Submitted by Northampton Area LWV, February 2021
Program Plans will be voted on for adoption at the LWVMA Annual Meeting in June.
Action Priorities are the broad, general subject areas the state League should focus on. LWVMA will concentrate, though not exclusively, on legislation in these areas and take action as issues come up.
Action Priority: Improving Elections
- PRIORITY 1 Advocate for election reforms including same-day voter registration and making permanent vote-by- mail and other early voting measures with the improvements which have been identified
- Encourage corrections officials to facilitate voting for eligible incarcerated people
- Follow up on results from LWVMA ballot question process study
Action Priority: Informed, Engaged, and Authentic Voters and Civic Education
- Continue to encourage informed and active participation in government and understanding major public policy issues. On-going actions include: Online voters’ guide; Lotte E. Scharfman citizen education grants to local Leagues; candidate forums; student video contest; civic trivia events.
- PRIORITY 2, NEW GOAL Focus public attention on the legislative history of League-supported bills, such as the climate bill, as well as the content of the bills. Use the progress of bills to promote understanding of the need to improve the legislative process in Massachusetts. The Legislature and Executive Branch are not passing the amount of legislation, with sufficient speed, required to address the multiple crises facing the state. Advocate for policy changes and rules reforms that will control lobbying by high-spending special interest groups, improve transparency at all levels, hold government officials accountable, govern on truth and evidence-based science, and address disinformation. Encourage LWVUS to adopt similar policies and advocate for reforms in the U.S. Congress and federal agencies.
- Support civic education in schools, promoting the LWVMA Civic Education Curriculum: funding for civic education still needs to be secured; some features of implementation don’t begin until 2022
NEW TEXT Support civic education in schools and advocate for increased funding, especially for teacher’s professional development. Create a pool of League volunteers to develop classroom resources and lessons for teachers to integrate into all subject areas. Expand the LWVMA Civic Education Curriculum.
Action Priority: Climate Emergency and Sustainable Environment
- PRIORITY3 Advocate for passage of comprehensive climate legislation that addresses the scope, scale, and urgency of the climate crisis
- Track implementation of major, comprehensive climate legislation
- Support regional collaborations, such as the Transportation and Climate Initiative
- Work for improved public transportation as a way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions
Action Priority: Government for the People
Action Goals: Healthcare
- Educate public about healthcare coverage
- PRIORITY 4 Advocate for single-payer universal healthcare coverage legislation for all residents of Massachusetts
- Advocate for legislation to strengthen and extend reproductive rights as needed
Action Goal: Gender Rights
- Advocate for strengthened and extended rights for all LBGTQ residents of Massachusetts
- PRIORITY 5 Ensure that the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion are applied to all marginalized groups
Action Goals: Education
- PRIORITY 6, NEW TEXT Develop and advocate for strategies to improve educational access and learning experiences for marginalized communities, including rural communities.
- NEW GOAL: Provide universal pre-K education: affordable for all; free for low- and moderate- income families.
- Reaffirm our commitment to affordable and accessible post-secondary education
- Maintain “Education funding reform” because pandemic has disrupted the funding
Action Goals: Meeting Basic Human Needs
- PRIORITY 7 NEW TEXT Establish partnerships with local organizations to reduce economic inequality across the Commonwealth, with greater focus on rural areas, by improving access to healthy food and sustainable nutrition, eliminating food deserts, increasing affordable housing, preventing short-term cuts in public transportation, and increasing public transportation, particularly in rural and marginalized communities.
- NEW GOAL Advocate for passage of a law to create a Rural Task Force to secure funding and resources for improved access to jobs, food, medical services, environmental protection, and universal internet connectivity.
- REMOVE Improve access to healthy food and sustainable nutrition by focusing on resources that counteract food desert.
- REMOVE Advocate for affordable housing
- REMOVE Work to prevent cuts in spending on public transportation, needed to enable all residents to reach jobs, grocery stores and medical appointments
Action Goals: Pandemic Recovery
- Advocate for coordination of resources to mitigate the societal and economic impact of the pandemic
- PRIORITY 8, NEW TEXT View the amplified and exacerbated inequities as an opportunity to examine and change laws, institutions, and conventions involved in the creation and perpetuation of these inequities. Work to provide family friendly social-economic policies for working mothers of all income levels, supporting their role as primary caregivers, while providing equitable access in the workforce. Start with universal childcare and universal pre-K. These are the women’s rights issues of the 21st century.
- Prioritize aid and support to those in disadvantaged positions
Action Priority: Justice
Action Goals: Racial Justice
- Take action to identify, educate, and advocate to eradicate systemic racism in the state of Massachusetts as it exists in education, housing, employment, healthcare, and every aspect of American life, since such racism and socio-economic inequalities have marginalized, discriminated against, and harmed Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color (BIPOC)
- PRIORITY 9 Make applying a racial justice lens to examine both explicit and implicit racial justice implications a required step before League approval of any proposed legislation, project, or report
- Review and study the Massachusetts state seal and motto in order to ensure Indigenous Americans are treated with respect; support legislation and actions to ban public schools from using Native American mascots
Action Goals: Criminal Justice
- Support legislation to reform sentencing, probation and parole policies
- Invest in rehabilitative and re-entry services
- Promote alternatives to incarceration
- PRIORITY 10 Consider in all criminal justice legislative efforts how laws will address racism within the criminal justice and police systems