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LWVDE News Archives

Archives of LWVDE News

ACTION ALERT!

The League of Women Voters of Delaware is asking you to contact your state senator to oppose HB 190. This bill would be enormously detrimental to the Coastal Zone. Click on the link blow for more details.

Save Delaware's Coastal Zone

League Day 2015

League Day in Dover is held annually in late March. A record number of members and friends attended League Day 2015. Traditionally, we have focused in-depth on a single issue of priority interest. We took a different approach in 2015, addressing five priority issues with expert speakers covering each topic in half-hour segments, including questions and answers.

  • Voting and Elections (Elaine Manlove, DE Commission of Elections)
  • Campaign Finance(John Flaherty, President, DE Coalition for Open Government)
  • Housing (Susan Starrett, Senior Program Manager, CSH)
  • Justice (Joanna Champney, Chief of Planning, DE Department of Correction)
  • Environment/Land Use - the Coastal Zone (Richard Fleming, Ph.D., Delaware Nature Society)

We met at Christ Episcopal Church, just three blocks from Legislative Hall for the informative morning session, enjoyed a catered lunch, and then visited Legislative Hall.

The afternoon was full of activity. Here, members gathered in the lobby waiting for the House of Representatives to go into session to adopt House Concurrent Resolution 14 commemorating the 95th Anniversary of the League's founding in 1920, the same year as adoption of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.


Later, the Senate unanimously concurred in HCR 14. Seen here is Senator Bethany Hall-Long, presiding as President Pro Tem Patricia Blevin introduced the House Concurrent Resolution and Senator David McBride, Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, expressed special appreciation of the LWVDE's years of work seeking enactment of the "bottle bill" that required a refundable deposit on certain recyclable beverage containers and our later support for replacing that law with universal recycling.


Governor Markell met with us in his office at Legislative Hall. Look for him in the back row. He commented on growing up under the influence of his mother who remains a member of the League in New Castle County. He engaged with us in a discussion of funding concerns and the League's work on several issues, and urged us to continue to "stand up to power." At the conclusion of our meeting, he presented a Proclamation honoring our 95th Anniversary. President Charlotte King is holding it in the front row.


In addition to observing the House and Senate Sessions, meeting with the Governor and attending some Committee hearings on important topics such as Repeal of the Death Penalty, members delivered folders with our new Position Papers to every legislator's office. See links to Position Papers below.

Perspectives on the Potential of Delaware Ports

What's the impact of expanding Delaware's ports on jobs, environment, government? On Wednesday, November 11, 2015, the League will host a panel presentation on the expansion of Delaware ports. Come to this panel to hear from a diverse range of speakers about what the potential might be for the future of Delaware ports. Beginning with donut holes and cider at 6:30 pm, followed by the panel at 7 pm, the event will be held at the ILA Hall, 200 S. Claymont St., Wilmington, DE. The ILA Hall is katty corner from Elbert Palmer Elementary School, one block east of the intersection of Heald Street (Route 13) and Newcastle Avenue (Route 9). At 8:30 pm members of the audience will be invited to submit written questions to panelists. Thanks to William Ashe, President of Local 1694, for arranging the use of the hall.

John Flaherty, President of the Coalition for Open Government will be the facilitator. The Long Term Contract, signed on October 20th, will be described by Gene Bailey, Administrator of the Port of Wilmington. Economic considerations will be discussed by Michael Casson, jr., Associate Professor of Economics, Delaware State University. Dave Carter, President of the Audubon Society and retired environmental manager, will talk on the relation of the Delaware Coastal Zone Act and environmental considerations relative to port expansion. Representing the three ports will be Bob Byrd, lobbyist, speaking on behalf of the Evraz Steel Mill site; Sen. Bob Marshall, Chair of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee, will speak on behalf of the Port of Wilmington; Ronald "Kimoko" Harris, Business Agent with International Longshoremen's Union Local 1883, will discuss possibilities for the Riveredge site.

Mr. Bailey will discuss the contract which was authorized by the Board of Directors of the Port of Wilmington. The contract will be/was signed on October 20th, directing one of four applicants to explore the expansion.

We look forward to seeing you at the ILA Hall on Nov. 11th!

League Members Met with 20 Outstanding Young Sub-Saharan Attending WEI

Several League members met on July 21 with 20 outstanding young women from Sub-Saharan Africa who were attending the Women's Empowerment Institute (WEI) for Sub Saharan African Women at the University of Delaware. Many of them may well be part of state reconstruction and institutional rebuilding in their countries of origin. For more details, go to Summer Voter.

LWVDE Amicus Brief

LWVDE announced on July 16 that state voters had been well served that day when a court case was decided in their favor, which leads to more transparency in elections. The LWVDE has been involved in this case since 2014, when it submitted an Amicus Brief with Common Cause. The court adopted some of the reasoning set forth in that brief in its final decision.

The court case involved Delaware Strong Families (DSF), whose mission as posted on their website is, "To rebuild a culture of marriage, family, and freedom and raise up the next generation of leaders." DSF disseminated its 2012 Voter Guide without disclosing its donors in spite of legislation requiring advocacy groups to disclose donors behind political advertisements.

The DSF 2012 Voter Guide lists a series of statements concerning a Single Payer Healthcare System, adding gender identity to the protected classes in Delaware law, strengthening and maintaining marriage as the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting coverage for abortion in the state insurance exchanges mandated by the new federal health care law. It also lists all Delaware federal and state candidates and their respective stances in support of or opposition to each statement.

DSF held that the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act is unconstitutional as applied to DSF's voter guide. On July 16, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a decision from the United States District Court for the District of Delaware that sided with DSF. The Court of Appeals stated that there was no case law to support such a decision by the lower court.

The July 16 decision addressed several points of contention in the case including "express advocacy" and "issue advocacy" to describe different types of election-related speech. The former encompasses communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, while the latter are communications that seek to impact voter choice by focusing on specific issues. According to the Court of Appeals decision, the Supreme Court has consistently held that disclosure requirements are not limited to "express advocacy" and that there is not a "rigid barrier between express advocacy and so-called issue advocacy."

The District Court had previously concluded that the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act's disclosure requirements could not constitutionally reach DSF's Voter Guide because it was a "neutral communication" by a "neutral communicator, pointing to its status as a 501(c)(3) organization. DSF argued in its reply brief that, by virtue of this status, it is not permitted to engage in "any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office." However, the Appeals Court concluded that it is the conduct of an organization, rather than an organization's status with the Internal Revenue Service, that determines whether it makes communications subject to the Act.

DSF has subsequently filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

People's Climate March in NYC, Sunday, September 21, 2014

Climate March Get your ticket to change history. Join the Sierra Club, the LWVUS, and hundreds of other organizations! Bend the course of history: the People's Climate March is an unparalleled opportunity to let President Obama and our world leaders know how urgently the public is calling for solutions to climate disruption, and how we need to move quickly from dirty fuels to clean energy. With your help, this will be the biggest public outpouring of support for climate solutions this planet has ever seen.

Delawareans are already feeling the impacts of climate change and now is the time to demand action from our leaders. With your help we hope to send at least 150 people from Delaware to the People's Climate March. We'll coordinate the buses but we need you to fill them.

At this point the plan is to have the buses leave from Newark and Wilmington in time to get to New York by about 1 pm. The places and times are to be determined. Round trip bus tickets for most will cost about $25, with some tickets available for less for those in financial need. Stephanie Herron has set up a secure Eventbrite website for people to purchase tickets or contribute to help others. For those coming from Kent and Sussex Counties, Stephanie will help arrange carpools to get to the buses.

Please sign up and buy your ticket as soon as possible so the organizers can confirm travel arrangements and put down the bus deposits.

For up-to-the-minute information, see the "Sierra Club site."<delaware.sierraclub.org/content/peoplesclimate>

Don't forget, get your ticket to change history.

Questions? Contact Stephanie Herron,<stephanie.herron@sierraclub.org> or call 302-468-4550s.

Inland Bays Foundation and LWVSC Dinner

The Inland Bays Foundation and the LWVSC invite you to a dinner honoring Governor Jack Markell in recognition of his "Clean Water for Delaware's Future" initiative. The dinner will be Thursday, October 16, 2014, from 5:30 - 9:00 pm at the Irish Eyes Restaurant, 213 Anglers Road, Lewes. Click here for a reservation form.

Join us for the opportunity to hear Governor Markell share his vision for Delaware, what he is doing to bring it about, and what you can do to help.

"Clean water is essential for a healthy and prosperous Delaware," said Gov. Markell. "We have made great strides reducing air pollution and cleaning up brownfield sites, yet nearly every waterway in Delaware, other than our beaches, remains unsafe for swimming and fishing and nearly every community is struggling with more frequent flooding and storms."

"Clean Water for Delaware's Future will invest in projects that improve water quality, improve community resiliency, protect our health and safety, support our multi-billion dollar tourism and agriculture industries, bolster the economic revitalization of our cities and towns, and increase property values; all while creating thousands of jobs for years to come."

The League of Women Voters of Delaware and the Inland Bays Foundation applaud Governor Markell's foresight and planning for a better environment and economy for Sussex County.

Coastal Zone Tour

Join the League for a tour of the Coastal Zone in New Castle County, co-sponsored by Delaware Wild Lands. We'll travel by air-conditioned bus with lavatory from the Christiana Mall parking lot to points of interest in the New Castle County section of the Coastal Zone. Phil Cherry, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, will talk to us about the Coastal Zone Act, and will discuss sites on the tour in the context of that groundbreaking legislation. Lorraine Fleming will be on hand to add environmental comments. We'll see some grandfathered sites, we'll stop at the Taylor's Bridge site, shown at right, where Shell Oil wanted to build a refinery over 40 years ago. We'll also see sites threatened by sea level rise, we'll look at the site proposed for a new port, and other sites significant as exemplars of the recreational and environmental values we treasure.

Saturday, September 13th, 9 am - 4 pm Meet at Christiana Mall parking lot, near Cabella's (north end of mall parking lot) Check in no later than 8:45 am. Reserved seats are $15 each. Only 47 spaces...first come, first served. Please reserve your place no later than Mon., Sept.8, 10 am. Box lunches from Panera may be ordered at the time you reserve your seat for $10 or $11 each; sandwiches: smoked turkey ($10) or Mediterranean veggie ($10); salads: Asian sesame chicken ($11), strawberry poppy seed ($11). Lunches include chips, cookie, and drink. Call the League of Women Voters of New Castle County to make your reservation: 302-571-8948, or write to 2400 W. 17th St., Clash Wing, Lower Level, Wilmington, DE 19806 Reservation secured upon payment by credit card or check.

