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January 2019
Vol. 69 No. 8

In this issue:


Reorganizing for agility and action

Call for nominations

Water sustainability in Johnson County


January 5 Strategic Planning MeetingYour Ideas Will Create Our Future!

Saturday, January 5

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Atonement Lutheran Church

9948 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park

At our January planning session, members traditionally brainstorm on possible projects and meeting topics. This year, there’s another important issue: reorganizing for agility and action. We want to position ourselves to help more voters more effectively.

The 2019 planning session will hold the key to our effectiveness over the next few years. We need your ideas and concerns. Don’t miss it!

Add this to your calendar now.

Reorganizing for Agility and Action

We all know that the next elections will be extremely important. At its December meeting, our board unanimously voted to ask members to reorganize our calendar year.

Why: To empower more voters in 2020 by starting voter outreach two months earlier. Currently, our voter services chairs have only three months before the August primary. Starting in March gives us more time to schedule voter registration events; it also lets us reach students before their summer break.

What this would mean:Timeline for proposed change to LWVJoCo fiscal year

  • Hold the annual meeting in March, not May, starting in 2020.
  • Remind current members to rejoin in July. New members would get reminders on their anniversary date, starting in July 2019.
  • Keep dues the same.
  • Change the fiscal year to April 1 through March 31, which is what almost all Kansas local leagues and our state league uses.
  • Cement our being a year-round organization.

How you can help: Come to the January 5 planning session, starting at 9 a.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church, for discussion and voting. We need your input!

Questions, concerns? Just let me know.

Ellen Miller, LWVJoCo president

ellen3147@gmail.com; 913-894-5232

Call for Nominations

Are you ready to take a more active role in League leadership? Do you know of another member who you think would be good in a leadership role? Our nominating committee is busy vetting members for 2019-2020 officer and board member positions. Email Kathy Minges names of people you think could help take our chapter to the next level.

Keyboard Clicks Count

Technology not only saves time, it also tells us what is important to you. The communications team provides monthly reports about how many of you are reading the VOTER, sharing our Facebook posts, reviewing our website and opening our weekly eblasts.

  • In November, we sent out three Giving Tuesday fundraising emails, which raised slightly over $2,000. We know that about 50 percent of our members opened these emails. (If you missed these emails, remember it’s never too late to donate!)
  • Two thirds of the our members opened the annual membership directory email and one third actually downloaded it. (If you didn’t see this email and would like a directory, please contact Karin Leacox.)
  • More than 1,250 people follow us on Facebook.
  • Nearly 1,000 people visit our website each month.

Watch for our member survey, which will go out by email in January. We want your input on priorities in 2019.

LWVJoCo Weighs In on Housing Affordability

What you need to know

LWVJoCo study committee’s report

Consensus questions

Background reading

Does an adequate supply of safe and affordable housing exist in Johnson County for all members of the community? After 14 months of research, the LWVJoCo Housing Affordability Study Committee is ready to present its findings. Committee members as well as area experts will discuss why affordable housing is vital to our community at the February 2 general meeting.

You can also participate in the conversation to create a League position statement at one of three consensus meetings:

  • Saturday, February 2, immediately following League meeting
  • Tuesday, February 5, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Carmack Room, Johnson County Central Library
  • Thursday, February 7, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Carmack Room, Johnson County Central Library

Please RSVP to Peggy Neal with “League Consensus Meeting” as the subject line. Then provide the date of the meeting you plan to attend.

Taking a Stance on Meeting Kansans’ Basic Needs

A LWVJoCo study committee is reviewing and discussing the proposed Kansas League’s position statement on meeting basic human needs. The committee will gather input from members on the proposed position statement and recommend approval or any changes to LWV Kansas. If approved, the position statement will be on the agenda for member approval at the LWV Kansas convention on April 27.

LWVK adopted the last position statement on this topic in 1995. The LWVJoCo current study group, which includes Kay Heley, Chris Cindric and Stephanie Revels, is focusing on two areas: economic and employment services and social services, specifically Department for Children and Families (DCF).

We urge all interested members to learn, discuss and provide input to LWV Kansas on this important topic at our concurrence discussion meeting on Sunday, February 10 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Carmack Community Room in the Johnson County Central Resource Library. Community members are welcome as well.

Members who have background with DCF, at-risk children or any related topic are encouraged to provide input to our local study committee by emailing Kay Heley.

For additional information, read the July 2018 Child Welfare System Task Force report.

Lake Lenexa in Kansas

The Natural Resources Committee will host a tour of Lake Lenexa in May as an example of successful stormwater management.

Water Sustainability in Johnson County

The Natural Resources Committee will focus on the topic of water for the of the remainder program year. At the general meeting in April, we’ll discuss water treatment and stormwater cost-sharing grants offered by area cities. In May, the committee will host a tour of Lake Lenexa as an example of successful stormwater management.

Later this month, area residents will have a chance to comment on a proposed change to the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Army recently jointly signed a proposed rule that revises the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), changing the scope of waters regulated under the Clean Water Act. A public hearing is scheduled for January 23, 2019 at the Wyandotte Ballroom of the Reardon Convention Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Read about the implications of the proposed change in this Audubon article and The Nation article. Both articles discuss concern about removing wetlands and streams that do not meet the new definition of WOTUS because these areas could still affect the water quality of public water sources and the habitat for animals.

New Member Meet & GreetWelcome, New Members

Five people joined LWVJoCo during the past month: Catherine DiGiacinto, Robyn Hart, Dick DiSilvestro, Liz DiSilvestro and Inga Selders.

We encourage new members to make time for our January New Member Meet & Greet on Sunday, January 20, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Learn about League opportunities, connect with other members, ask questions, and enjoy tasty treats. Please RSVP to Karin Leacox: membership@lwvjco.org or 913-780-2202.

And as always, we remind members to renew their memberships, which expired June 30. Renew online—it’s fast and easy.

Observer Corps

Construction of the St. James Academy’s sports complex, public hearings concerning the financing of the BluHawk Project in Overland Park and Johnson County’s legislative priorities for 2019 were among the many issues public officials discussed in meetings this month. Read summaries created by several League members who attend these public meetings regularly.

Order LWV name tags.Board and Committee Updates

  • LWVJoCo is delighted to receive a $800 youth voter registration grant from LWV. We will register students at high schools and colleges in Johnson and Wyandotte counties between January and June 2019. The emphasis is on underrepresented communities. The funds will be used for technological tools to register and follow up with new youth voters. Julie Lester is the project coordinator.
  • The Naturalization Committee’s LWV $1,500 grant ended in November. Members used the money to upgrade signs and information materials at naturalization ceremonies. During 2018, the committee registered 677 new citizens. They also collected email addresses for 277 of these new citizens to send reminders about voting.
  • If you have a passion for the environment, consider joining the Natural Resources Committee. Its next meeting is January 28. The committee usually meets the fourth Sunday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at the Johnson County Central Resource Library in conference room 2. Current committee co-chairs, Christine Caseres and Barbara Adamson, will be stepping down in the new program year. Christine is creating a new task force focusing only on climate change. If you are interested in a leadership role or about the new task force, please contact Christine Caseres or Barbara Adamson.
  • Members are encouraged to attend the Kansas People’s Agenda: People’s State of the State on Tuesday, January 15. The LWVK Board agreed to support the Kansas People’s Agenda platform and help promote the event. Citizen advocate training starts at 9:30 a.m. and the program and rally start at 11:30 a.m.

Find out more about what the state League is doing.

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