March 2021 Update

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3rd Annual Civics Cup
In the news is the 2021 LWVH Civics Cup on Sunday, March 7 via Zoom.
 Though the competition hasn’t happened as of this writing, we have a record number of teams registered to play this year — 13 teams and 45 Bromfield students, grades 8-12. “We the People” is this year’s theme, with questions about our Constitutional rights, inclusive government, the Inauguration and the Census.

Prizes this year are designed to be mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as gift certificates from The Harvard General Store, The West Side Creamery, and the Silver Unicorn bookstore. The Harvard Sweet Boutique donated fresh gourmet cookies and Carlson Orchards donated apples for the competitor gift bags. All competitors receive a signature Civics Cup T-shirt, US and MA constitutions as well.

Grace Acton, one of the winners from the “Pawnee Goddesses” team who won the 2020 Cup will make a surprise visit. Grace has been exceptionally helpful as we figured out how to host the competition on Zoom.

This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our League Civics Cup team of volunteers under the leadership of Shannon Molloy. Special thanks to Jennifer Finch, Paul Green, Betsy Kendall, Jen Manell, and Jackie Normand. We anticipate more League members can get involved next year when we hold a live event again (hopefully)!

Look for an email next week about the outcome of our 3rd Annual Civics Cup! Though the competition isn’t open to the public this year, you can test your Civics knowledge in next week’s Harvard Press. Look for the LWV Harvard advertisement with some of the questions the Bromfield students tried to answer. How will you fare?

League Members Meet Via TED
In keeping with pandemic limitations, our members are meeting virtually by watching relevant and thought provoking TED talks online and then discussing the issues and what kind of impact the League can make as individuals or as a group.

The next League TED Talk gathering will be Friday, March 19 – “How can we protect truth in the age of misinformation?” We’ve all heard of fake news, right? Well, fake news can sway elections, tank economies and sow discord in everyday life. Data scientist Sinan Aral demystifies how and why it spreads so quickly — citing one of the largest studies on misinformation — and identifies five strategies to help us unweave the tangled web between true and false.

Meet at 7 p.m. for the video and 8 p.m. for the discussion group. The Zoom link will be sent out in advance to all LWVH members.

Student Video Contest
If you’ve got a student in grade 9-12, let him/her/they know about the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Democracy Challenge video contest. The winning 30-second video that answers the question, “What did you learn about democracy in 2020?” will get $500. Second place is $250 and third place gets $100. Plus a school with multiple exceptional entries will receive a $250 Catalyst Award. 

The deadline is April 2. Go to www.lwvma.orgfor more information.

News from the LWVMA Legislative Action Committee (LAC)
LWV Harvard member Janice Goodell has been an important part of the state League Legislative Action Committee (LAC) for many years. As an RN (ret), she has served as a specialist on the health committee, but reviews other legislation the LWVMA takes on.

The following are bills that the state League LAC has voted to support. You can review the bills and lend your support by calling or emailing Legislators and asking them to cosponsor the bill.  Get others to speak up for bills they favor.  

  • Bill Number HD1712/SD1067 – to accelerate improvements in the local and regional Public Health System to address disparities in the delivery of Public Health
  • Bill Number HD1536/SD1002 – An act fostering Voting Opportunities, Trust, Equity and Security (The VOTES Act } 
  • Bill Number SD1499/HD2403 – An act promoting community immunity
  • Bill Number HD3269/SD415 – Provide criminal justice reform protections to all prisoners in segregated confinement
  • Bill Number SD400/HD142 – Establish care givers’ tax credit
  • Bill Number HD2656/SD546 – Establish Medicare for all in MA
  • Bill Number HD 3684/SD226 – Out of Hospital birth access and safety act 

Eye Opening MA Legislation by the Numbers
To understand how many bills are filed vs. how many pass, here’s some statistics to ponder. MassTrac reports 9,678 bills were filed in the last session, and 530 were passed and sent to the Governor. Of those bills, only 93 were considered “substantive,” and the rest of the 530 dealt with issues like home rule petitions, sick leave bank, individual retirement benefits or land taking. So about 5% of bills filed are actually passed, and about 1% of bills filed and passed are substantive bills. 

The LWVH Steering Committee Meetings
The LWVH Steering Committee meets regularly via zoom on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted. All members may attend and any member may request the zoom link, by sending an email to info@lwvharvard.orgYou can also check our website calendar anytime for the date and time at 

Our next Steering Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 10 at 7 p.m.  Please email to request the zoom link to the meeting.

Spring is Coming!
Jackie Normand and Meg Bagdonas
LWVH Co-Conveners