To reserve a seat, click here. Everyone is welcome. This tour is open to the public.

"An Evolving Legacy: Delaware's Coastal Zone Act"

The film, "An Evolving Legacy: Delaware's Coastal Zone Act," kicks off the week-long celebration of the Coastal Zone Act. It is free, cosponsored by the LWVDE and the DE Sierra Club.
  • Monday, June 30, 6:30 pm
  • Camden Friends Meeting 122 E. Camden-Wyoming Ave. Camden DE

Although the film is scheduled to begin at 6:45 pm, you are asked to arrive by 6:30. Everyone is invited to stay for a brief discussion after the film. Forty years ago, Delaware's landmark Coastal Zone Act preserved the state's shoreline, making it off-limits to heavy industrial development. The battle to pass this visionary legislation transformed local environmental awareness into sweeping statewide action, challenging other states and the nation to do the same.

The Act's legacy still poses questions that are as complex as the ecosystem it continues to protect. "An Evolving Legacy" + Delaware's Coastal Zone Act recounts its origins, its history to date, and the ongoing challenge of balancing industrial development with environmental preservation.

Statewide Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was landmark legislation outlawing racial segregation and discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Learn history, make history. Join in remembering the courageous people who passed the torch of justice and civil rights to us.

All events are FREE and open to the public. For more information call the Division of Human Relations, 877-54-HUMAN. See the flyer and the calendar of events shown below.

Sussex County - July 2, 2014 , 6:00 pm Peaceful Walk for Justice, Georgetown 6 pm. Starting at St. Michael's Church (202 Edward St.). Excerpts of inspirational speeches from civil rights leaders, freedom songs, and more

Kent County-

  • July 2, 2014 Freedom Riders Film Showing & Discussion 7pm: Free Feature @ The Schwartz Center (Dover)
  • Films & Discussions @ Dover Library: July 9 @ 2pm (The Abolitionists Film/Part I) July 23 @ 2pm (The Abolitionists Film/Part II) Aug 6 @ 2pm (The Abolitionists Film/Part III) Aug 29 @ 2pm (Slavery Film & Discussion) Sep 3 @ 2pm (The Loving Story Film & Discussion) Sep 17 @ 2pm (Freedom Riders Film & Discussion)

New Castle County - *Wednesday, July 2, 2014, Commemorative Rally-- Public Officials, Community Leaders, and Children reflect on the importance of the Act. Freedom Plaza from 12:30 - 1:15 pm (French St., Wilmington, between 8th & 9th)
  • "Freedom Riders" Film & Discussion, Carvel State Office Bldg. at 5:30 pm, (9th & French St., Wilmington) 5-5:30 pm Food & Refreshments

LWVUS Convention 2014, June 6 - 14, Dallas, Texas

After action reporting: Information from some of the convention workshops is presented at the following three links: http://forum.lwv.org/sites/default/files/lwv_convention_2014_-_social_media_ppt_v2.pdf

http://forum.lwv.org/sites/default/files/convention_2014_communications_workshop_presentation_-_state.pdf

http://forum.lwv.org/sites/default/files/convention_2014_communications_workshop_presentation_-_state.pdf

Registration: Join your fellow national, state and local League Leaders for 4 days of interesting speakers on a variety of topics, networking, education, discussion & debate on issues that are important to our organization and our democracy. While you are there, take the time to explore the host city with events planned by the local Leaguers. And most important -- join in the fun!

Where: Omni Hotel, Dallas; Registration Fee: $335.00

Begin Event: 2014-06-06 12:00:00; End Event: 2014-06-10 18:00:00

Convention attendees who plan to participate in the LWVDE carbon emissions reduction caucus on June 7 are encouraged to use the Carbon Emissions Reduction Recommended Reading List.

Those who will be part of the LWV Climate Change Task Force caucus on new resources for climate action on June 8 are encouraged to use the SLR Recommended Reading List..

Chad Tolman will be speaking at both caucuses.

Retreat and Council 2014

The League of Women Voters of Delaware held a retreat and its biennial COUNCIL 2014 from Friday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4 at the Virdin Conference Center in Lewes, Delaware. The theme of the retreat was "What is Your Passion?" Workshops were as follows:

  • Advocating for Justice, Equality and Acceptance

  • Contemporary Strategies for Fundraising

  • Membership Development

  • Aging as Part of the Human Condition

  • League Legislative Priorities

  • The Current Agenda of the Delaware General Assembly In addition, all profited from the time allowed for socializing, training, and movies.

"Inequality for All," a Robert Reich film

ALL are invited to a free screening of Robert Reich's new movie, "Inequality for All" debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival; this film is a passionate argument on behalf of the middle class. "Inequality for All" features Reich as he demonstrates how the widening income gap and the public policies that helped create it have devastated the American economy. The screening is at 11 am on April 1 at the Dover Pubic Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. This screening is part of the 50 State Capital Tour funded by the Ford Foundation. All state legislators have been invited to participate and the Kent County delegation will lead a discussion after the film.

This event is hosted by Common Cause, Dover Public Library, Americans for Democratic Action, League of Women Voters of Delaware, Kent County League of Women Voters, Kent County Progressives, and Pacem in Terris.

LWVDE Land Use/Transportation Committee meeting

The next Committee meeting will be Monday, April 7, at the home of Jane Dilley, 220 Azalea Lane, West Grove. Skype will be available at http://www.peggyjoschultz.com if you notify Peggy by Sunday afternoon that you want to Skype yourself into the meeting. We're looking forward to other voices from all three counties. The discussion of the Coastal Zone Act will continue. We will consider developing a one-page CZ fact sheet, review state of litigation, discuss Sunoco's Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, examine permit list, develop final list of questions, and list places of interest to see on a possible tour of the Coastal Zone.

Questions at this point are:
1. Goals and Environmental Indicators are required by the CZA. As far as we can tell these haven't been activated in any systematic way. Would you agree that is the case? Why do you think this hasn't happened?

2. Is there a standardized step-by-step process for reviewing and evaluating an application for status decisions, for a permit, for off-sets? If there is such a process is this something to which our LWV committee could have access?

3. Do you believe the environmental indicators are necessary or would you favor removing this requirement?

The one-page fact sheet is something that we'd like to have ready in case Coastal Zone issues arise suddenly in the State Legislature. Please let Jane and me know ahead of time if you'd like to draft this for sharing at the meeting.

By following this link, you can access the original Coastal Zone Act, the regulations, and a history of the act.

As usual, it would be helpful to know in advance if you plan to attend the meeting.

Law Day 2014

Law Day, a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law, was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and in 1961 Congress passed a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Law Day programs are designed to help people understand how the law keeps us free and how our legal system strives to achieve justice and how it affects our daily lives. Each year a theme is chosen to spotlight a particular aspect of the rule of law or the legal process.

The president of the United States issues an annual Law Day proclamation, and thousands of Law Day programs are conducted across the country.

League Day in Dover - 2014!

House interior showing nipple watering system
Poultry House Interior

Delaware Agriculture is an $8 billion dollar industry helping to feed America and the world by producing and processing a wide array of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and milk. The poultry industry is recognized as the mainstay of Delaware Agriculture. To help us understand its effects, League Day 2014 featured balanced presentations by distinguished representatives of farm families, agribusiness, environmental regulation, academia, and state and federal government. The program and pesentations from League Day 2014 are available below. Some of the files may open slowly, as the presentations are large and have been compressed.

Michael Scuse, Undersecretary, Farm and Foreign Ag Services, USDA
Michael Scuse, USDA, Addresses the Attendees

Program "The Poultry Grower, Laura Hill, 2nd VP, Delaware Farm Bureau; member, Delaware Nutrient Management Commission"files/2014_league_day_laura_hill_presentation.pdf> The Water Quality Manager, John Schneider, DNREC's Watershed Assessment and Management Section Manager The Commercial Professional, Mike Twining, VP, Sales and Marketing, Willard Agri-Service The Poultry Industry Director, Bill Satterfield, Executive Director, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.

HB 105, "Election Day registration bill"

Letty Diswood coordinates the Voting and Elections portfolio for LWVDE, and she represented the League at a press conference on February 12. She urged passage of HB 105, a bill to allow voters to register on election day.

SB 6, "The minimum wage bill"

President Charlotte King presented the LWVDE's support for the proposed minimum wage bill, SB6, at the hearing of the House Committee on Economic Development onn Tuesday, January 28, 2014, The LWVDE supports SB6 based on a policy adopted by the LWVUS which states: "Persons...whose earnings are inadequate...have the right to an income...adequate to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and access to health care."

On January 30, the bill passed the House, went back to the Senate for approval of a version that deleted indexing, passed the Senate, and was signed by the Governor. How's that for speedy action?

Facing Climate Change - A Call to Action

The article "Facing Climate Change - A Call to Action" appeared in the Holiday 2013 edition of Delaware Beach Life. In this article, Lynn Parks wraps up her season-long look at the effects of climate change on coastal Delaware with a call to action from local activists, LWVNCC's Dr. Chad Tolman among them. The author addresses the retreating shoreline, land subsidence, and estimates of future sea-level rise. "Delaware sits at the heart of what scientists have identified as a 'hotspot' of sea level rise, where waters are expected to be as much as a foot higher than either of those estimates. Add in the fact that land in the region is actually subsiding and you get a relative sea level rise of at least 5 to 6 feet over the next 90 years. And remember -- a 5-foot increase doesn't mean that you just back up your beach chair by that much. It means that land less than 5 feet above sea level will be inundated..."

Pat Todd Recipient of 2014 Delaware Audubon Society Conservation Award

Pat Todd will be honored at the Delaware Audubon Society's annual meeting with the presentation of Delaware Audubon's Annual Conservation Award. Pat, Natural Resources Co-chair of and lobbyist with the League of Women Voters of Delaware, has provided a lifetime of service to the League.

Among her many achievements, she steadfastly advocated for Delaware's two major recycling bills, beginning in 1976 and following up with the most recent legislation enacted in 2011.

Pat has worked on a wide variety of environmental issues in Delaware, as the LWV-DE lobbyist and energy policy director. Her longtime friend and fellow environmental advocate Lorraine Fleming was quoted in the News Journal, saying Pat "really has her finger on everything environmental." She has been described as passionate, but also reasonable, approachable, and a consensus builder.

A "News Journal" feature in 2011 named Pat Todd one of "50 Delawareans Who Matter: A list of Delaware's unsung heroes" + people who make a difference in all of our lives. Pat was chosen for her achievements in preserving and protecting the environment.

The meeting will be held at 6 pm, Saturday, December 6, at the Film Brothers Co-op, 205 N. Market Street, Wilmington. Everyone is cordially invited to attend.

Admission will be $25 for an individual or two for $40. The fee includes hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Ample parking is available in a garage directly across the street. Payment can be made at the door, but please RSVP by emailing us at DAS mail or calling the office at 302-292-3970.

LWV URGENT ACTION ALERT: HB 88

HB 88 will save lives by establishing a legal process for keeping guns out of the hands of those who present a danger to themselves or others. Its Synopsis states: "This Act is designed to create procedures in Delaware for making sure firearms are not in the hands of dangerous people while protecting due process and not creating a barrier to care for those suffering from mental illness."

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House with strong bipartisan support, 40-1, last year. But even though both mental health advocates and the NRA found it acceptable, it was then DEFEATED in the Senate by a vote of 13 NO, 6 Yes and 2 Not Voting on June 27, astonishing and dismaying supporters.

Although the bill was defeated, Senate rules allow it to be brought up for a repeat vote FOR A VERY SHORT TIME!! THE RE-VOTE IS EXPECTED TO OCCUR NEXT TUESDAY (January 14th), THE FIRST DAY THE LEGISLATURE GOES BACK INTO SESSION.

We ask you to contact your Senator via phone or email ASAP to urge him/her to SUPPORT HB 88. If your Senator voted yes, a thank you for doing so would be in order as we need to keep the yes votes in the yes column.

If your Senator voted NO OR FAILED TO VOTE, let him/her know that you + and the League of Women Voters of Delaware + are urging passage and we hope he/she will recognize the urgent need for passage.

Voting NO: Republicans Bonini, Cloutier, Hocker, Lavelle, Lawson, Lopez, Pettyjohn, Simpson

Democrats: Bushweller, Ennis, Marshall, McBride, Venables

Not Voting: Democrats Poore, Townsend

Please email lwvde@comcast.net to let us know how your Senator responded to your call or email.

[For a more complete description of the bill's provisions and a link to the actual language of the bill, go to: http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+88?Opendocument.]

League Joins in Sea Level Rise Forums Throughout State

Sea Level Rise Forums Held in Your Area

Sea Level Rise Awareness Week is being recognized by the League of Women Voters of Delaware in conjunction with other organizations as we cosponsor public meetings throughout the state. We look forward to seeing you, your friends and neighbors, at the forum in your community.

Dover Forum

  • Monday, September 16, 2013, 7 pm
    Christ Episcopal Church, 523 S. State St., Dover

Wilmington Forum at Limestone Church
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 7 pm
    Limestone Presbyterian Church, 3201 Limestone Rd.,
    Wilmington

Lewes Forum
  • Friday, September 20, 2013, 7 pm
    St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 211 Mulberry St., Lewes

Wilmington Forum in Southbridge
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 7 pm
    Elbert-Palmer Elementary School
    1210 Lobdell St., Wilmington

Click on recommended readings for a list of books that will be helpful in understanding sea level rise and its implications.

A few of the actions recommended by our cosponsors for Sea Level Rise Awareness Week are: reducing energy use, recycling, planting native trees, and installing rain barrels. There are events every day of the week: book readings, tree plantings, and public meetings among them. For a complete listing of activities and cosponsors, click on http://www.sosdelaware.org/.

LWVDE Board Orientation

Over 30 state and local board members and committee members attended this orientation, held at the Barclay Farms Clubhouse in Camden. The orientation session provided a great opportunity for local and state board members to receive training to help increase effectiveness as board members and to share their interests.

Governor Markell Signs Executive Order 41

Dr. Chad Tolman presents information on the science behind climate change

Sept.12, 2013- Governor Jack Markell kicked off Sea Level Rise Awareness Week today with Executive Order #41, taking everyone by surprise. This is the Executive Order for which the League's Climate Chair, Chad Tolman, has been campaigning for three years, with the League's support. Executive Order #41 creates the

Dr. Chad Tolman presents information on the science behind climate change
Governor's Committee on Climate and Resiliency, described as a new, long-term effort to get Delaware ready for the effects of climate change and sea level rise. It would require all state agencies to include sea level rise projections in their plans for state-financed projects. It also "requires development of strategies to make state facilities and operations better prepared to deal with sea-level rise, and to share findings with local governments," according to an article in delawareonline.com. A two-year study by DNREC's Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, of which Tolman is a member, concludes that the state will have to pay huge costs in just the coastal areas of Delaware if the projections of a 5-foot sea level rise by 2100 actually take place. Following the signing of the Executive Order Gov. Markell handed commemorative pens to Sarah Cooksey, head of Coastal Programs, and to Chad Tolman.

Convention 2013

League of Women Voters of Delaware held its "Biennial <a href= Convention on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at the Sheraton Hotel, Dover, Delaware.

The business of the meeting addressed officer and director elections, proposed program, new education study, proposed bylaw changes, proposed budget, and the outgoing president's business meeting.

