LWVJ Blog2020-02-02T19:16:46-09:00

The LWVJ Blog

Last updated in 2017, features action alerts and articles by our members.

2017 Capitol Currents

  2017 Capitol Currents – last two editions

~ Marching very slowly towards Day 121 and beyond ~

Capitol Currents is a weekly update of happenings at the Alaska State Legislature during session.   There is a lot of great information in these editions,  important links to find more information, lots and lots of information on the budget situation, and new “Bills of Interest.”   Stop by every week and read the latest editions.  Prior editions are here.

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By |May 3rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #11

Here is where we are with the Legislature as time runs out:

HB 184: The companion bill for SB 72, antidiscrimination. This is being heard in House State Affairs on Thursday, May 3,3 pm, Rm 120. The bill can be found here: <http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=HB0184A> Public testimony is not yet scheduled. The bill is being introduced in its first House hearing.

This bill adds “sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression” to the list of protections […]

By |April 29th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Advocacy|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #10

I am sending this out because it is most likely the most  important issue that faces citizens of this state at the current time.  The information box below from Great Alaska Schools is well done and explains clearly where the budget is at.  We need to make our voices heard.  The House has completed a major task in HB 115, which would reinstate an income tax.  We need the additional revenue rather than another draw on savings accounts.  The Senate plan […]

By |April 19th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Advocacy|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #8a

If you have been hesitant to email your elected state officials, here is a chance to jump in and get your feet wet.  And remember that once you contact them by email, their email addresses are in your email list and contacting them again will be much easier. You might want to gather together some friends and family and take turns writing emails or have them bring their smart phones or tablets and all write together; the more, the merrier.  Your […]

By |April 5th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #9

Here is the current status. The Legislature is busy.

HB 44: Ethics Bill dealing with conflicts of interest. The bill passed the House and has been transmitted to the Senate. Keep tuned.

HB 31: Processing sexual assault kits: The bill passed the House and has been transmitted to the Senate. Keep tuned.

HB 111: Oil Tax Credits: Passed out of H RES and on to H FIN.  Bill seems more contentious than expected in the House.

Bills with hearings this week:

SB 72: Anti-discrimination bill to add “sexual orientation, gender […]

By |April 3rd, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Advocacy|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #8

Here is the status of the bills we have been following plus one we might want to follow should there ever be a hearing.

A. SB 72–The following language would be added to the list of protected classes in state ant-discrimination statute: “sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.” You can send an email of support to [email protected]gov and your own Senator and Representative in support of this bill. LWVUS supports anti-discrimination measures […]

By |April 2nd, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Advocacy|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

NPV Arguments and Rebuttals

Arguments and statements against the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact include the following, with the LWV’s rebuttal written by the LWVAK Advocacy Chair, Judy Andree:

      1. “But your votes do count under the current method.” This is not fully true given that the Presidential election is a national election and all votes should count at that national level. Most states use the winner-take-all method of voting their electoral votes. The state majority wins the total number of electoral votes and those […]
By |March 30th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Election Laws|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #7

Last week Advocacy Chair, Judy Andree, attended public testimony on HB 175, National Popular Vote Compact.  She followed up with a second letter from LWVAK in response to some of the testimony that opposed the bill with incorrect information.  The letter focused on the history of the League’s involvement with the National Popular Vote as well as brief history of the use of electors and how that has evolved into something not necessarily in the original intent.  LWVUS has supported […]

By |March 27th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Election Laws|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #6

SB 72: DISCRIMINATION: GENDER ID.;SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Sponsor: Senator Gardner

“An Act adding to the powers and duties of the State Commission for Human Rights; and relating to and prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

There are no current hearings scheduled. The bill was referred to HSS, JUD, and FIN and currently resides in HSS. This bill was also introduced during […]

By |March 20th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Member Info|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #5

HB 44 (Ethics), HB 25 (insurance coverage for contraceptives, HB 115 (budget fix with income tax, PF restructuring)–No further hearings scheduled as of yet.  HB 31, sexual assault kit handling & database, has been advanced to House Finance.

Two bills that concern money for school funding  might be of interest and worth watching, particularly if nothing is done to raise revenue for the state.

  • HB 146: 
By |March 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #4

NOTE: AN EMAIL NEEDS TO BE ONLY 2-3 SENTENCES LONG (UNLESS YOU HAVE MORE TO SAY).  BUT THOSE 2-3 SENTENCES ARE IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR A BILL OR CERTAIN ASPECTS OF A BILL.  SO LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!

Great Alaska Schools Rejuvenation Meeting – Saturday, March 11  10:00-11:30 Mendenhall Valley Library Conference Room. 

By |March 6th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Member Info|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

2017 Action Alert #3

To all LWV of Alaska members – please make your voices heard.

1. HB 25–Support emails are needed for HB 25–INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTIVES. Sponsor Representative Claman, Representative Spohnholz. The text of the bill can be found here: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/30/Bills/HB0025A.PDF.
HB 25 is a mirror bill to one submitted last session by Senator Gardner. It will provide 12-month coverage/refills for birth control and related treatment. The first hearing is to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28th at 3 pm in the House […]

By |February 26th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Advocacy, Corruption|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Capitol Currents Archives

Archive Editions of Capitol Currents for 2017

Capitol Currents is a weekly update of happenings at the Alaska State Legislature during session.   Each week, this article will be updated with the latest edition for you to read and download.  There is a lot of great information in these editions, everything from the list of names of our new legislators, important links to find more information, lots and lots of information on the budget situation, and new “Bills of Interest.”   […]

By |February 25th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Member Info|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Action Alert #2/2017

A. BUDGET: Probably the biggest issue facing the Legislature is the state financial crisis. The HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE has submitted a bill calling for an income tax and a refiguring of the Permanent Fund which would save the dividend and allow for budget spending of some of the earnings while placing some of those earning back into the principle so that […]

By |February 13th, 2017|Categories: Action Alert, Advocacy, Corruption|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Popular Vote 3

Changing the use of the Electoral Vote (EV) in order to give a more representative nod to the total popular vote (PV) would not be easy. Awarding electoral votes (EV’s) based on a proportion of the popular vote (PV) in each state is a possibility for a more accurate representation.  There are two methods by which the use of the EV could be overridden completely: amending the U. S. Constitution or adopting the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact.  There are […]

By |February 5th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Election Laws|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Anxiety–January 30, 2017

Author: Barbara Belknap

There is a lot of angst out there over the election. My Facebook page is overflowing with comments, suggestions, and the sharing of emotions from American women. There is commiseration from my friends in the United Kingdom, and I even got a note from Africa.

By |February 1st, 2017|Categories: Member story|Tags: , |0 Comments

Why I am Going to the Women’s March in DC

On January 13 I decided to reroute my ticket on a previously planned trip to New Orleans and the East Coast so that I could participate in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21.  It was almost a spur of the moment thing – but on reflection I realized that over the past several weeks I had been building up quite a head of steam that now forced me to stand up for democracy and civil rights.

I discovered through social media […]

By |January 21st, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Member story|Tags: , |0 Comments

Contacting Your Federal Representatives

This post is the second in a series designed to give readers tools to begin becoming effective advocates for policy direction at the local, federal, and state level. This post focuses on the federal level.

Generally, the process boils down to a few stages. However, the details of each process at the local, state, and federal level are quite different.  Nonetheless, those who want to be effective advocates must master each of the following topics.

  1. How the legislative process works;
  2. Who your legislators are and the part they and […]
By |January 17th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Member Info|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Tracking and Impacting AK Legislation

This post is the first in a series designed to give readers a few tools to begin becoming effective advocates for policy direction at the local, federal, and state level. This post focuses on the state level.

Generally, the process boils down to a few stages. However, the details of each process at the local, state, and federal level are quite different.  Nonetheless, those who want to be effective advocates must master each of the following topics.

  1. How the legislative process works;
  2. Who your legislators are and the […]
By |January 12th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Member Info|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Popular Vote 2

In the blog Popular Vote 1, three questions were proposed, and the attempt to answer those questions can be found in the following blog.

ONE:  Why do we have the Electoral College rather than a popular vote determining the winners of the Presidential elections?  The writers of the Constitution struggled with the problem of electing a President and Vice-President. What they ended up with, after many votes on a variety of options, gave four basic notions on what was […]

By |January 7th, 2017|Categories: Election Laws|Tags: , |0 Comments

Democracy Requires Transparency

The recent election has raised the issue of transparency in government to a high priority. What is government transparency – and why does it matter?

Transparency measures the amount of openness, accountability, and integrity of a government entity. Without transparency, corruption can easily, and usually will, flourish.  “Governments exist to serve the people. Information on how officials conduct the public’s business and spend taxpayers’ money must be readily available and easily understood. This transparency allows good and just governance.”  (see

By |January 4th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Corruption|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Popular Vote 1

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, much talk has occurred on social media and elsewhere about the popular vote.  The discussion has revolved around the fact that the losing candidate won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes.  How, people ask, can a candidate win that many more votes and still lose the election?  The confusion is compounded by the fact that for all other elective offices, the winner is the candidate who wins the most votes, […]

By |December 29th, 2016|Categories: Election Laws|Tags: , , |0 Comments

December League Lunch and Learn

On Wednesday, December 14th, in the Baranof Gold room, Josephine Bahnke, Director, Division of Elections spoke on Alaska’s voting systems and processes. With help from Brian Jackson, Program Manager, they discussed the Division’s core mission: to “conduct fair, impartial and accurate elections…”

This year’s election cycle set a record for the number of absentee and early voters. Approximately 32% of the votes cast this year were absentee or early and the trend seems to be one that will […]

By |December 21st, 2016|Categories: Program Update|Tags: , |0 Comments

Follow Juneau Assembly and School Board actions

This post was contributed by LWVJ members, Pat Watt

Public participation is the glue that holds democracy together.  Democracy is not just about voting – getting registered, learning about what’s on the ballot, and then turning out to cast your ballot. It’s about paying attention to policy matters, issues decided by those we elected, issues that affect our day-to-day existence.  It’s about understanding those policy issues. It’s about making our voices heard. Its about Public Participation.

A lot goes on at the […]

By |December 17th, 2016|Categories: Advocacy, Member Info, Program Update|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Soccer Moms Attend First LWV Meeting

This Post was contributed by LWVJ member Pat Watt

The LWV Juneau Board has come up with different ways to engage potential members and educate members and the public. Over the past two years we have undertaken several new initiatives.

  • Our second Downtown Lunch and Learn will be held on Wednesday, December 14th, from noon to 1:00pm at the Baranoff.  $17 for the buffet lunch.  Speaker is Josie Bahnke, Director of the AK Division of Elections.
  • Our second Annual “How to Run for Local […]
By |December 12th, 2016|Categories: Member Info, Program Update|Tags: , |0 Comments

Capitol Visits: A Civics Education Initiative

This post is contributed by LWVJ member Marjorie Menzi.

During January-March of 2016, five members of the Juneau LWV introduced 365 students in our school system, and their teachers,  to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of Alaska’s governmental system. The instructors all had previous teaching experience related to state government.

The Program included:

  • A tour of the Capitol where students met legislators, were introduced on the House or Senate floor, and listened to presentations on the budget;
  • Exposure to […]
By |December 6th, 2016|Categories: Program Update|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Would YOU like to Blog for the Juneau LWV?

We have populated this Blog initially with articles written as “Points to Ponder” and published as “My Turns” in the Juneau Empire.  We know that we have many members who are good writers and have useful things to say about “How to Make Democracy Work” – especially in this time of change.

If you are interested in writing something meaty and topical on a regular – or irregular – basis we want to hear from you.  We plan on adding new […]

By |December 6th, 2016|Categories: Announcement, Member Info|Tags: |0 Comments

We Have a New Website!

Welcome to the new LWVJ website! We hope this expands accessibility to information about the LWV and makes it easier to find what you are looking for.  We built this website to ensure that all members can keep up-to-date with LWVJ happenings, and to provide non-members with a full understanding of what the LWV is all about.

