizations at the local level to in-
                                                    of the importance of the vote, and moti-
         League of Women Voters of Texas
                                                    vating them to vote is difficult, but it is     vite to forums and information sessions to
   1212 Guadalupe St. #107, Austin, TX 78701
       (512) 472-1100 * (512) 472-4114 fax          something that the League needs to do to        dispense written information supplied by
              lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org                 Make Democracy Work. Begin now to               the state and national study committees.
                 www.lwvtexas.org                   brainstorm how your local League can            Local Leagues are further gathering local
 Portions of the Texas VOTER are funded by the      help build voter participation for your         information about testing and immigra-
    League of Women Voters Education Fund.                                                          tion and using those studies to attract new
                                                    next elections.
     Non-member subscription price is $5.00.
                                                                                                    members.
Send all subscriptions and correspondence to the
                                                    Leagues across the state are busy partici-
                state office in Austin.                                                             Many local Leagues are not limiting
         Third class postage paid at Austin.        pating in local, state and national studies
                                                                                                    themselves to these two issues. Some
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan po-       and preparing for the 80th Legislative
                                                                                                    communities have other important issues
litical organization, encourages the informed and   session. Each of you should be receiv-
                                                                                                    to address. Issues are diverse and have
   active participation of citizens in government   ing the LWV-TX Legislative Newsletter
  and influences public policy through education                                                    different impacts on local communi-
                                                    (LNL). The LNL is e-mailed to all mem-
                    and advocacy.                                                                   ties. Because the League is a multi-issue
                                                    bers (if we have your current e-mail ad-
                                                                                                    organization, local Leagues can select is-
                                                    dress). If you are not receiving the LNL,
President’s Reflections                             contact LWV-TX at lwvtexas@lwvtexas.
                                                                                                    sues attractive at the local level. Diverse
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, League of Women                                                                     issues attract new members.
                                                    org to subscribe. Look for Action Alerts
Voters! On February 14, 1920, six                                                                   Now is the time to use diverse issues to
                                                    that will be sent and respond to them in a
months before the 19th amendment of                                                                 reach out. Because the Legislature is in
                                                    timely manner. We are counting on you!
the U.S. constitution was finally rati-                                                             session, many are particularly interested
fied, the League of Women Voters was                Two of our members, Julia Marsden               in specific issues. Look elsewhere in this
launched. An office and professional staff          (Austin Area) and Melanie Barnes (Lub-          VOTER to find LWV-TX priority issues;
was established in Washington, D.C. The             bock), are retiring from boards that they       that is a good place to start to identify
League of Women Voters was designed to              have served on for many years. Julia            those issues particularly attractive to
be different, a “mighty political experi-           Marsden has represented LWV-TX on               your community. LWV-TX and LWVUS
ment” designed to help women carry out              the Region K/Lower Colorado Regional            have positions on so many issues, there’s
their new responsibilities as voters. Car-          Water Planning Group. This is a regional        something for everybody’s interest. If
rie Chapman Catt, said that LWV would               planning group which is part of state wa-       local Leagues find something missing,
be “an anomaly; we are going to be a                ter planning setup by SB 1 in 1997. She         they can study an entirely different issue
semi-political body. We want political              has served on this group for nine years.        locally. Issues even cross party lines to
things; we want legislation; we are going           Melanie Barnes has served on Texas              reinforce the League’s nonpartisanship.
to educate for citizenship….we have got             Commission on Environmental Quality’s           Now is the time to develop diversity of
to be non-partisan and all-partisan.”               Pollution Prevention Advisory Commit-           issues to attract members.
                                                    tee for eight years. This is a committee
Eighty-seven years later, the League is             which is legislated by the Waste Reduc-         TAKE A VACATION FROM
still an anomaly in American politics.              tion Policy Act of 1991. Thanks to              THE LEAGUE
Nonpartisanship, consensus on issues,               you for the dedication of your time and         Linda Wassenich (Dallas Area), Public Relations
study before action and concerted advoca-           expertise by representing LWV-TX on             Vice-President
cy are central to the League’s philosophy.          these boards.
The League provides citizens the tools to                                                           Just in time for the end of the Legislative
                                                                    Darlene Hicks-Comal Area        Session, the drawing for Take a Vacation
make a difference. Let’s all celebrate the
founding of the League of Women Voters.                                                             from the League will be held on Fri-
                                                    LOCAL LEAGUES USE                               day, May 25th. Prizes will include two
Some on the state board met with Roger              ISSUES TO ATTRACT                               round-trip airline tickets from Southwest
Williams, Texas Secretary of State while            DIVERSE MEMBERS                                 Airlines for anywhere they fly in the
in Austin for League Lobby Days. He                 Karen Nicholson (Midland), Organization Vice-
                                                                                                    lower 48 states.
tells us that voter turnout was lower               President                                       You can enter this drawing by sending a
(33%) in 2006 than it was in 2004 (36%).            Membership is local. Issues are local.          contribution of $25 to LWV-TEF for one
The state and local Leagues worked hard             Local Leagues have at least two excellent       chance or $50 for three chances. Be sure
to provide information and motivation               opportunities to attract new members:           to mark your check for Take a Vacation
to voters in Texas through producing                public school testing and immigration.          from the League. Only 300 chances will
and distributing state and local Voters             Those are the two issues currently being        be offered; so your odds are good.