Mr. Ed Mckee, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, the Keynote Speaker

There were two workshops, as follow:

  • Membership/Leadership Development. Seminar leader: Deborah Macmillan, LWVUS mentor to LWVDE

  • Reading a Simple Financial Report. Seminar leader: Cheryl Cairncroft, Brandywine Accounting

Heat and Health Warning System

Heat and Health Warning System. The Delaware Interfaith Power and Light organization is making an effort to bring a heat and health warning system to the state of Delaware. This would benefit many of our citizens and save lives during heat waves. If you're interested in learning more about this effort go to: http://www.deipl.org

League Day in Dover! Wednesday, March 27, 2013

League Day 2013 is dedicated to key public education issues. The program is designed to inform and to encourage discussion of key Delaware education issues in small groups with invited experts. Join us in this opportunity to learn about trends and issues in Delaware's public education as we work together for continuing improvement. Read about League Day and register now!

Jackie Christman is LWVUS Observer at UN Forum on Status of Women

Jackie Christman (LWVNCC) is attending the UN Forum on the Status of Women as one of only 20 LWVUS observers from across the nation. The League was invited to consult at the first meeting regarding the establishment of the UN in 1945 by then-President of the United States Harry Truman, and it has been a been a vital force in the UN ever since. Jackie will have a report for us following the end of this year's Forum, and you will find it on our website and in our next VOTER. Congratulations,Jackie! We are very proud that you have been accorded this honor, and we look forward to your report!

Death Penalty Rally and Press Conference

Please join us in Dover on March 12th to show your support for death penalty repeal. In concert with other organizations, we will be introducing a bill in the Delaware Senate to repeal the death penalty in Delaware. Lobby Training at Christ Church, S. State & Water Streets, 11 am. Rally and Press Conference at Legislative Hall, East Patio, 12:30 pm.

We will be gathering with legislators, religious leaders, and community members to voice our support for death penalty repeal. Special guests will include Senator Karen Peterson, Senator Gary Simpson, Representative Darryl Scott, Representative Joe Miro, Bishop Peggy Johnson, Bishop Aretha Morton, Rabbi Yair Robinson, and more.

Rashmi Rangan given Citizen of Light Award

Rashmi Rangan, former LWVDE president and 2012 Carrie Chapman Catt Award recipient, received a Citizen of Lights Award from Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker. Rangan's remarkable work with the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council and her establishment of Stepping Stones, a credit union for those with low incomes,led to her selection as an award recipient.

HELP WANTED

The LWVDE Board is looking for chairs for the following positions. If you are interested, contact President Charlotte King.
  • Editor for The Voter: Solicit articles for, edit and publish our quarterly newsletter in both electronic and print form.
  • Historian: Review old records and destroy or distribute appropriately. (Some of these records may be State Archive material. Some should be retained in League files.) Keep appropriate current records. Are there any retired librarians out there?
  • The Advocacy Corps monitors all legislation introduced during the annual General Assembly in accordance with League policy and presents testimony in support of or opposition to legislation on which we have a League position. We are looking volunteers for the following positions which offer a great way to get involved in our advocacy work and to learn about Delaware's legislative process. If you are interested, contact Advocacy Chair Charlotte King.
  • Research Assistant: Provide material relevant to legislative bills and League studies via internet search or other means. Attendance at meetings or hearings is optional.
  • Data Input Assistant: Someone who can provide data entry assistance on pending legislative bills, including committee hearing dates. The existing template needs to be monitored and updated from January through June.

    If you have skills or interests you'd like to offer to the League that are not listed, feel free to contact us here.

Leaders' Update

Leaders' Update, September 13, 2012. Click on the following link to access the stirring POWER THE VOTE message of the LWVUS president!
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League Day in Dover - Campaign Finance & Lobbying Reform

Campaign Finance and Lobbying Reform - Disclosure in Delaware: Follow the Money was the topic for League Day in Dover: March 21, 2012, at the Duncan Center in Dover. LWV Advocacy Chair Charlotte King gave a historic perspective on the topics of the day and moderated the League's annual event that, this year, addressed a top priority for LWVDE as well as LWVUS.

Keynote speakers Elaine Manlove, Commissioner of Elections and Janet Wright, Counsel to the Public Integrity Commission kicked off the program explaining their respective roles in administering campaign finance and lobbying laws and regulation.

A panel presentation and discussion followed with presentations by James Browning, Common Cause; Frank Calio, retired Commissioner of Elections; A. Richard Heffron, V.P. of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce; and John Sweeney, Editorial Page Editor of the News Journal. Several legislators and other state officials joined the group for serious discussion and networking at lunch. Click on the names of speakers underlined and appearing in blue above for copies of their presentations or notes taken by League members. Additional reports will be added in the days ahead.

x Coverage of the event by the Cape Gazette is here.

LWVDE & DELCOG public forum on open government

LWVDE and DELCOG public forum on Open Government Informed Attendees. In celebration of Sunshine Week, the League and the Delaware Coalition for Open Government co-sponsored a public forum on March 13, 2012 at the Dover City Council Chambers.

LWVDE Open Government Chair Dr. Margaret McKay opened the session with a presentation on the open records and open meetings requirements of the state Freedom of Information (FOIA) law.

Deputy Attorney General Kent Walker gave a fresh perspective on one of the Attorney General's top five priorities - open and accessible government. He referred attendees to a FOIA request form on the AG's website that can be used to request records from any agency.

