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League Day 2023: Observations and Thoughts

P. Evers | Published on 1/31/2023

League Day 2023

League Day sponsored by LWV-Virginia every January during the General Assembly session offers members an opportunity to hear from community advocates and legislators on issues related to our legislative priorities as well as the opportunity to meet with our elected officials to advocate for our priorities.

Eleven members of our local League traveled to Richmond on January 25 for League Day 2023. We enjoyed a generous breakfast buffet before the slate of scheduled speakers addressed the topics of the day: the right to vote amendment and reproductive rights.

Senator Mamie Locke and Delegate Charniele Herring spoke about the importance or restoring voting rights to ex-offenders.

Delegate Herring encouraged us to look more closely at the “fines and fees” ex-offenders are asked to pay as it’s been suggested that ex-offenders also need to pay all fines and fees before having their right to vote restored.

Jamie Lockhart of Virginia Planned Parenthood and Tammy Miller Jennings of the National Organization for Women (NOW) discussed the Roe decision and the key reproductive rights bills to support and oppose.

Delegate Vivian Watts was a surprise but welcome addition to the agenda when she stopped by to share her thoughts on the current budget surplus, the impact of the Governor’s proposed tax cuts and her ongoing fight for minimum staffing standards in nursing homes.

Our Williamsburg contingent then departed to keep scheduled appointments with our local legislators across the street in the Pocahontas Building that houses the legislative offices.

A few League members’ comments about their League Day experience:
  • “Our eleven members who attended League Day are the embodiment of Democracy in Action. We reminded the staff of Senator Norment and Senator Locke that Virginia is the tenth wealthiest state in the United States.  Consequently, we firmly urged the legislators to support competitive pay for teachers, educational support staff like school psychologists, and mental health professionals. We also reminded them that climate change will only be lessened by continuing to support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative approved by the General Assembly in 2021”
  • “Listening to the powerful speakers address the critical issues of our state budget, the Right to Vote Amendment and Reproductive Rights reinforced the reasons why I joined LWV.  While our   Senators were not available, their Legislative Aides took the time to listen to us express our support for bills on gun safety, competitive pay for teachers, Colonial Service Board (behavioral health) pay increases as well as our opposition to Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) and removing Virginia from RGGI. It was a true team effort as everyone contributed by sharing a thought, concern or fact with the Senate Aides.”
  • “Senator Locke’s Legislative Aide was familiar with and knowledgeable about the Education related issues we were there to discuss, specifically increasing teacher salaries and benefits (vs. one-time bonuses); providing funds to hire more counselors, teacher aids, ESL teachers and bus drivers; and the problems associated with the Commonwealth redirecting tax dollars intended for Public Schools to Education Scholarship Accounts “for unrestricted use by parents of children not attending public schools. Senator Norment’s Aide shared that his mother was a teacher and took notes as we spoke.”
  • “League Day is an educational opportunity to listen to various speakers as they advocate for public school funding, right to vote initiatives, gun safety women’s health issues, etc.  Meeting legislators and their assistants in-person gives voice to our advocacy. A special gift - the time to spend with other League members as we carpool to Richmond and exchange thoughts and ideas from the events of the day!“
  • "As a very new member of LWV-WA with League Day 2023 being only my second league activity, it was amazing to experience the efficient planning, detailed organization, effective communications, sharing of substantial information and wonderful comradery that went into this important exercise of our rights and obligations to have our voices heard by our elected officials." I had a wonderful time with everyone and learned a little about how the system works.”

League Day is unique opportunity to learn about your state government and take an active role in democracy. Please plan to join us next year!

For an eye-opening article about criminal “fines and fees” read READ HERE.

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