Guides, holding forums, providing public            studied by LWV-TX and LWVUS; those              Many thanks to Southwest Airlines for
announcements to local TV and radio                 are the two issues likely to attract local      being such a strong supporter of the
stations, conducting voter registration             interest.                                       League of Women Voters.
events, and writing opinion pieces and

                                          ...continued from page 1     Each participant was provided Advocacy Papers, talking points
Medicaid:                                                              and cookies with the LWV emblem to take with them to present
A Wise Investment of State Dollars                                     at the legislative offices they visited.
Jensie Madden (Comal Area), Social Policy Coordinator, em-
phasized the need for increased funding for services under Med-
icaid for children and the elderly and for fully funding CHIP,
and increasing eligibility and renewal for 12 months, rather than
the current six months
Air Quality for All Texans
Laura Blackburn (Houston Area), Air Quality, addressed mea-
sures to reduce emissions, the League’s position on the proposed
coal-fired power plants and the issue of enforcing the regulations
on air toxins.
Recorded Legislative Vote
Linda Camin (Dallas), Recorded Votes, discussed the League’s
continued support for “Recorded Legislative Votes”, advocating
a Constitutional Amendment requiring the legislature to record             (left to right) Anne Eaton, Frances Hargrove, and Jensie Madden
the legislators’ names and make them readily available to the              gather materials to take to their assigned legislators at the capitol
public.                                                                    during Lobby Day as Marita Mirzatuny, LWV-TX intern, looks on.


                 AROUND THE STATE                                      Nancy Wilson (LWV-Richardson) was recently honored by
                                                                       the R.E.A.L Board (recycling) with the dedication of a bench,
Barbara Weinstein (Dallas), Director                                   complete with a plaque on a walking trail in Richardson.
Congratulations to LWV-Gainesville on setting up an Education                             UCCESSFUL FUNDRAISER
Fund for their League with LWV-TEF. This is a first for them,
providing them additional ways to raise money for their League.        LWV-Houston Area held their 6th annual luncheon, A Repast
                                                                       With a Pair of Political Pioneers.
On January 11th LWV-Tarrant County held a forum on Gas
Well Drilling & Natural Gas Safety. Over 150 people took time          LWV-Dallas held their 2nd annual Susan B. Anthony luncheon
to attend this interesting, evening meeting.                           LWV-Comal Area sponsored a benefit at the Circle Arts Theatre
KUDO’S TO…….                                                           performance of The Sound of Music.
Jeanne Grisham, (LWV-Tarrant County), was recently ap-                 LWV-San Marcos - see picture below.
pointed to the Fort Worth Transportation Board.                        Please let me know about YOUR successful fund raiser for the
Catrina Williamson (Lubbock Area) has been appointed to                next VOTER.
TCEQ’s Pollution Prevention Advisory Committee
                                                                       VOTERS GUIDE UPDATE
                                                                       Judy Hollinger (Houston Area), Voter Service Chair
                                                                       Local Leagues once again demonstrated their resourcefulness
                                                                       and community outreach for the November 2006 General Elec-
                                                                       tion. Seventeen local Leagues in Texas distributed 494,370
                                                                       (almost half a million!) printed copies of local Voters Guides,
                                                                       including information on statewide races supplied by LWV-
                                                                       TX. Kudos especially to Austin Area, Brazos Valley, Comal
                                                                       Area, Dallas Area, Gainesville, Houston Area (Ft. Bend Unit),
                                                                       Kerrville Area, and Sherman/Grayson County for working with
                                                                       local newspapers in distributing to subscribers. Thirteen local
                                                                       Leagues provided electronic versions of their Voters Guides,
                                                                       either on their own websites or through the LWV-TX website.
                                                                       The state office staff kept busy distributing printed and elec-
                                                                       tronic copies, in both English and Spanish, of LWV-TX Voters
                                                                       Guides to libraries in areas without local Leagues and to several
                                                                       colleges and universities. The LWV-TX website registered a
(left to right) Holly Mullins, Jeannie Lewis of LWV-San Marcos Area,   whopping 1.4 million hits in the 6 week period prior to the No-
and Darlene Hicks enjoy a glass of wine at LWV-San Marcos Area’s
                                                                       vember 7 election.
wine tasting seminar and fundraiser.