Among other explanations of the law's requirements, Walker highlighted an issue that seems not to be clear to many local governments and school districts who tend to list Executive Session topics using generic language from the state law - "personnel, Pending/Potential Litigation, and Land Acquisition." He stated "That standard language isn't going to cut it with us," suggesting that the listing of Executive Session agenda items must be more specific.

Walker was the author of a recent opinion finding the Capital School District in violation of four of five complaints made by LWV Open Government Chair, Mickey McKay. See more on this opinion below.

Other speakers included Dover City Clerk Jody Stein who outlined the kind of records available to the public and how to access them. Rep. John Kowalko discussed HB 126 that defines "public body", "public record" and "meeting" in the state's Freedom of Information Act to include the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, and their respective Board of Trustees. Kowalko is a prime sponsor of the bill.

DELCOG President John Flaherty and Past President of the NAACP Cecil Wilson explained cases they had filed where public agencies failed to meet FOIA requirements. They urged attendees to be vigilant and persistent in identifying and taking on open government violations and to keep detailed records of every request, responses, names, dates, etc.

Governor urged to address energy & climate change

LWVDELWVDE joins coalition in urging Governor to address energy and climate change.<b/> On June 24, 2011 a coalition of environmental groups in Delaware sent a letter to Governor Markell asking him to exercise leadership in the development and implementation of a comprehensive energy and climate change plan that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make Delaware "more resilient to the dangers of climate change for generations to come." Most of these groups met with Governor Markell on February 1, 2012 to present information about the importance of proceeding with this effort. This report documents this endeavor, and provides a foundation for moving forward in the long-range comprehensive energy and climate change planning process.

Marcia recently gave us "Good News! There is no charge for a table to sell your fabulous League products in the wares market! We will provide the table and signage for your League." & DELCOG public forum on open government

Capital School District found in violation of FOIA

Attorney General Finds Capital School District in Violation of FOIA. In response to complaints filed by the League of Women Voters of Delaware and the Delaware Coalition for Open Government under the state's freedom of information act (FOIA), the Attorney General's office has issued an opinion finding the Capital School District in violation of three of the four complaints. The complaints related to a decision by the school board to raise salaries of administrators during a closed session with no advance notice to the public that the decision was being considered. You can read the entire decision here. The most significant finding in the opinion was that within twenty days from receipt of the January 6, 2012 opinion, the school board must give the Attorney General's office information on how they will reconsider the salary increases for administrators in a manner consistent with FOIA requirements or recoup the funds already paid.

The complaint was developed by LWVDE Open Government Chair, Dr. Margaret McKay of Dover who is also a member of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government.

The Dover Post has published an article on the LWVDE's five-part FOIA complaint against the Capital School District. The complaint grew out of the school board's decision to raise adminstrators' salaries. The LWVDE alleges that there was inadequate public notice of consideration of this issue, along with other concerns.

LWVDE FOIA chair quoted in News Journal

LWVDE FOIA Chair Quoted in News Journal. Mickey McKay is quoted in an October 20, 2011 article reporting on Governor Markell's Executive Order tightening state Freedom of Information requirements.

LWVDE Justice Team participates in Prostitution Diversion Project Coalition

The LWVDE Justice Team is participating in the Prostitution Diversion Project Coalition. The project is a cooperative effort led by Brandywine Counseling and Community Services in partnership with the New Castle County Court of Common Pleas, the University of Delaware and Stand Up for What's Right and Just (SURJ) providing contracted services. The project's goal is to promote the health of women who engage in prostitution by applying a public health approach to prostitution and related criminal activity.

LWVDE welcomes Secretary Bhatt, new DELDOT chief

LWVDE has welcomed new DELDOT secretary and suggested a new focus. In the welcome letter, LWVDE outlined areas for attention drawn from a recently concluded two-year study of the interface between land use and transportation as those activities relate to Delaware's energy future. For background material developed for the Transportation/Land Use consensus process, see Consensus document.

LWVDE urged adoption of energy use/climate change plan

LWVDE has urged adoption of an aggressive and comprehensive energy use/climate change plan for Delaware. The recommendations that were sent in a letter to Governor Markell came from a 6-month study by the Energy/Green House Gas Subcommittee of LWVDE, refined through a series of consensus meetings in all three counties and adopted by the LWVDE Board in March. Supporting information can be found here.

LWVDE joined PA, NJ, & NY Leagues to express concerns about fracking

LWVDE has joined PA, NJ, and NY Leagues to express concern about the dangers of "Fracking". In a letter to the EPA Administrator, the four state Leagues urged restoration of the federal Clean Water Act as a means to provide protection for the Delaware River watershed from the dangers of the hydrofracking process used to extract natural gas, particularly in Marcellus Shale. Click here to read a summary of the January forum held on hydrofracking in New Castle County.

Delaware's FOIA anniversary celebrated

LWVDE and DELCOG celebrate Delaware's FOIA anniversary. On July 25, the LWVDE in partnership with the Delaware Coalition for Open Government celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the signing of Delaware's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The event was held in Legislative Hall, Dover. Mickey McKay, the League's FOIA Project Chair, presented awards to seven local governments whose performance was outstanding on the League's FOIA Audit of 2010. See photos.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of a "Certificate of Achievement" to Sen. Karen E. Peterson by DELCOG President John Flaherty for her long and outstanding crusade to strengthen Delaware's open-government laws, to extend the reach of those laws and to make FOIA easier and more accessible for the average citizen to use.

