Archives

Young WV Week of Action; Redistricting Public Hearings

Today kicks off a Week of Action organized by Young West Virginia. They are hosting rallies across the state to help garner community action in support of the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and D.C. Statehood. These pro-democracy reforms are our once in a generation opportunity to protect our freedom to vote, end partisan and racial gerrymandering, and get dark money out of politics. Join a rally near you. Events are happening in:

Join Young WV’s week of action and play a part in fulfilling the promise of our democracy.

This week is also the start of a series of listening sessions hosted by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Redistricting, with public hearings in Winfield (Tuesday 7/27) and Logan (Thursday 7/29). All 12 in-person public hearings will take place from 6 to 8 PM, with doors opening at 5:30 PM to begin the sign-in process. Anyone who would like to be guaranteed an opportunity to speak during the hearings will need to be present to sign in by 6 PM. 

See the full schedule and other redistricting information and resources compiled by our Fair Maps Committee here.

Let’s take advantage of the upcoming hearings to let legislators know that when it comes to our districts, we want a transparent process we can trust, where communities remain whole and where voters have an equal voice.

Action Alert: WV Water Protections Under Revision – Act by July 19

We’re sharing this important Action Alert from our friends at the WV Rivers Coalition. 

All Hands on Deck: WV Water Protections Under Revision

A recent a policy decision by the WVDEP related to water quality standards creates a loophole to allow industries to dump more toxins in our source water.

This proposal is part of a second round of human health criteria revisions – the portion of our water quality standards that protects our health from dangerous pollutants like cancer causing toxins, chemicals known to cause birth-defects, and poisons like cyanide.

Submit comments on the proposal today!

This policy is dangerous for West Virginia. Not only will it allow more toxins in our drinking water sources, it creates a shortcut for polluters to allow EVEN MORE toxins in our water with less public involvement.

Ways this policy puts our health and our water at risk:

  1. The proposal creates a loophole for industry to further weaken the human health criteria on a case-by-case basis if industry funds a study that sways the WVDEP to decide that water and fish can handle more toxins.  
  2. This is handout to big corporations, who can afford the studies. Hint: chemical manufacturers asked for this loophole, so we are pretty sure they can afford these studies and are confident they believe they can demonstrate results in their favor.  
  3. There is already a process in place to revise water quality standards. The revision sidesteps that procedure by creating a shortcut that reduces scrutiny and public input in decision-making.  
  4. The loophole exacerbates environmental justice issues by allowing more toxins in waters near industrialized areas, which are often poorer communities that are already struggling with problems related to social, economic, and environmental justice.  
  5. On top of all these factors, it’s just plain old bad policy. It’s vague and sets a precedent for further weakening of water quality standards statewide.

This is an all hand on deck call to action!  

You can submit comments on the proposal through July 19 hereIt’s important for the WVDEP to hear personalized responses from commenters. Think about how the policy change would affect you and your loved ones personally.

In addition to submitting written comments, please plan to join the virtual public hearing on the proposal on July 19 at 6:00PM

WV DEP Proposes to Further Weaken Water Quality Standards

The WVDEP is proposing another round of changes to the state’s water quality standards that will allow more toxins in our drinking water sources, while also creating loopholes for polluters to further weaken criteria intended to protect human health. Our friends at the West Virginia Rivers Coalition have more details here. You have an opportunity to weigh in on this bad policy at a virtual public hearing hosted by the DEP on Monday, July 19 at 6 PM. 

Tell Senators Manchin and Capito to Support the For the People Act

West Virginia voters can help save the For the People Act.
 
Contact Sen. Manchin at 202-224-3954 or manchin.senate.gov/contact-joe/email-joe and Sen. Capito at 202-224-6472 or capito.senate.gov/contact/share-your-opinion
 
You can also take action here
 
 
 

The League says “NO” to 2 Bad Bills – SB565 and HB3300

 
 Please read on about 2 BAD BILLS moving in the Legislature and contact your legislators and tell them to vote NO. Each legislators’ phone number and a link to email can be accessed at https://www.wvlegislature.gov/Senate1/roster.cfm and  https://www.wvlegislature.gov/House/roster.cfm 
 
     SB565 pertains to elections and has passed the Senate and will move to the House. The worst aspects are that it includes none of the reforms that contributed to the high turnouts in 2020, such as no-excuse absentee voting or having drop boxes for absentee ballot requests and ballots, and worse, it pretty much guts the Automatic Voter Registration at DMV bill that passed a few years ago but has yet to be implemented. It also moves the dates for early in-person voting back so that the Saturday before Election Day, the most popular day for early voting, is eliminated. This bill reflects the wish list of the Secretary of State and includes a few acceptable changes, but the bad far outweighs the good. The League has been involved in discussions along with other pro-voter organizations with the Secretary’s election staff advocating for voter-friendly changes, to no avail. The LWVWV priority on taxation for this session was that the LWVWV Supports measures that modernize the elections process, allow more efficient procedures for election officials, and give voters easier access to voting such as making permanent the expanded voting options that were available during the pandemic in 2020.
 
