logo for the League of Women Voters of Johnson County

The Amazon is burning. Greenland is melting. Little wonder that the United Nations has declared climate change the defining issue of our time. Reducing our carbon footprint has never been so crucial.

Join us Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church to hear three experts survey the road map to a greener future for Kansas. We’ll discuss how we can accelerate the migration from fossil fuels to renewable energy. An accessible entrance and elevator are located at the south end of the building.

Panelists:

Tammie Rhea, senior product manager—renewable at Evergy
Mark Hannifan, senior vice president of development and new initiatives with Tradewind Energy
Joe Spease, president and CEO of WindSoHy

Add this to your calendar


President's Update

C3 Conversion Tide Grows

Empowering voters takes more than volunteer time; it costs money. Unfortunately, many Leagues — including ours — aren’t able to attract needed donations or foundation grants because we have IRS 501(c)(4) status that prohibits tax-deductible gifts.

That’s why our board recently approved pursuing conversion to IRS 501(c)(3) status. We’re not alone.

In the past eight years, over 175 local and state Leagues have converted to 501(c)(3) status with help from Tom Carson, a LWV expert who offers free services. Treasurer Anita Kaiser and I are heading this effort, with advice from Tom Carson, member Amy Scrivner and a local attorney.

Key features of IRS 501(c) (3) include:

  • Donations and dues are tax-deductible.
  • Many foundations and corporate donors only contribute to organizations with a C3 designation.
  • Political campaign intervention is prohibited (which has always been a requirement of LWV).
  • Lobbying (attempting to influence legislation) is allowed, but it is limited to 20 percent of an organization’s budget.
  • Advocacy (educating and influencing on issues) is allowed without budgetary limitations.

This conversion does not change the existing relationship with the national LWV or impose any practical limitations on the typical operations of LWVJoCo.

Does C3 conversion take a lot of time and work? You bet! But this important financial tool will help future boards more effectively protect voter rights.

Questions? Concerns? Just let me know.

Ellen Miller, LWVJoCo president

ellen3147@gmail.com; 913-894-5232

The 501(c)(3) Conversion Calendar

October 5 meeting Conforming with our bylaws, circulate a member petition to request a special business meeting on Jan. 11, 2020, immediately prior to the annual planning session.
Fall 2019 Per IRS requirements, draft amendments to our bylaws and articles of incorporation for member approval (votable items)
December 2019 Send all votable items to members prior to the special business meeting.
January 11, 2020 Hold the special business meeting to present the proposed conversion to C3 to members for a vote. (If approved, continue.)
By March 31, 2020 Send the hard copy application for 501(c)(3) status to IRS.
By December 2021 (hopefully) IRS approves LWVJoCo as 501(c)(3).

 


Making Democracy Work Award

Who Is Making Our Democracy Stronger?

Know of someone who is strengthening our democracy in innovative and effective ways? Nominate them for LWVJoCo’s 2019 Making Democracy Work Award.

With this award, we wish to honor an individual or group who has taken action to “Make Democracy Work” to benefit residents in Johnson and/or Wyandotte counties. The nominee need not reside in Kansas.

People may nominate themselves or others they think are deserving. We will present the award at our Dec. 8 holiday party. Nomination deadline: October 25

Submit a nomination now!


Constitutional Amendment on November Ballot Explained

The 2019 Kansas Legislature approved for placement on the General election ballot this year a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution (2019 SCR 1605). If adopted, the amendment will place the process of drawing legislative districts in closer alignment with Kansas League of Women Voters policy as adopted in 1975.

Specifically, adoption of the proposed amendment would better align the redistricting procedure with the LWVK position that legislative districts “be based substantially on population, using United State Census figures.” If the amendment is adopted by the voters at the 2019 general election, legislative districts drawn by the 2022 Legislature will be based on the state population as counted during the 2020 U.S. Census.

Learn more in this article written by Mary Galligan (LWV Topeka-Shawnee County)


Election CommissionersSeptember Meeting Update: Voting Matters

LWVJoCo extends a heartfelt thank you to our September speakers.

In addition to the time and preparation we ask of any speaker, Election Commissioners Bruce Newby (Wyandotte County), Ronnie Metsker (Johnson County) and Tabitha Lehman (Sedgwick County) have graciously provided these answers to additional questions, as we ran short of time during the meeting.

