October’s biggest event for Voter Service was the City Council Candidate Forum held October 17 at Northside Middle School. Thirteen of the fifteen candidates were in attendance, and they answered questions on everything from how they will handle transparency in government to how they will deal with the potholes that plague neighborhood streets. The live broadcast and Facebook livestream/rebroadcast by WLBC and Steve Lindell helped make sure those who could not make it to the Forum were able to access the information from the candidates from home or at a later date.
In addition to the Forum, Voter Service also staffed a table at the NAACP sponsored Mayoral Candidate Forum on October 3 at the Church of the Living God, registered voters at the Activist Fair on the Ball State University campus October 11, and staffed a table at the October Lunchtime Opportunity Tables event at Muncie Central High School on October 22.
We staffed a table on October 22nd to introduce the students to the League of Women Voters, explaining how we began, what we do to defend our democracy, what we need help with right now, and inviting students to join us for only $5.00 thanks to the scholarship from the LWV of Indiana. Many students were receptive to the information, some appeared quite interested to join us, and a few took flyers home to their families.
If your club or group would like to know more about the LWV of Muncie/Delaware County please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a speaker or staffed table at your event.
The For The People Act is core to decades of League work. This democracy reform bill will give states the resources to ensure the voting rights of all citizens.
The bill was introduced in the Senate on March 28, 2019 and is now in the Senate Finance Committee. It could also go to the Judiciary Committee, the Rules Committee, and/or others before coming to the floor for a final vote.
The IndyStar examines the issue of toxic runoff into the White River. While the article focuses on the effects on water quality in the Indianapolis area, the problem is widespread and affects us all.
The Trump administration’s proposal to dramatically weaken the Endangered Species Act amounts to death by a thousand cuts. If the administration has its way, profit-seeking will eventually eclipse the need to protect at-risk species.
The Trump administration’s next attack on the Clean Water Act would keep your state from demanding that big polluters protect local waterways and drinking water sources. State governments and groups like the Sierra Club use Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to protect your local waterways.
As part of the global climate strike held on Friday, September 20, approximately 25 activists from the Muncie area gathered in front of the Delaware County Building at 4:00 pm. Ranging in age from under six months to over 70 years old, demonstrators drew attention to the need for governments worldwide to take measures to combat climate change.
Demonstrators were supplemented by Muncie schools when the Homecoming Parade marched down Walnut Street.
If we hope to survive climate change, we must insist that governments devise and implement comprehensive, wide-ranging plans that effectively tackle it, before it’s too late.
Get involved in protecting Indiana’s Natural Resources!
Saturday, November 16
IMMI Conference Center, Westfield, IN
From HEC’s website: “the largest annual gathering of environmentally-minded Hoosiers. It is the year’s best chance to learn about upcoming legislative issues, engage with environmental public policy experts, and network with environmental-minded Hoosiers and green-minded businesses from across the state.”
HEC’s Greening the Statehouse website (to learn more and register): https://www.hecweb.org/gts/
Wednesday, November 13, 7:00-8:00 pm
Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, IN
“Learn how Indiana has progressed, where it stands today, and how to make your daily life as sustainable as possible.”
Monroe County Public Library Events Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/monroe-county-public-library-indiana/environmental-sustainabiliity-in-indiana/407151913245640/
Tuesday, November 12, 5:00-6:00 pm
Muncie City Hall, Muncie, IN
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2470711999840385/
Friday, November 1, 9-10:00 am
(repeats monthly to May 1)
For more information, see the Environmental Resilience Institute Events website: https://events.iu.edu/eri/view/event/event_id/94368?utm_source=eri.iu.edu/events/index.html&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=framework&utm_term=standard&utm_content=2019-11-01-09-00-Climate%20Conversations
SB285 is intended to enable communities across Indiana to raise dedicated funds for mass transit. (Public transportation lowers demand for fossil fuels and reduces carbon emissions contributing to climate change.)
Summary of SB285 (LegiScan.com):
Regional transit expansion.
Allows counties to impose an additional local income tax rate to fund the operations of a public transportation corporation and the operations of a rural transportation assistance program if the: (1) voters of the county approve a local public question; and (2) fiscal body of the county adopts an ordinance to impose the additional tax rate.
Provides that the rate must be at least 0.1% but not more than 0.25%. Excludes from this provision any county that is eligible to hold a referendum on funding transportation projects under the central Indiana public transportation projects statute.
This legislation aims to impose, for the first time, air pollution limits on factory farms. It would also establish protective setbacks—a buffer zone between factory farms and nearby homes, public places, and environmentally-sensitive resources.
Summary of HB1378 (LegiScan.com):
Regulation of confined feeding operations.