                                                                                                                                                   
COAL-FIRED POWER                              to any use of coal in our energy mix. For      only 3% of world known reserves (Russia
                                              example, the Sierra Club opposes the use       has nearly 30%), and the price is volatile.
PLANTS                                        of “combustion coal power plants” in its       We now import 33% of the natural gas
Laura Blackburn (Houston Area), Air Quality   Energy Resources Policy of September           that we use, and it is predicted that we
Chair                                         2006, preferring to rely upon energy ef-       will import 50% by 2020. This fluctuation
The issue of coal-fired power plants          ficiency and renewable resources to meet       in price was noted in Gov. Perry’s Order
brings together many concerns: global         our energy needs.                              RP 49, where it is stated that “the price of
warming, conservation, energy efficiency,     There have also been lawsuits filed in         natural gas has increased more than 300%
renewable resources, energy indepen-          order to stop or slow down the permitting      in the past five years.”
dence, and other international concerns,      of these coal-fired power plants. Envi-        Wind: Texas is the largest producer of
including global conflict. The position       ronmental Defense has filed suit against       wind energy in the U.S., and TXU is the
of LWVUS is “Use of a variety of energy       TCEQ for changing its definition of            largest user of this wind-generated electri-
sources, with emphasis on conserving          best-available control technology (BACT)       cal power. The problem is that popula-
energy and using energy-efficient tech-       from including consideration of coal gas-      tion centers tend to be far away from the
nologies, the predominant reliance on re-     ification and fluidized bed combustion to      wind source, current transmission lines
newable resources, and policies that limit    “BACT—BACT with consideration given            are inefficient and they are expensive.
reliance on nuclear power.” Thus we do        to the technical practicability and the        Furthermore, wind is less reliable than
not oppose the use of coal technologies,      economic reasonableness of reducing or         other sources.
providing the environmental impact is         eliminating emissions from the facility.”      Nuclear: While we have some nuclear
minimal—though we do prefer conserva-         Various cities and local governments,          generation in Texas now, nuclear plants
tion and renewable resources. Global          particularly those in non-attainment areas,    require at least a 10-year lead time to
warming is also a priority for the League.    have joined together to oppose the power       build. While they produce no CO2 or
There are several factors that have           plants due to possible increase in oxides      other pollutants, they do have long-term
brought the issue of coal-fired power         of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, keeping           storage problems. TXU and other electric
plants to the fore in Texas.                  them from meeting required State Imple-        utilities are considering future nuclear
                                              mentation Plans (SIP). The Galveston-          plants.
•   The Electrical Reliability Council of
                                              Houston Association for Smog Prevention
    Texas (ERCOT) has projected brown-                                                       Coal: Montana has 1/3 of all coal depos-
                                              (GHASP) has filed suit against TCEQ
    outs by the end of the decade if we do                                                   its in America and 11% of all coal world-
                                              for extending the ozone standards for the
    not add to our electricity generation                                                    wide. Its coal equals 240 billion barrels
                                              Houston-Galveston-Brazoria non-attain-
    facilities.                                                                              of oil (enough to replace all imported
                                              ment area. Furthermore, on January 28,
•   In Executive Order RP-493 Governor        2007, four environmental groups sued           oil for 60 years according to Montana’s
    Perry ordered the Texas Commission        Governor Perry, accusing him of violat-        governor.). TXU will use Wyoming low-
    on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to        ing state law and the Texas Constitution       sulfur coal, which will help with SOx
    “prioritize and expedite the process-     by issuing an executive order to speed the     emissions. Coal also produces about
    ing of environmental permit applica-      permitting process for new power plants.       1.8 times the CO2 as natural gas—very
    tions that are protective of public       (One point of this lawsuit is that interfer-   important in global warming. Other emis-
    health and environment and propose        ing with the Texas State Office of Admin-      sions from coal-fired power plants include
    to use Texas’ natural resources to        istrative Hearings is in conflict with the     particulates, NOx, and mercury.
    generate electrical power.” Further-      separation of powers doctrine.)                Conservation and Renewable
    more, hearings shall be held “no later                                                   Resources: No one opposes conserva-
                                              In contrast to all of this opposition is
    than one week after the required 30                                                      tion. Most electric utilities have energy-
                                              Thomas L. Friedman, a noted “green
    day public notice for any electric                                                       efficiency programs for both homeown-
                                              advocate” and columnist for The New
    generating facility that has been                                                        ers and industries which are helpful if
                                              York Times, who said on January 19th
    issued a draft permit by the Commis-                                                     customers avail themselves of them. In
                                              that “If we are to turn the tide on climate
    sion.” Then, the “Texas State Office                                                     his Executive Order RP 49, Governor
                                              change and end our oil addiction, we need
    of Administrative Hearings shall set                                                     Perry ordered each state agency to “de-
                                              more of everything: solar, wind, hydro,
    a schedule that returns a proposal for                                                   velop a plan for conserving energy and set
                                              ethanol, biodiesel, clean coal and nuclear
    decision to the Commission in no                                                         a percentage goal for reducing its usage
                                              power—and conservation.” TXU says it
    more than six consecutive months                                                         of electricity, gasoline, and natural gas”
                                              is using “clean-coal technologies”—some
    from the date of the referral.”                                                          and to report back to the governor and
                                              environmental groups say they are using
•   Applications have been received by                                                       the Legislative Budget Board quarterly,
                                              “dirty-coal technologies.” Who is right?