If you missed the meeting, watch the video.


Are You Ready for the General Election?

Make sure you and your friends and family are prepared to cast your votes in the Nov. 5 election.

Important dates:

checkmark October 15: Voter registration closes for the general election.

checkmark October 16: Advance voting by mail begins.

checkmark October 28: Advance voting in person begins.

checkmark November 5: General Election Day.

Resources:

Request an advance (mail-in) ballot.

Advance voting locations in Johnson County

Advance voting locations in Wyandotte County

Vote411.org for candidate information

Interviews of Johnson County Board of Trustees candidates

More info on voting in Johnson and Wyandotte counties


Extended Monthly Meeting: More Time Means More Questions

Leaguers solve problems. The September 7 program, “Voting Matters,” spurred more audience questions than time allowed, resulting in six questions being sent afterward to our speakers.

Understandably, folks were frustrated, as the program evaluations showed. The solution? Allot more time for questions!

Starting on Oct. 5, our Saturday monthly meetings will continue until 11 a.m. The start time of 9 a.m. remains the same.


cost of housingTask Force to Begin Inventory of Housing in County

One of the main tenets of LWVJoCo’s new housing affordability position statement passed in May was the implementation of a county-wide strategy based on data and best practices. Johnson County recently announced plans to start gathering that essential data.

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners created a task force to address the lack of safe, affordable housing in Johnson County. United Community Services of Johnson County will work with county and city staffs to develop a detailed study of housing inventory in the county, which will help city officials and community leaders identify the needs of each community.

Cities participating in the study include De Soto, Edgerton, Fairway, Gardner, Lake Quivira, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Olathe, Overland Park Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Spring Hill, Westwood and Westwood Hills.


Member Spotlight: Emily Wilkinson

The Park University student supports LWVJoCo’s efforts to attract younger members and has some ideas on how we can do it. Learn more about Emily.


Welcome, New Members

LWVJoCo continues to grow! Sixteen new people joined in the last month: Connie Taylor, Amy Sue Bliss, Anita Parsa, Lydia Parsa, Jodianne Carter, Judy Greene, Jody Grigsby, Joan Priolo, Marcia Nana, Wendy Wilson, Mark and Margaret Jansen, Jennifer Day, Sherris Bellamy, Elizabeth Peck and Frances Bauman.

Need to renew your membership? Renewing is fast and simple. 


Observer Corps

Catch up on the actions, decisions and proposals of our local public officials. Read summaries by several League members who attend several public meetings in our area. This month, highlights include:

  • Olathe School District presents a dual-language, one-way immersion program.
  • Water One’s new water meter reading system should be available soon.
  • Prairie Village selects a vendor for a market feasibility study of a combined community center and library.
  • JoCo Mental Health Center receives a three-year accreditation.

Avoid sending messages that the League is partisan.

Be aware of how what you say and do can be construed as the League being partisan. Display either “Your Vote Matters” OR candidate signs (but not both).

Board and Committee Updates

Research shows that the most effective way to get a voter to the polls is for someone they know to ask them to vote. That’s why once again LWVJoCo is participating in Mainstream Coalition’s Voter to Voter program. You can still join LWVJoCo’s Voter to Voter team: Contact Jill Quigley (913-541-9645).

Tanya Honderick, MPH, MS, RN, will join Leslie Sullivan as co-director of our newly established Advocacy Committee. The board approved her appointment at its September meeting. Tanya, who is director of the master of public health program and assistant director of the master of science in clinical research program at KU, has extensive organizational, planning and advocacy experience.

The Voter Services team registered 165 voters at 19 events in September.

The Naturalization Ceremonies team registered 74 (63 percent) of the 118 new citizens at a ceremony in Ft. Scott earlier this month.

During its September meeting, board members divided into four groups to discuss different sections of the Transformation Roadmap Executive Summary, and reviewed our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

National LWV launched the People Powered Fair Maps Campaign earlier this month. LWV plans to lead the fight for fair redistricting nationwide.  Watch a town hall webinar for members to learn more.

T-shirts, car magnets, yard signs—Be ready to pick up some LWV swag at the Oct. 5 meeting. If you can’t make it, just email Ann Norbury.


Find out more about what the state League is doing.

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