Amends the law on confined feeding operations (CFOs), which include any confined feeding of at least 300 cattle, 600 swine or sheep, 30,000 fowl, or 500 horses.
Provides for the department of environmental management (IDEM) to issue CFO permits instead of “approvals.”
Provides that a person that owns a CFO, owns the livestock in a CFO, applies for a permit, permit renewal, or permit modification for a CFO, or is otherwise in direct or responsible charge of a CFO, is a “responsible party” with respect to the CFO and must disclose certain information.
Provides that a person may not start construction or operation of a CFO without obtaining a permit from IDEM and may not modify a CFO without obtaining a permit modification from IDEM.
Provides that the application for a permit or permit modification must be accompanied by: (1) plans and specifications prepared or certified by a professional engineer; (2) certain site-specific information; and (3) a site-specific air pollution control plan.
Requires IDEM to: (1) provide public access to a permit application through IDEM’s virtual file cabinet; (2) publish a notice requesting public comments on the application; (3) allow interested persons to submit written comments; and (4) hold a public hearing on the permit application upon written request.
Requires the commissioner of IDEM (commissioner) to deny an application for a permit or permit modification if the proposed activity would substantially endanger public health or the environment.
Authorizes IDEM to revoke a CFO permit if necessary to prevent or abate a substantial endangerment to public health or the environment.
Requires the environmental rules board (board) to adopt rules establishing: (1) limits on hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia emissions; and (2) requirements and prohibitions applying to new CFOs, CFOs proposed for expansion, and other existing CFOs.
Provides that the rules must prohibit a new or expanded CFO from being located within one mile of a residence unless the owner of the residence consents to a lesser setback or the commissioner determines that the CFO’s air pollution control plan will prevent the CFO from exceeding the limits on hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia emissions established by the rules of the board.
Makes technical corrections.
SB430 restores net metering, and HB1331 reduces burdens on potential solar panel owners who are part of homeowner associations.
Summary of SB430 (LegiScan.com):
Elimination of net metering phase out.
Eliminates provisions under which net metering (an arrangement under which an electric utility’s customer who has equipment for the production of electricity and who intermittently supplies electricity from that equipment to the electric utility is credited for the electricity that the customer supplies to the electric utility) would be partially ended by 2032 and completely ended by 2047.
Eliminates a limit on the aggregate amount of an electric utility’s net metering facility nameplate capacity that can be made available for customers’ participation in net metering.
Provides instead that the net metering facility nameplate capacity that an electric utility makes available for customers’ participation in net metering must be at least 3% of the electric utility’s most recent summer peak load.
Provides that, of the net metering facility nameplate capacity made available for customers’ participation in net metering, 30% must be reserved for participation by residential customers and not more than 5% must be reserved for participation by customers that install net metering facilities that use organic waste biomass.
Summary of HB1331 (LegiScan.com):
Provides that, subject to certain specified exceptions, a homeowners association may not: (1) prohibit the owner of a dwelling unit from installing a solar energy system; (2) impose unreasonable limitations on the owner’s ability to install or use a solar energy system; or (3) require the removal of a solar energy system that has been installed.
Provides, however, that a homeowners association may require: (1) compliance with screening requirements imposed by the homeowners association; and (2) preapproval of the location of a solar energy system and of the manner in which the solar energy system is installed.
Applies only to rules, covenants, declarations of restrictions, and other governing documents adopted or amended by a homeowners association after June 30, 2019.
Provides that if a party to a dispute involving a homeowners association requests mediation, mediation is mandatory.
Provides that if neither party requests mediation, or if mediation is unsuccessful, a claimant may begin legal proceedings. Requires a mediation to be conducted in compliance with the Indiana supreme court rules for alternative dispute resolution.
Makes corresponding amendments to the provisions regarding grievance resolutions involving condominium associations.
Since 2005, 300-400% increases in logging have hurt wildlife habitats and hiking trails, also resulting in further damage caused by the growth of invasive plants and the construction of new gravel roads. Management plans must be developed for our state forests that require the exemption of a minimum of 10% of forested land from logging activity. SB610 offers a plan to limit logging in Indiana state forests.
Summary of SB610 (LegiScan.com):
State forest commission and management plan.
Establishes a state forest commission. Specifies the membership of the commission. Requires the commission to meet in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and to issue a written report establishing a plan for the management of the state forests for the 100-year period beginning in 2022.
Provides that the commission’s plan must contain certain recommendations and must embody certain principles.
Requires the state forest commission to set forth in its report the subjects discussed and issues raised concerning which the general assembly may choose to pass legislation.
Requires the natural resources commission to adopt rules incorporating the state forest commission’s determination about the percentage of state forest land falling within each of the three “priority use” categories.