    the TCEQ for 17 coal-fired power                                                         beginning with April 1, 2006.
                                              Energy Sources
    plants, 11 of which are for Texas
    Utilities Company (TXU).                  Natural Gas: Natural gas is considered                              ...continued on page 5
                                              the cleanest of the fossil fuels. The prob-
Some environmental groups are opposed
                                              lem with natural gas is that the U.S. has

                    ...continued from page 4     Texas Environmental Research Consor-              sociated with the schools, and the public
The use of renewable resources has re-           tium in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We            in general. Won’t it be great to have
duced our dependence on fossil fuels, but        are urging the legislature to require that        an unbiased report from the League on
the impact is still relatively small. For ex-    TCEQ look at the cumulative effect of             the facts and issues associated with this
ample, in 2004 ERCOT said that nuclear,          these plants before permits are issued.           important issue!
hydro and wind provided only 16% of              While we are concerned about all pos-             The state League sponsored and orga-
our electricity generated. Natural gas           sible pollutants as well as carbon dioxide        nized a debate on KLRN, the PBS station
provided 44%, and coal 40%. Interest-            and its impact on global warming, we              in San Antonio, which featured the U.S.
ingly, installed capacity in 2004 in Texas       are particularly concerned about the EPA          Senatorial candidates last October. This
was 72% natural gas, 19% coal, and 6%            non-attainment areas (Houston-Galves-             program provided great visibility for
nuclear, hydro and wind. This shows that         ton-Brazoria, Dallas-Fort Worth, Beau-            the League in Texas and an unparalleled
greater use was made of nuclear, hydro           mont-Port Arthur, and San Antonio), and           service to Texas voters.
and wind as well as coal even when other         the possibility that Texas will not be able
sources were available.                          to achieve the 4.656 tons of total mercury        The staff facilitates the Board’s approval
                                                 required by the EPA by 2010.                      of local Leagues’ TEF projects via email;
Cost Comparison: Cost comparisons per                                                              so there is no longer a fee to the local
kilowatt-hour are as follows: coal—4.5-
5.4¢, wind—4.7-6.3¢, geothermal—4.8¢,
                                                 WHY I DONATE TO THE                               Leagues for submitting a project to be
                                                                                                   reimbursed through their TEF funds.
hydroelectric—4.9-8.5¢, natural gas—             STATE LEAGUE
5.2-6.5¢, biomass—5.5-6.4¢, solar—                                                                 Soon LWV-TX publications will be
                                                 Linda Wassenich (Dallas Area), Public Relations
12.4-26¢, and nuclear 5.9¢. The cost of                                                            posted on the LWV-TX website and ac-
                                                 Vice-President
conservation technologies varies with the                                                          cessible to League members, thanks to
                                                 I am in my eighth year of service on the          the technical knowledge of our staff. The
type of technology.
                                                 state board, and I have to admit that I           Services to Local Leagues committee,
Coal-Fired Power Plants & TXU: As                typify the research about volunteers and          chaired by Karen Nicholson (Midland),
stated above, 17 permits for coal-fired          philanthropic donations. People who               is creatively addressing the ways that the
power plants have been filed with TCEQ.          are active volunteers in an organization          state League and the state board can help
Eleven of those have been filed by TXU,          are often among the most loyal donors.            the local Leagues in more meaningful
and TCEQ has issued draft permits for            As volunteers, they see the work of the           ways. The development of several poten-
all eleven. Each of these plants will be         organization up close and know the need           tial new local Leagues is being nurtured
carbon-capture and storage-ready—mean-           firsthand.                                        by this committee and Gloria Sasser (San
ing they will be ready to sequester CO2,         During the eight years I’ve been on the           Marcos Area), who is serving in an off-
use it for drilling for oil and gas, or use it   board, the state League has gone from             board capacity.