     HB3300 is the House’s version of the governor’s plan to phase out the state income tax. It is on second reading in the House today. While the House’s bill phases the tax out more gradually than the governor’s plan, there is no way it could make up for the lost revenue without drastic cuts in funding to already strapped agencies and programs. Many West Virginians earn too little to pay income taxes and will see increases in sales taxes. Cutting and eliminating the state income tax will benefit the well-off while raising taxes and cutting services for people who are struggling. The LWVWV priority on taxation for this session was that the LWVWV Supports reforms of the West Virginia tax system that are broadly based, rely on diverse revenue sources, provide adequate, stable yield sufficient to provide essential services, and treat taxpayers fairly.
 
     For more information on both bills, Citizen Action Group  has up-to-date information:  wvcag.org or type in the bill number (digits only) at the Legislature’s Bill Statue site: https://www.wvlegislature.gov/Bill_Status/bill_status.cfm

Important Action Requests & Absentee Voting Information

Dear LWV-WV Members,

As you probably know, all West Virginia voters have the option of voting absentee due to concerns about COVID-19. This is the safest option because you can vote from home. However, despite our efforts to make the process consistent with the primary, for the general election registered voters in most counties won’t be mailed an absentee ballot application.

As things currently stand, here are your options for requesting an absentee ballot.

1). Request a ballot online using the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot application portal. While this is a welcome option for those voters who are able to use it, many voters in WV are not able to access it or are just not comfortable using it. Those voters can do one of the following:

2). Call or email your county clerk and ask them to mail an application to you; OR

3). Download and print an application and return it to your county clerk by mail or email.

At this point, only voters in Lincoln and Ohio counties will be mailed absentee ballot applications. But there’s still time for the Governor and Secretary of State to get this right and order election officials to mail absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters. With the threat of COVID-19 greater than it was in June, and at a time when USPS is under attack and mail delivery may be delayed, the Governor also could authorize the use of drop boxes to allow voters to hand deliver their ballots without putting themselves, county clerks and their staffs at risk.

That’s where you come in.

Demand Governor Jim Justice and Secretary of State Mac Warner to protect our health and our right to vote safely by taking action on these two issues:

  • Mailing Absentee Ballot Applications - A county by county decision on this issue does not guarantee the benefit of an application to every registered voter regardless of where they live and their ability to access or use the online portal. Absentee ballot applications should be sent to all registered voters as was done for the primary election. Contact the Governor and the Secretary of State and tell them that their constituents deserve to have the same chance to vote safely in November as they had in June.
  • Drop Boxes for Ballot Delivery – At the same time as elections officials are projecting—and seeing—an increase in the number of voters choosing to vote absentee, internal policy changes within the USPS have led to delays in mail delivery that may result in absentee ballots not being delivered on time. The Secretary of State’s office has determined that the use of drop boxes don’t comply with the allowable delivery methods for absentee ballots. However the Governor could issue an executive order authorizing the use of secure drop boxes. Voters shouldn’t have to rely on the USPS or go into the Court House during working hours to make sure their absentee ballot arrives on time.

Please contact the Governor and Secretary of State now to ensure that our democracy can function during this pandemic.

Governor Jim Justice - call (304) 558-2000 or email governor@wv.gov 

Secretary of State Mac Warner - call (304) 558-6000 or email mwarner@wvsos.gov

Want to do more? Contact your legislators and commissioners and ask them to advocate for their constituents on these issues and ensure we can safely vote by mail in November. 

Thanks for doing your part to defend our democracy and empower West Virginia voters. 

Sincerely, 

Julie

Julie Archer
Vice President

PS: Please remember these important election dates and deadlines:

  • September 18, 2020 - County clerks will begin mailing out Absentee Ballots.
  • October 13, 2020 - Voter Registration Deadline
  • October 21 – October 31, 2020 - Early Voting at the county courthouse, annex or designated community voting location during normal business hours and Saturdays 9AM to 5PM.
  • October 28, 2020 - Deadline for Absentee Ballot Requests. Absentee ballot applications received after October 28, even if postmarked, cannot be accepted by law. (Note: In a letter to the Secretary of State, the General Counsel for the USPS recommended voters submit their request early enough to be received 15 days before the election (October 19). The letter also recommended voters mail their completed ballots a week before the state’s due date.)
  • November 2, 2020 - Deadline to hand-deliver Absentee Ballot to County Clerk’s office. Choose this option if you don’t want to use the mail to return your ballot. (Note: No person may hand deliver more than two absentee ballots and any person hand delivering an absentee ballot is required to certify that he or she has not examined or altered the ballot(s).)
  • November 3, 2020 - General Election Day
  • November 4, 2020 - Absentee Ballots mailed, but without a postmark accepted.
  • November 9, 2020 - (Canvass) – Absentee Ballot postmarked by Election Day accepted if received by start of Canvass.

For more voting information visit GoVoteWV.com.

Easy Action to Oppose SNAP Eligibility Changes

The LWV-WV has sent a letter to US Department of Agriculture opposing proposed changes to SNAP eligibility requirements. These proposed changes would deny nutrition assistance to 3.1 million people and more than 25,000 West Virginians.  

Please take a few minutes and join us in submitting comments opposing this proposed rule. 