Requires the natural resources commission, every seven years, to conduct a review of the implementation of the state forest commission’s plan and to adopt rules to revise the plan, as appropriate.
Legislators to contact to voice your support for SB610:
Melanie Wright is a member of the committee and local legislator; Jean Leising is the committee chairman; and committee members Mike Crider, Susan Glick, Don Lehe, and J. D. Prescott are opposed to the proposed changes in logging, and they need to hear from us.
The Indiana General Assembly establishes a per-pupil basic tuition support amount for each budget year. Multiply that times the district’s number of students (ADM) on count day in the fall and spring, and it is the state-funded amount school districts receive for general classroom expenses, including teacher pay.
The complexity index is a component of school funding that allocates additional money to school districts based upon the number of disadvantaged students served.It is based on a district’s poverty level and other factors.
Some legislators are again asking why disadvantaged students need additional funding beyond the basic school formula.
Understand the issues and discuss them with people in your social circles.
These posts are taken from the newsletter of the LWV of Upper Mississippi River Region. We think our community will be interested in these informative articles and videos. Please follow the links for the full stories!
Dr. Erv Klaas told us about the impact of climate change on Iowa, especially focusing on the extreme rainfall and flooding that is occurring now. In this talk, Dr. Klaas links warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico with increased humidity and in turn more rainfall.
Dr. Jean Eells met with the LWV UMRR Board and guests, sharing her expansive knowledge of adult learning styles as she talked about soil health. Dr. Eells discussed the different ways that women and men respond to information, and how best to reach women with soil health messaging.
In this guest post, Matt Doll from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership looks at opportunities that exist for farmers in this time of changing climate. One big idea who’s time may be coming is Kernza, a perennial variety of wheat.
The Muncie–Delaware County community has two important reasons to celebrate this summer: first, the reversal of a decision that would have damaged public health and well-being, and second, the institution of a governmental safeguard that will help prevent similar threats in the future.
Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) sought and received City support for a facility installation at the site of the former Borg-Warner plant. While the project was presented as a positive development for Muncie, as a recycling project that would provide jobs, it would have also led to the release of hazardous environmental pollutants, contaminating the region with lead, mercury, dioxin, and dangerous particulates.
Over 600 local residents turned out to protest the project at the Muncie City Council meeting on August 5th. Also, citizens organized and attended meetings on the issue, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor, and contacted local and state legislators. In response to overwhelming community opposition, WSP’s plans to install the factory were withdrawn—a big win for area residents, whose lives will be healthier as a result.
But the win didn’t end there. Because residents demonstrated not only that the community is strongly engaged in issues of public health and environmental, but also that elected officials will be held accountable to their constituents for the decisions they make on our behalf, the City Council has instituted an environmental impact committee. This committee will be responsible for reviewing new proposed projects that might negatively affect air, soil, and water quality in the area. Its members are required to seek advice from professionals before making decisions that would affect environmental conditions.
Not only did Muncie and Delaware County citizens successfully overturn a decision that would have compromised our overall health and well-being for years to come, but we also demonstrated that “we, the people” do indeed have a powerful voice—that when we insist on being heard, we can help direct community development in ways that enhance our quality of life rather than jeopardize it.
For more information, follow these links to coverage by the StarPress:
More good news on the environmental front: American Electric Power Corporation has signed a legal agreement to implement increased pollution controls that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from its two Rockport power plants in Spencer, Indiana, by at least 58%. Furthermore, one of the two units is scheduled for complete retirement by December 31, 2028, which is expected to prevent the ejection of 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—the equivalent of removing 2 million cars from the road. In addition, the company will provide $3.5 million to fund projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and pollution reduction.
For more information, see the Sierra Club article at https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2019/07/american-electric-power-commits-retire-largest-coal-unit-beyond-coal-campaign.
The Ball State University Vietnam Moratorium Committee is presenting “Reunite, Remember, Rekindle,”
its 50th Anniversary Reunion and Conference, and the Public is Invited!
The events will honor the history of student activism at
Ball State during the Vietnam era, but just as importantly,
they are aimed at connecting with activists in current student movements.
will be held
at BSU’s Alumni Center Assembly Hall
on Thursday, October 10
from 6:00-10:30 pm.
The $40 fee includes choice of entreé
and a commemorativet-shirt,
with paid registration due by October 1.
on Friday, October 11,
from 9:00 am–5:30 pm
at Pittenger Student Center’s Cardinal Hall,
is free of charge and open to the public.
The Conference will present a full day of panels and speakers.
He is a veteran anti-war activist, journalist, author of 11 books, and continuing peace advocate.