New features include incorporating our Facebook Feed in the Home Page, so that those who are not Facebook users can still see the information we […]

By |December 1st, 2016|Categories: Announcement|Tags: |0 Comments

It Takes a Community to Make and Keep a Democracy 

This post is contributed by LWVJ member LaRae Jones.

Various scholars and social scientists remind us that our middle class is eroding, along with our roads, our bridges, harbors, and – most alarmingly – schools. Some see the solution in renewed isolationism that reduces the huge budget drain of foreign wars and arms races. The more down to earth folks at the League of Women Voters adopted national positions on “Meeting Basic Human Needs” in 1971. At that time they cited “Income […]

By |November 3rd, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Redistricting

This post is contributed by LWVJ member Margo Waring.

The Alaska Constitution requires that the State redraw the lines of legislative districts every ten years, using census data to ensure that each legislative district has the same number of residents as every other district. Each time that redistricting occurs, there is great concern that minorities could lose their voting power and that “safe” districts have been created for members of one party through gerrymandering – the drawing of district lines in shapes […]

By |October 28th, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , |0 Comments

Elections and Ballots – The Fundamentals of American Democracy

Three ideas are fundamental to the workings of a democracy:

  1. The open and unrestricted access to a secret ballot by all adults.
  2. A ballot secured by competent administration from accidental or purposeful disclosure of a voter’s ballot choices.
  3. The use of a paper balloting system that assures the auditing and accurate hand counting of voting results when those results are challenged.

The non-partisan League of Women Voters has roots in the Women’s Suffrage Movement of the 1920s. The national League […]

By |October 19th, 2016|Categories: Election Laws, Empire My Turn|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Things To Do To Make Democracy Work

This post is contributed by LWVJ member Ann Fuller.

Let’s make democracy work by improving civics education in our schools and community.  Our future well-being depends on people sensibly cooperating for effective action and engaging in open debate.  Helping students learn to think critically, monitoring school programs,  and including young people in practical democracy are important steps for us to take to improve civics education.

An essential component of good citizenship involves evaluating advertisements, campaign speeches, proposed laws, news reports, and historical explanations.  […]

By |September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Non-Partisanship in Local Elections

This post is contributed by LWVJ member Pat Watt.

Our Assembly and School Board members are elected on a nonpartisan basis. Why is that – and does it matter?

State statutes require Alaska’s local governments to adopt rules for conducting local elections – but allow them plenty of flexibility about how they conduct those elections. Juneau’s Municipal Charter, adopted in 1970, provides that all local elections shall be non-partisan. Most municipalities in the state have chosen the same method.

An estimated two thirds of […]

By |September 13th, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , |0 Comments

Citizen Responsibility

This post is contributed by LWVJ member Judy Andree.

Freedom, patriotism, the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers — all rallying cries when talking about politics in the USA. But we don’t hear much talk about our responsibilities as citizens in a free society. Every freedom we enjoy comes with citizen responsibilities.  Here are three points to ponder as we look ahead to both the CBJ and General Elections this fall.

Point One: Get registered to vote as soon as possible. It’s easy, […]

By |August 30th, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Photo ID Not Required

This post is contributed by LWVJ member Chris Niemi.

While listening to the radio the day before our primary election, a KINY radio announcer said that picture ID was required to vote.  Shocked, I called the radio station and was told that photo ID would “speed up the process”.  The announcer misinformed the public at least twice while I listened.  On the day of the primary election, the Juneau Empire ran an article “Quiet primary predicted for Juneau”.  The article said in […]

By |August 30th, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , , |0 Comments

What’s A Girl To Do?

This post is contributed by LWVJ member carolyn Brown.

When I was a kid in early years of learning the saga of U.S. history, I had trouble understanding the meaning, relationship and difference between the words ”suffrage” and “suffering.” They sounded alike to me. Now, these several years later, I find myself similarly troubled to understand these two words in the lexicon of today’s society and challenges.

Suffrage: the right to vote in an election. Suffering: experienced pain, illness, injury, whether physical, psychological […]

By |August 25th, 2016|Categories: Empire My Turn|Tags: , , , |0 Comments