Click here to send a letter. Comments must be received on or before Monday, September 23, 2019. 

Below is the letter sent by LWV-WV. Thanks for taking action!

Sincerely, 

Julie Archer
1st Vice President, LWV-WV

September 14, 2019

USDA, Food and Nutrition Service
Program Design Branch, Program Development Division
3101 Park Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22302

Re: Docket ID Number FNS-2018-0037 – Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Dear Secretary Perdue,

I am writing on behalf of the League of Women Voters of West Virginia to oppose the proposed rule to eliminate SNAP’s broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) option that allows states to streamline the process for households with slightly higher incomes that still experience financial hardship to participate in SNAP.

SNAP plays a critical role in food security in West Virginia. In fiscal year 2017, SNAP benefits reached 340,000 West Virginia residents, or 19% of our state population.

Eliminating the BBCE option would deny access to food assistance to more than 3 million people, including thousands of West Virginians, and punish families for saving money for emergencies or for their children’s future.

This proposed policy change would also be counterproductive and remove incentives for people to enter and stay in the workforce. Allowing them to continue to receive assistance lets them focus on being successful rather than having to worry about how they will pay for food.

Additionally, this attack on those struggling to get by sidesteps Congress by eliminating an option that has been in place for more than 20 years and was recently upheld in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill. Eliminating this option takes food off the tables of working individuals and families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

The League of Women Voters supports programs and policies to prevent or reduce poverty and to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families, and believes those who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic human needs for food, shelter, and access to health care.

SNAP helps millions of Americans and thousands of West Virginians make ends meet. Please reject these unnecessary changes to this proven program.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Rosenbaum, President
531 Woodland Circle
Morgantown WV 26505
304-599-2370, jr@lwvwv.org

FINAL_LWVWV_Letter_Opposing_SNAP_Eligibility_Changes_Sept.2019

League Urges Senators to vote NO on Kavanaugh

JUDGE DOES NOT POSSESS FAIR AND UNBIASED JUDICIAL TEMPERAMENT
10/4/2018
Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters President Chris Carson and CEO Virginia Kase issued the following joint statement:

“We urge the Senate to reject Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Judge Kavanaugh has shown the country that he does not possess fair and unbiased judicial temperament. Indeed, he engaged in unprovoked, partisan attacks, and treated United States Senators—the people conducting his job interview—with shocking disrespect. Senators have the right to ask questions of nominees. In fact, it is their responsibly to ask them on behalf of the American people.

“In addition, troubling allegations about his past and misleading if not untruthful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee cast further doubt on his judicial credibility. Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers that “all judges who may be appointed by the United States are to hold their offices during good behavior.” That’s not what we saw from Judge Kavanaugh during the confirmation process.

“We urge Senators to vote NO on Kavanaugh.”

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | scourtney@lwv.org

Join Us Feb. 8 for All Kinds Are Welcome Here Lobby Day

The LWV-WV is excited to join with other organizations and individuals committed to moving West Virginia forward as a supporting partner of the 2018 All Kinds Are Welcome Here Civil Liberties Lobby Day on February 8 at the State Capitol in Charleston.

Come stand with us in solidarity to show the West Virginia Legislature that West Virginia should be a place that welcomes and respects ALL people!

There will be an advocacy training starting at 9 am to make sure you are comfortable talking with your elected officials about issues that matter to you, followed by a large press conference and rally featuring our lawmakers and other members of the community. Following the press conference, attendees will watch a floor session from the House or Senate galleries at 11 am when legislators convene.

The afternoon is devoted to meeting with your elected officials. Attendees are encouraged to arrange their own meetings with their legislators, but there will be a table were folks can connect with others from their area to attend meetings as a group. 

Please register here to let us know which parts of the day you’ll be attending, and which issues matter the most to you.

We look forward to seeing you there. Please stop by our table in the lower rotunda. 

All kinds are welcome and all voices must be heard! Please join us and invite your friends today.

Decision on FirstEnergy’s Bad Deal for WV Coming Soon – Speak Out Now!

The WV Public Service Commission is considering whether FirstEnergy can transfer a power plant from one subsidiary company to another subsidiary company. The PSC heard from more than 100 people during public hearings and received more than 2,000 written protests.

Now is a critical time and we need your help.

If you are a Mon Power or Potomac Edison customer and have not submitted a letter to the PSC, please go on the record with your opposition to FirstEnergy’s bailout. Below are links to talking points and other resources to help frame your arguments. Need help writing a letter to the PSC? Just reply to this email and we’ll help you out.

Online Resources to Help You Write Your Letter to the PSC:

A decision from the PSC on this Bad Deal for WV is coming soon, and if FirstEnergy gets its way, Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers will be on the hook for the $400 MILLION and pay higher rates.

Letters can be mailed or FAXed to the PSC as follows:

Public Service Commission of West Virginia
Ingrid Ferrell, Executive Secretary
201 Brooks Street
Charleston, WV 25301
FAX: (304) 340-0325

Please reference Case No. 17-0296-E-PC. 

Please take action today. Tell the PSC to say NO to FirstEnergy’s bailout scheme.