Advocacy Corps, formerly Action Committee, sets priority

Action Committee Name Changed. The name of the Action Committee has been changed to Advocacy Corps to better reflect what the committee does. The Advocacy Corps is comprised of our eight volunteer registered lobbyists, other portfolio (committee) chairs, and a few other League members who participate on a regular basis in the Corps' deliberations. For more information about our Advocacy Corps, go here.

In addition to its name change, the Advocacy Corps has set Campaign Finance/Lobbying Reform as a legislative priority for 2012. Members of the Corps are organizing a working group to study sources of information, legislation. To join this project, please contact the Chair, Charlotte King by clicking here.

Celebrate Spring With the League

All League Members Invited: CELEBRATE SPRING WITH THE LEAGUE.
Join Us for a Weekend of Learning and Fun
At the Center for the Inland Bays Indian River Marina Sussex County
April 13-14-15

  • Learn about the League
  • Get to know members from around the state
  • Learn what's 'hot' in the Legislature
  • Learn what's happening in NCC, Kent & Sussex Leagues
  • Meet the "Dead Ladies"
  • Take a walking tour of Burton's Island
  • Learn "How to Boil a Frog"
  • Share your interests and issues

New and potential members are encouraged to join us.

All meals provided except for dinner Saturday night at the Cottage Cafe -- good, reasonably priced food. Separate checks. Overnight accommodations in cozy, modern Cottages at Indian River Marina.

All activities provided except for a walking tour of Burton's Island Saturday afternoon. There will be an extra charge of $4.00 for this State Park Guided Tour. Alternatively, we're going to show the environmental movie "How to Boil A Frog" for those not interested in the tour.

Detailed agenda will be provided for those who register. And please, register early to assure your reservation at the cabins.

Use this form to register NOW!

LWVDE Goes to LWVUS Council Meeting


LWVDE Delegates to LWVUS Council 2011 joined in a training exercise. Left to right: LWVDE President Carol Jones, LWVSC President Cathy Ward and VP Anne Riley, our board liaison Marlene O'Brien, Letty Diswood, and Sandy Spence. In middle photo, Cathy Ward speaks up during a general session. On right, Anne Riley and Letty Diswood take a break between sessions.

LWVDE Biennial Convention



The LWVDE held its biennial convention in May 2011 at Dover Downs. The convention elected officers and board members who will govern to League for the next two years, approved a new policy position on Energy/Climate Change and another on Land Use/Transportation, approved a New study on State Revenue Sources to be chaired by Mickey McKay, and conducted other business. In addition, attendees attended varied educational sessions on the Delaware Freedom of Information Act with Deputy Attorney General Judy Hodas, Leadership Development with LWVUS Liaison Shayna Howell [in photo], and workshops on League Observer Corps, How to write an effective letter to the editor, and Redistricting.

League Day in Dover 2011

League Day in Dover 2011 addressed Sea Level Rise. Dr. Chad Tolman, Retired Scientist and Chair, Energy Committee of the DE Chapter of the Sierra Club, addressed the basics of sea level rise, its projected overall impact and the likely timeframe for which planning is critical. Dave Carter, DNREC's Coastal Programs, presented what Delaware is doing to prepare for the impact of Sea Level Rise on Delaware's coast line. Dr. Nancy Targett, Dean of UD College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, outlined what the University is doing in climate change research and education and Lewes Mayor James Ford described what Lewes is doing to adapt to sea level rise. Ken Kristl, Esq, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Widener University School of Law, was luncheon speaker, discussing some of the legal implications of climate change and sea level rise for Delaware. The program was organized and moderated by John Sykes.

The LWVDE Sea Level Rise Field Trip, January 24, 2011

In January, members from all three local Leagues participated in a field trip to Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Milton, DE in Sussex County. They were briefed by Refuge Manager Michael Stroeh at the Refuge HQ and shown here at Fowler Beach where they also saw a birdwatching platform built in 2006 about 500 yards from the water, now serving as a real life example of the effects of sea level rise. To view a slideshow of the trip, click here.

LWVDE Celebrated the LWV 90th Anniversary in November 2010

In November 2010, the LWV of Delaware celebrated the League's 90th Anniversary at a Gala at Dover Downs. Recently retired State Archivist Russ McCabe told the fascinating story of the suffrage movement in Delaware. Flame of Democracy awards were presented to honorees from each county, from left to right: Ellen Wasfi (Kent), Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (New Castle), and Mable Granke (Sussex). Lt. Governor Matt Denn stopped by to greet us.

The Tim Laushey Trio entertained. Tim, on drums, is a member of the LWVSC.

League Day in Dover 2010

League Day in Dover 2010 focused on Redistricting. Shown here are panelists including Sen. Gary Simpson and Sen. Patricia Blevins, prime sponsors of legislation to establish an independent commission to redistrict the state legislature and Edward Ratledge, Director, University of Delaware Center for Applied Demographics and Survey Research. In the center is John Flaherty, president of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, who moderated the panel discussion, and at the podium are LWVDE's then-President Sandy Spence with Sen. Liane Sorensen reading a proclamation congratulating the League on sponsoring this educational event. Rep. Terry Schooley, co-sponsor of the proclamation is looking on.
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