in some other fashion. Furthermore, in           one full-time professional staff person           In the 36 years that I have been a member
building these plants, TXU promises to           with a part-time secretary to two full-time       of the League of Women Voters, I have
reduce its total emissions by 20% through        professional staff people and one or two          always appreciated the information that I
the use of supercritical coal technology         interns who work a total of 20-30 hours a         gained from the League about candidates
(much higher temperatures leading to             week. The staff has contributed greatly to        and issues. My favorite saying has been
greater efficiency and thus fewer emis-          the operations of the League. They have           that I know of no other organization that
sions), dry flue gas desulphurization for        made it possible for the Voters Guide to          gets a bigger bang for the buck than the
sulfur dioxide (SO2), selective catalytic        be posted on the state League’s website,          League of Women Voters.
reduction for nitrogen oxides, sorbent           and local Leagues can now have a page
injection for mercury control, and shut-                                                           So why do I give to the League? I believe
                                                 on the state League’s website. They have
ting down eight old, inefficient natural                                                           that it is a unique organization that, in
                                                 greatly increased our capability to send
gas plants. If TXU does not build the                                                              many ways, is a guardian of our democ-
                                                 news releases to media all over the state
new technology coal plants, they cannot                                                            racy. The League promotes informed and
                                                 and e-newsletters to nonprofit organi-
shut down their older plants, and we will                                                          involved participation in public policy
                                                 zations statewide, thus increasing our
continue to have that pollution. They also                                                         matters of government. The League
                                                 visibility.
plan to retrofit nine lignite plants, convert-                                                     wants to level the playing field so that all
                                                 As we enter the legislative session, the          voices are heard, so that voters’ rights are
ing four to use Wyoming low-sulfur coal.
                                                 Legislative Newsletter is now available           respected and all votes are counted, so
TXU projects the use of coal gasification
                                                 free of charge to League members who              that government works in the public inter-
in 5-15 years, and plans to reduce CO2
                                                 want to receive it by email. The League           est—not for the special interests.
within 15 years so that it compares favor-
                                                 Lobby Day provides an excellent opportu-
ably with modern gas units.                                                                        Now, how can you give to the League?
                                                 nity for League members to be briefed on
                                                                                                   Well, you can give gifts in honor of
LWV-TX Position: One of the flaws in             current issues and call on their legislators
                                                                                                   someone, in memory of special people, as
the Texas Clean Air Act is that it grants        to talk about those issues.
                                                                                                   a birthday gift, to put someone’s name on
permits on a case-by-case basis, without         The state League is undertaking a critical        a Sustainers Plaque, to spotlight someone
taking into account the cumulative impact        study of mandatory testing in the public          on the League’s website, to have a chance
of all pollution-producing plants, though        schools. There is a lot of debate about                                 ...continued on page 6
ozone studies have been conducted by the         this issue among politicians, people as-
                                                                                                                                               
                   ...continued from page 5   League. Many different ways to donate             website for a month. Send a picture, if
to win something in the Take a Vacation       to the League are offered with the full           you can; if you can’t, the state office will
from the League drawing, or to support        recognition that members will choose the          request one from the honoree at the time
the auction at state convention. You can      solicitation or way to contribute that is         she or he is notified.
transfer appreciated stock to the League      most satisfying to each person.                   Four people have already been honored in
for the endowment or simply for a major       So, thank you, one and all for the tremen-        this special way: Julia Marsden (Austin
gift. You can contribute to sponsor the       dous loyalty and support that you give to         Area) on her 65th birthday, Catherine
Excellence in Environmental Awareness         the League of Women Voters of Texas and           Gordon (Waco) for serving as the presi-
Awards luncheon. You can respond to the       for Making Democracy Work.                        dent of the Waco League for 8 years, Val
direct mail appeals or keep the envelope                                                        Standifer (Richardson) for her creative
and give when the time is right for you.                                                        ideas and hard work on the Voters Guide
                                              SPOTLIGHT ON A
Many different ways are offered to                                                              and outreach to college students, and
contribute to the League. Some people         LEAGUE MEMBER                                     Anne Eaton (Comal Area) for providing a
like the excitement of an auction or the      Linda Wassenich (Dallas Area), Public Relations   lovely setting and great meals for the July
visibility of a special event. Some like      Vice-President                                    state board meeting and her dedication
to contribute and recognize other people.     Here’s a great way to thank a League              and contributions to the achievements of
Some like to contribute for the chance to     member. For $50 you can shine a spot-             the Comal Area League.
win something. Some give to the LWV-          light on a League member who has done a
TX because they want to support the           terrific job on a League project, or who is
League’s advocacy efforts or they itemize     celebrating a birthday or an anniversary,
their deductions on their tax return. Some    or just to say thanks for the special way
give to the endowment because they            that she or he is a member. All you have
want to make sure the League is there for     to do is write a short statement about the
future generations to continue Making         person and send it with a check for $50
Democracy Work.                               to the state office. Your contribution can        Look for this icon on the home
Gifts of all sizes and from lots of mem-      be made to LWV-TX or LWV-TEF. The                 page to access Spotlight on a League
bers are important. Outside funders           state office will notify the individual be-       Member, the Minnie Fisher Cunning-
often want to know what the board and         ing honored of your thoughtful gesture            ham Society, and the Sustainer’s Plaque.
