The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
For all of us who have advocated so passionately in favor of Insure Tennessee, it has been a difficult few weeks. The special session that Governor Bill Haslam convened in order to get legislative approval for Insure Tennessee ended almost as soon as it began. The state Senate Health and Welfare Committee of 11 members created especially for the session by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey voted it down.
Perhaps most disturbing, two of the seven senators who halted approval of Insure Tennessee, have made public statements explaining their rationale. These statements include serious and fundamental misunderstandings of the proposed program. But the fight for affordable health care for Tennesseans is not over. Bills posted this past week give new opportunities to continue the discussion in the legislature. It is the League's job to help both legislators and their constituents get the information they need to understand what Insure Tennessee would do--and equally important--what it would not do. See information about Insure Tennessee at the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee at http://www.coalitionforahealthytennessee.com/ and in this issue's articles by Rashonda Lewis and Barbara Gay.
Health care, however, is not the League's only priority. Numerous bills have been filed at the state legislature, which need to be energetically addressed as part of LWVTN's advocacy priorities for 2015. As always, League members need to be well-informed themselves before communicating with legislators. So please join us for our annual Education Day on the Hill, co-sponsored with the United Ways of Tennessee, this coming Wednesday, February 25 (date changed because of ice storm!). We will be meeting in the Senate Chamber at 8:30 am for a briefing. At its completion, LWVN members will be distributing information about our 2015 Legislative Priorities to all of the lawmaker's offices. In addition, our next First Friday program, March 6, will provide extensive information about a number of educational bills that will be debated during this session.
Meanwhile, our Events Committee is busy planning a commemorative celebration for Sunday, May 17 recognizing the women's suffrage marches begun a century ago in Centennial Park. Do you have a mother, an aunt, or a grandmother who attended in 1915? We would love to hear about your relatives if they were part of this historical event.
Debby Gould, President League of Women Voters of Nashville
LWVN is gratified that Governor Bill Haslam announced on December 15 his administration's support for "Insure Tennessee"--a uniquely Tennessee plan "to provide health care coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) without creating new taxes for Tennesseans." In addition, he said that he has received verbal approval from the federal government for his Insure Tennessee Plan. See both a one-page description of the plan HERE and the slides used during the governor's announcement HERE.
Consistent Voter Services
League members can impact the election process by volunteering to help educate the citizens of the community and provide opportunities for voter registration. Voter education and voter registration opportunities are continuous but peak during election years. Get involved by:
League members can impact public policy by educating the public about issues important to good government and community well-being, and advocating for League positions on key issues. Because we live in the state capital, Nashville League members work on both local and state issues. We also answer calls to action from the LWVUS when issues are pending in Congress. Whatever your interests, you can get involved!
Specifically, the League advocates for access to health care; education to prepare students for responsible citizenry and the economy of the future; good stewardship of our natural resources; election processes that are fair and secure; and ethics and transparency in government. League members interested in issue advocacy can participate by: