Making Democracy Work

News & News Releases

Check here for press releases, League news or updates on current events

Lunch at Lakeland, Weds., April 26!

Good News! The date is April 26 in Upton Rooms 5 & 6 for the luncheon at Lakeland Hospital on the subjects of "Pain Management and Opioides."

There is a new Pavilion being built at Lakeland now, and we will hear an update on this new project. The parking situation is not good.and will not be good for another four years. Any members needing handicap accessibility can park on campus. Lakeland is making arrangements for alternative parking for us with shuttle service to the hospital. A shuttle service will pick us up beginning at 11:20 at Cedarwood Medical Center, 820 Lester Avenue. Please park in the lot and wait underneath the building overhang for pick up. The shuttle will come at approximately 11:20, 11:30, and 11:40. We will be dropped off at the corner by the parking garage. That same shuttle will take us back beginning about 1:15pm.

Our arrival time for the luncheon should begin at 11:15. Lunch will be provided at 11:40. Dr Hamel and other doctors will give their presentation from 12:45 to 1:30 and then allow time for Q&A. Space is limited to 80.

Our thanks to Lakeland for extending this wonderful opportunity to us.

Lunch March 16 with Berrien County's New Public Defender

New Berrien County Chief Public Defender Carl Macpherson says he's working harder than he ever has in his life. Macpherson will discuss Berrien County's criminal justice system with us during a luncheon set for March 16 at noon at Coaches Restaurant in Stevensville.

Macpherson was hired last fall as the county's first public defender. In late November and early December, he interviewed and added staff so that by Dec.12 eight lawyers, two legal secretaries, an office manager and an investigator were in place. Come and hear more about this highly important job function in Berrien County and how it fits with our justice system.

Macpherson will speak to our League at 12pm on Thursday, March 16, at Coaches Restaurant, 2528 Glenlord Rd, Stevensville, MI 49127. To make a reservation, please call Membership Chairs Donna Dutton at 269-469-9763 or Lorraine Stepanek at 269-469-5852 as soon as convenient.

4 Voter Information Forums Popular with Citizens

The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties held four live, public candidate forums on two nights in one week in October. These events gave voters a unique opportunity to evaluate the candidates of three state legislative districts in Berrien and Cass Counties and Cass County circuit judge and Niles mayor.

On Monday, October 10, Cass County 43rd Circuit Judge candidates Mark Herman and Scott Teter faced off in a forum and were followed by Michigan House 59th District candidates Carol Higgins (D) and Aaron Miller (R) at the Southwestern Michigan College, Dowagiac Campus. The District 59 video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPdaZmtUMuY and the Judicial debate can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Q1RcJJnkM.

On Thursday, October 13, the two Michigan House 78th District Candidates Dave Pagel (R) and Dean Hill (D) and the two Michigan House 79th District candidates Kim LaSata (R) and Marletta Seats (D) met in a forum.

The Berrien RESA Conference Center in Berrien Springs hosted this event. Dave Pagel is the incumbent candidate in the 78th District being challenged by Dean Hill, and Ms. LaSata and Ms. Seats are vying for Al Pscholka's 79th District House seat vacated due to term limits. This video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JszbeDoOszc

Also, on Thursday, October 13, the Niles Mayoral Candidates Robert Durm and Nick Shelton debated at the Niles District Library. You can see this debate at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8jt65gV8Xk.

The LWVBCC understands the importance of voters actually watching the candidates answer issue questions in an unscripted setting. Videos of past debates and forums can be viewed here http://lwvbcc.org/Videos.html.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, go to the League's website http://www.lwvbcc.org.

State of Michigan November Ballot Proposals

STATE OF MICHIGAN STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSALS

November 8, 2016, General Election

As of this writing, the 10 Ballot Proposals which had been proposed for the November ballot were not approved by the legislature and will not appear on the ballot. The issues that had been proposed were: Stop Overcharging, related to medical goods or services; Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan; Protecting Michigan Taxpayers; Michigan Cannabis Coalition; Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee; Raise Michigan; Citizens for Fair Taxes; Let's Vote Michigan; Fair Michigan; and Abrogate Prohibition Michigan.

LOCAL BALLOT PROPOSALS

There are, however, numerous ballot proposals which will appear on ballots and affect local jurisdictions. You can find them by accessing the websites of the Berrien and Cass County Clerk websites.

League of Women Voters Announces 30-plus Redistricting Educational "Town Halls"

"Redistricting in Michigan: Should Politicians Choose Their Voters, or Voters their Politicians?"

The League of Women Voters will host over 30 Town Halls throughout the fall to educate the public on the importance of redistricting. Their presentation will explore how legislative lines are drawn in Michigan, who draws them and why it is a critically important question for those concerned about fair representation.

"In Michigan the district lines are drawn by elected officials in the legislature, effectively allowing politicians to choose their voters, rather than voters their elected leaders," said Judy Karandjeff, President of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. "This system gives the political party in power at the time a tremendous advantage but is this the best system for voters? Our Town Halls will explore central questions, such as: What are the consequences of partisan drawn districts that favor one party over another? Is there a better and fairer way to do this? What are the alternatives?"

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on Arizona's Independent Restricting Commission said there is an alternative and that citizens, not just politicians, have the right to decide how Congressional district lines are drawn. The decision has grabbed the public's attention. Some have asked if Michigan, like Arizona, should use an independent commission to draw the lines, not only for the Congressional Districts, but for the State House and Senate, as well. This alternative and others will be explored in-depth at the town hall.

"Government is supposed to of, by and for the people, but more and more it seems to ordinary voters that their voices are not being heard and that our elected leaders are becoming more extreme, less compromising and more disconnected from a public they are supposed to serve," said President Karandjeff. "Instead, special interests and lobbyists seem to get the attention of our elected leaders. We need to ask fundamental questions about why this is happening and whether allowing politicians to draw their own districts contributes to the problem." A complete list of Town Halls by date and location can be found on the League of Women Voters website at http://www.lwvmi.org. The events are free and open to the public. All are invited to attend.

Berrien County Recycling Events

Berrien County offers many opportunities for residents to recycle hazardous materials, electronics, tires and unneeded medications.

For details visit the county website or e-mailrecycling coordinator Jill Adams.