the membership are doing to support the       and spotlight that person on the League’s

              LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR THE 80TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Air Quality: Monitor legislation regard-      Support policies that improve well-be-            Political Campaign Finance: Support
ing air toxins and enforceable standards      ing for families in poverty, programs that        legislation for campaign finance reform.
regarding the proposed coal-fired power       provide job training for living wage jobs,        Public School Finance: Support ad-
plants.                                       and equal education opportunities from            equate and equitable funding of public
Capital Punishment: Protect the men-          preschool to higher education.                    education.
tally retarded from the death penalty.        Hazardous Waste: Monitor legislation              Recorded Votes: Support Constitutional
Child Care: Support early childhood           for disposal of nuclear waste and other           amendment to require that votes in Texas
education professional development, ex-       radioactive materials and promoting recy-         Legislature be recorded and made readily
pand access to voluntary, high quality pre-   cling efforts.                                    available to the public.
kindergarten, and increase reimbursement      Immigration: Monitor distribution of              Redistricting: Support bill calling for an
to improve quality of care for infants and    programs and services to legal immigrants         independent redistricting commission.
toddlers through equitable workplace          and undocumented immigrants which
development.                                  they are eligible to receive.                     Reproductive Choice: Promote and
                                                                                                protect women’s access to health care, in-
Child Health: Implement 12 months             Health Care for the Elderly: Support              cluding all aspects of reproductive health.
eligibility for CHIP and children’s Med-      increased funding to provide adequate
icaid and fix problems with the Integrated    programs to serve the elderly.                    Services to the Seriously Mentally Ill:
Eligibility System to prevent eligible                                                          Maintain and increase funding for ser-
                                              Judicial Selection: Support merit selec-          vices to the seriously mentally ill.
children from losing coverage.                tion and/or nonpartisan election of Texas
Election Laws: Monitor legislation to         appellate judiciary.                              Transportation: Support local autho-
meet the requirements for HAVA.                                                                 rization of a sales tax for mass transit
                                              Juvenile Justice: Support and fund sub-           projects.
Energy: Promote incentives for renew-         stance abuse and mental health needs for
able and clean energy sources. Monitor        youth at risk and for those incarcerated.         Water: Support full general revenue
the building of coal-fired power plants                                                         funding for the TCEQ water programs.
                                              Land Use: Increase county authority for           Support enhanced protection for envi-
and nuclear power plants.                     land development. Support full funding            ronmental flows, Texas rivers, bays, and
Equal Opportunity/ Income Assistance:         for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.          estuaries.

MINNIE FISHER                                     Unit meeting, it is necessary to make res-     Schools of Texas.
                                                  ervations two days in advance so the chef
CUNNINGHAM SOCIETY                                will know how much food to prepare.
                                                                                                 Consider sharing information gathered
                                                                                                 from local League meetings with the
Linda Wassenich (Dallas Area), Public Relations   With the exceptional meals and excellent       co-chairs of the testing committee. Input
Vice-President                                    location, LWVTC is seeing the Southwest        from Leagues across the state would
Charter membership in the Minnie Fisher           Lunch Unit growing in numbers.                 be helpful. The study co-chairs can be
Cunningham Society for planned giv-
                                                  We highly recommend searching for vari-        reached at nanclayton@yahoo.com (Nan
ing now totals seventeen people. Six
                                                  ous venues in which to hold convenient         Clayton) and roussos@swbell.net (Anne
new members have signed on; they are
                                                  meetings. Has your League considered           Roussos).
Julie Lowenberg (Dallas), Nancy Wilson
                                                  a retirement center or other place to take
(Richardson), Shirley and John John-
                                                  the meeting to your members instead of         UPDATE ON
son (Tarrant County), Ruthann Geer
(Arlington), and Diane Sheridan (Bay
                                                  requiring them to come to you? Reach-          CONVERSATIONS ON
Area). They join Maxine Barkan (Austin
                                                  ing out has been a positive step for one of    JUDICIAL
                                                  the Tarrant County units and therefore for
Area), Elaine Wiant (Dallas), Charlaine
                                                  the League!                                    INDEPENDENCE
Reynolds (formerly Houston Area), Julia
                                                                                                 Maxine Barkan (Austin Area), Judicial Selection
Marsden (Austin Area), Linda and Mark             GATHERING                                      Chair
Wassenich (Dallas), Gwen Murphree
(Florida), Susybelle Gosslee (Dallas),
                                                  INFORMATION FROM                               Plans are moving forward on the pro-
Sondra Ferstl (Denton), Sandy Ashby               EDUCATION GROUPS IS                            posed Conversations on Judicial Inde-
                                                                                                 pendence, a panel discussion that will
(Montgomery County), and Jean Slobod              FOCUS OF TESTING                               be video-taped at a PBS station. This is
(deceased).
                                                  COMMITTEE                                      the last phase of a grant awarded to the
You, too, can leave a legacy for future           Nan Clayton and Anne Roussos (Austin Area),    League of Women Voters of Texas Educa-
generations. Leave a bequest of any               Education Study Co-Chairs                      tion Fund (LWV-TEF) by the LWVUS
amount to the League in your will, make                                                          Education Fund (LWVEF) as part of a
                                                  Since the committee last met in Dallas
a pledge of $5,000 payable over five years                                                       three-year program titled “Safeguarding
                                                  on September 30, 2006, members have
to the endowment, or make a pledge of                                                            U.S. Democracy: Promoting an Inde-
                                                  volunteered for assignments to gather
$5,000 payable over five years to the op-                                                        pendent Judiciary by Defending the U.S.
                                                  information from some fifteen education
erating funds of LWV-TX or LWV-TEF.                                                              Constitution.” It is funded by the Pro-
                                                  groups. Members are using a list of con-
Contact Linda Wassenich, Public Rela-                                                            gram on Constitutional and Legal Policy
                                                  tact information for each group, a stan-
tions VP, at 214-368-5305 or LindaVote@                                                          of the Open Society. The program will
                                                  dard set of questions, and a recommended
tx.rr.com, to make your plans known or                                                           take place sometime in 2007, and efforts
                                                  set of contact procedures. The work is be-
for additional information.                                                                      are now underway to secure a PBS station
                                                  ing done by e-mail and by phone. Some
REACHING OUT                                      committee members are also working on          for the event.
Jeane Grisham (Tarrant County), President,        sections of the outline for the Facts and      We are partnering in this effort with
LWV-Tarrant County                                Issues, due out August 2007.                   the Texas Young Lawyers Association
The units of the League of Women Voters           The timeline for the study sets mid-March      (TYLA), which has been valuable in help-
of Tarrant County meet in five different          as the deadline for the reports to be sent     ing secure panelists and drafting questions
locations throughout the county. One              to committee co-chairs. The information        for discussion. To date, participation in
such location is unique in that it provides       will help committee members formulate          the panel is confirmed for former Texas
a venue that is conducive to a wide age           consensus questions. Plans are to meet         Supreme Court Justices Bob Gammage
range of members. This Southwest Lunch            again in March for this phase of the study.    and Deborah Hankinson.
Unit meets in a beautiful high-rise build-        With the Legislature in session this year,     In addition to the panel discussion, TYLA
ing located in downtown Fort Worth, the           committee co-chairs will attend meetings       is working on a proposal to film a “Fire-
Trinity Terrace Retirement Community              in Austin and collect resources in an effort   side Chat” with former U.S Supreme
building. Trinity Terrace overlooks the           to monitor education issues and to keep        Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on
Trinity River and provides an excellent           committee members up to date on the lat-       judicial independence, possibly with
meeting place for League members who              est developments. Of particular interest       the participation of former Texas Chief
are residents of Trinity Terrace, as well as      is a proposal from Sen. Florence Shapiro       Justice Tom Phillips. These two events,
a convenient location for members who             of Plano, chair of the Senate Education        the Conversations and the chat could be
work in the business and culture district         Committee. She has proposed replacing          paired for publicity.
of Fort Worth. Due to the building loca-          the exit-level TAKS tests in high school       Karin Crump, President of TYLA and
tion, members and prospective members             with end-of-course tests and a standard-       Maxine Barkan (Austin Area), Judicial
are able to attend on their lunch hour and        ized test to measure college readiness.        Selection Program Chair and grant coor-
conveniently get back to work or back to
                                                  This spring, local Leagues throughout          dinator, met with Texas Supreme Court
the many activities provided to the resi-
                                                  Texas are holding informational meet-          Justice Dale Wainwright and former Chief
dents of the building.
                                                  ings in connection with the study, Man-        Justice Phillips, who gave advice and
In order to eat at the Southwest Lunch            dated Achievement Testing in the Public        valuable guidance.
