Author Archives: Sondra Cosgrove

About Sondra Cosgrove

President League of Women Voters of Nevada

LWVSN Annual Planning Meeting 2019

At the League of Women Voters of Southern Nevada annual planning meeting on August 3, 2019, we discussed the intersection between mental health care, education policy, addressing homelessness, and criminal justice reform.   We arrived at the need to approach solutions through this intersection based on the work of the LWVSN Behavioral and Mental Health Committee. 

Over the past two years, the committee has been studying how to improve Nevada’s behavioral and mental health systems. Through this investigation we’ve heard from many community groups and state agency representatives and we’ve concluded: We cannot fully address the vast deficiencies in Nevada’s mental and behavioral health systems in isolation from other vitally important social issues.

In response to these and other findings, the League of Women Voters of Nevada adopted an Advocacy During the Interim program at the July 20th state convention to fully engage our members and community partners in advocacy before the next legislative session.  But because most Nevadans are unaware that legislative committees meet during the interim to hear testimony, review reports and data, and work on recommendations for the next legislative session, we will be putting out a guide for engagement.  

The interim committee structure includes all the components needed to help us craft our legislative agenda for the 2021 session, including posted agenda, public comment opportunities, and in-person, live-streaming, and archived recordings as viewing options.

If you are interested in joining in our interim advocacy efforts, please review the Advocacy During the Interim description on our blog and use the embedded Google Form to sign-up https://lwvnvblog.org/2019/07/24/lwvn-launches-advocacy-during-the-interim/

Our planning meeting presenters included attorney and ACLU board member Lisa Rasmussen, who represents clients with mental health needs.  Because Nevada suffers from a severe shortage of mental health providers and treatment options, avenues for early interventions and preventative care are virtually absent, so Lisa spoke to us about how afflicted individuals have been pulled into the criminal justice system.  It was heartbreaking to hear about our fellow Nevadans being tracked into the criminal justice system; if any of these community members were being tracked into prison due to a cancer diagnosis we’d be wildly outraged over the inhumanity.  Read more about the ACLU Smart Justice program here: https://www.aclu.org/issues/smart-justice

We also heard from Judge Michael Villani and Public Defender Erika Ballou from the Eighth Judicial District Court Jury Improvement Committee who provided information about the importance of jury service.  Every accused community member deserves a jury of their peers, so we must answer our jury summons and help our friends and neighbors understand the purpose of the constitutional right to have a jury hear and judge evidence presented to show guilt of a crime. Read more here: http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/district-court-chief-judge-issues-administrative-order-that-establishes-jury-services-committee-to-examine-jury-process/

And finally, we heard from Emily Paulsen from the Nevada Homeless Alliance about the organization’s efforts to address homelessness as a constellation of compounding issues.  The Alliance understands that mental illness can be both a cause and symptom of homelessness, and similarly, addiction can be both a cause and symptom of mental illness.  Consequently, if we hope to address homelessness, we must simultaneously address mental health care, addiction, job training, and the availability of affordable housing.  Read more here: https://nevadahomelessalliance.org/

 

Working together to make things better.

LWVN Launches: Advocacy During the Interim

The League of Women Voters of Nevada is launching an Advocacy During the Interim program to engage more Nevadans in the important work that happens between the legislative sessions.  There will be training materials provided for each type of volunteer activity.  

If you’d like to join with us in this effort, please log into our volunteer form to sign up for one or more volunteer opportunities: https://forms.gle/fzGEKZ3A3rDQY3ad6   

The volunteer opportunities include:

  1. Review new laws passed during the 2019 legislative session. We will need many volunteers due to the high number of bills passed and signed.  You will be able to sign up for blocks of 5 bills to:
    1. Summarize each law’s intended outcomes (what it will do)
    2. Indicate which agency or agencies will implement each law (such as Health and Human Services)
    3. Indicate the amount of money, if any, allocated for implementation of each law
    4. Summarize amendments to each law that changed bill language and/or funding
    5. Provide any other information to assist us in understanding & evaluating each law
  2. Track new laws
    1. Track the implementation of a law through public reports and/or meetings
    2. Note any issues with implementation
  3. Review bills that failed to pass in the 2019 legislative session
    1. Summarize the law’s intended outcomes (what would it have done)
    2. Indicate which agency or agencies would have implemented the law
    3. Indicate the amount of money, if any, was allocated for implementation
    4. Provide any other information to assist us in understanding why the bill failed
      1. This could include watching the bill’s recorded legislative hearings
      2. This could include speaking to the bill’s sponsor
    5. Evaluate whether the bill should be resubmitted in 2021:
      1. Does it need to be fixed in anyway?
      2. Does it need a funding source?
  4. Track a standing interim committee
    1. Attend live committee meetings or watch the live-stream of the meeting
    2. Watch recorded committee meetings
    3. Submit an annotated meeting Agenda with notes to clarify committee work or presentations
    4. Provide updates on the committee’s Bill Draft Requests, if any
  5. Track an interim legislative study committee
    1. Attend live committee meetings or watch the live-stream of the meeting
    2. Watch recorded committee meetings
    3. Submit an annotated meeting Agenda with notes to clarify committee work or presentations
    4. Provide updates on the committee’s Bill Draft Requests, if any
  6. Track a standing interim non-legislative committee
    1. Attend live committee meetings or watch the live-stream of the meeting
    2. Watch recorded committee meetings
    3. Submit an annotated meeting Agenda with notes to clarify committee work or presentation
  7. Track a non-legislative organization’s meeting that may influence 2021 legislative bills, such as The Children’s Wellness Coalition
    1. Attend live committee meetings or watch the live-stream of the meeting
    2. Watch recorded committee meetings
    3. Submit an annotated meeting Agenda with notes to clarify committee work or presentations
  8. Track county, city, or state agency’s meetings that will influence 2021 legislative budgets or bills
    1. Attend live committee meetings or watch the live-stream of the meeting
    2. Watch recorded committee meetings
    3. Submit an annotated meeting Agenda with notes to clarify committee work or presentations
  9. Track the state budget through one of these entities:
    1. Attend the Interim Finance meetings or watch over livestream or a recording
      1. Submit annotated meeting Agenda
      2. Submit any notes to clarify meeting presentations or discussions
    2. Attend the Economic Forum meetings or watch over livestream or a recording
      1. Submit annotated meeting Agenda
      2. Submit any notes to clarify meeting presentations or discussions
    3. Attend meetings of the Governor’s budget office or watch over livestream or a recording
      1. Submit annotated meeting Agenda
      2. Submit any notes to clarify meeting presentations or discussions

Right To Vote Restored Automatically Today, July 1, 2019

Please share this news widely!

RESTORATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS

The Office of the Attorney General started an initiative to provide information to guide formerly incarcerated persons through the process of restoring their civil rights, as granted by the Nevada Legislature.

In 2019, Nevada lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 431, a new law that gives back the right to vote to Nevadans who were convicted of a crime but are not currently incarcerated. This law is effective July 1, 2019. The Office of the Attorney General started an initiative to communicate, demonstrate, and provide information to guide formerly incarcerated persons through the process of restoring their civil rights, as granted by the Nevada Legislature.

YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE:

***IF YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY INCARCERATED, YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE IS IMMEDIATELY RESTORED EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2019.***

If you have been convicted of a crime and are not currently incarcerated, you may vote in Nevada if you are:
  1. a U.S. citizen
  2. will be 18 or older on or by the next election and
  3. have lived in Nevada
    1. a. for at least 30 days in your county and
    2. b. at least 10 days in your electoral district before the next election.

People who are at least 17 and meet the other criteria may preregister to vote.

Read more here:

http://ag.nv.gov/Hot_Topics/Restoration_of_Civil_Rights/?fbclid=IwAR0Qjq6CFZi1swwjWt5rTxmwwkGWtq-qsqzMI-_mdem1QHM1UqfO9h66zq4#VotingRights

LWVN Legislative Tracking for the Week of May 28, 2019

The League of Women Voters of Nevada is tracking the following bills the week of May 28, 2019.  If you are interested in how we select bills for tracking, please see the LWV US “Impact on Issues 2018-2020,” which details the League’s approved issues and positions.  https://www.lwv.org/impact-issues

We are a non-partisan organization that does not promote nor work directly with either political party or candidates, but we do advocate for issues that align with our mission.  Issues and positions are vetted, studied, and approved through a rigorous consensus process.  You can learn more about League here: https://www.lwv.org/  

You can view legislative hearings online and read the content of bills through the legislature’s website: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Calendar/A/

For a full review of the Nevada legislative website’s tools and as well as tips for tracking bills and providing testimony, the League of Women Voters of Nevada offers a 2019 Legislative Engagement and Advocacy Guide. https://lwvnvblog.org/civics/

If you would like to send comments on bills, you can find email addresses for Assembly members here:

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Assembly/

Email addresses for Senate members are here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Senate/

You can also use the Legislative Polling tool to indicate support or opposition on bills here:

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/80th2019/

The 2019 legislative session ends on June 3rd at midnight, so hearings will be scheduled on an as-needed basis.  The two committees with the most work will be Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance.  These two committees decide how much money will be allocated to each budget as well as to bills that have fiscal notes. 

Floor sessions could be long this week as remaining bills receive their final votes.

Watch the Calendar of Meetings page for hearing updates: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Calendar/A/