                                                                                                                                               
  Thank you to all the members and nonmember                        League of Women Voters of Texas                                Non-profit org.
     individuals that have recently supported                       1212 Guadalupe, #107                                     U.S. POSTAGE PAID
             LWV-TX and LWV-TEF:                                    Austin, TX 78701                                                 AUSTIN, TX
                                                                                                                                    PERMIT #144
TX                       Swift, Julie         Swartz, Barbara
Alhilali, Ruth           Vargas, Galia        Texas Counseling
Aubin, Katherine         Vickers, Wilma        Association
Augustine, Michelle      Wild, Linda          Todd, Lucie
Baker, Thomas E.         Wild, Linda          Ward, Bettie
Barkan, Maxine           Williams, Holly      Wassenich, Linda
Bartsch, Nadine          Williams, Janice     Wasson, Melinda
Berg, Ruth               Wonio, Diane
Berry, David             Yantis, Barbara
Berthelsen, Linda        TEF
Blodgett, Terrell        Arrington Davis, Aneta
Buie, Julia              Batchelor, Colleen
Castellanos, Kristen     Bell, Carol
Currie, Sandra           Bowers, Ruth
Currie, Sandra           Campbell, Parks
Dieter, Alison           Chandler, Louise
Dunn, Louise             Cunningham, Sharon
Eilerman, R. N.          Eaton, Anne
Furse, Margaret          Emery, Frances
Hall, Stephanie          Essinger, Gwen
Harris, Carol            Fleschmann, Jacqueline                      Donate to TEF for a chance to win two round-
Harris, Frankie          Geer, Ruthann
Harris, M.F.             Golden, Melvin                                  trip tickets from Southwest Airlines
Hasty, Louise            Gosslee, Susybelle                                           (see page  for more information)

                                                                                  	
Hershey, Mrs. J.W.       Gray, Gloria
Hollinger, Judy

                                                                        				nline	Donations	
                         Hankins, Barbara
Homan, Katherine         Hatton W. Sumners
Hotinski, Barbara        Foundation, Inc.
Johnson, John            Henderson, Ralph
Johnson, Lynne           Hunt, Kathleen


                                                                      www.lwvtexas.org
Johnston, Ellen          Johnson, Johanna
Joseph, Jane             Johnson, Maria
Kane, Ed                 Killmer, Grace
Kraft, Shirley           Kramer, Ken
Krawietz, Jayne          Lindeman, Marilyn
                                                                                       Give	to	
Krefting, Linda          Lowenberg, Julie                               LWV-TX	and	LWV-TX	Education	Fund	(TEF)	
Kubala, Clarice          Madden, Jensie
Lindenbaum, Marguerite   Margolis, Hannah                                        Contact the state office with questions,
Lowenberg, Julie         Mather, Jean                                           lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org or 512-472-1100.
Melsha, Robert           Mathis, Phillip
Montgomery, Leonora      Messer, Valera
Newell, Charldean        Mullan, Carolie
Paige, Karyl             Parken, Judith                                                        							Look for this link on our website!
Pak, Jane                Randalls                                                                          (bottom left-hand corner)
Quesada, Gloria          Roe, Dabney
Reed, Bonnie             Rosebery, Charleen
Ruud, Dian               Ruth McLean Bowman
                                                                    THE MEMBERS PAGE OF THE WEBSITE WILL SOON BE
Smock, Roxanna            Bowers Foundation                         PASSWORD PROTECTED. LOOK FOR AN EMAIL FROM
Sund, Eldon              Salazar, Raul                                  THE STATE OFFICE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.
Sutherland, Eleanor      Sheridan, Diane

                   Honors and Memorials                                                  Mark Your Calendar:
Aneta	Arrington	Davis	donated	to	TEF	in	honor	of	James	H.	                             February
Arrington.	Thomas	E.	Baker	donated	to	TX	in	memory	of	Pat	
                                                                                       14	     	LWV	formed	in	1920
Nuckols.	Kristen	Castellanos	donated	to	TX	in	honor	of	Linda	
Wassenich.	Judy	Hollinger	donated	to	TX	in	honor	of	Janet	                             19	     	President’s	Day
Imhoff.	Grace	Killmer	donated	to	TEF	in	memory	of	Donald	F.	                           March
Killmer.	Carolie	Mullan	donated	to	TEF	in	memory	of	Phil	Han-                          2	      	Texas	Independence	Day
kins.	Jane	Pak	donated	to	TX	in	honor	of	Katherine	Homan.	
                                                                                       3	      	Texas	Flag	Day
Judith	Parken	donated	to	TEF	in	memory	of	Phil	Hankins.	Glo-
ria	Quesada	donated	to	TX	in	memory	of	Guadalupe	Martinez	                             31							Cesar	Chavez	Day
Quesada.	Dian	Ruud	donated	to	TX	in	honor	of	Barbara	Ruud.	                            April
Linda	Wassenich	donated	to	TEF	in	honor	of	Jan	&	Barefoot	                             8	      	Easter	Sunday
Sanders.	
*The last issue of the Texas VOTER incorrectly reported that a donation was made to
                                                                                       22	     	Earth	Day
TX in honor of Ann Burbridge by Nadine Bartsch. The actual contribution was made by    30							Early	Voting	Starts
LWV-Lubbock.

				
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