Spring Update

Spring has been a very busy time for League members in Grafton. Candidates’ Night went well in April with an interesting debate by the candidates for School Committee. The audience questions were very timely. In May Grafton held its Spring Town Meeting as well as elections for local offices. Town meeting was very well attended since two town facilities are in need of updating or replacement and the voters needed to approve this funding. Both the Library Renovation Project and the DPW’s new facility passed with the required two-thirds vote. The League’s citizen petition to reduce the plastic bags in our waste stream with an article limiting single-use plastic bags, passed with the needed majority vote. On the May Town election ballot the money needed for the Library renovation and the DPW facility was on the ballot. Both articles were approved by the Voters.

Our Annual Meeting will be held on Monday, June 19, 2017 at the home of Peter and Shirley Williams. Besides electing officers, we will be discussing merging with Shrewsbury.

The LWV of Shrewsbury currently has a very small membership but has still been able to work on several important issues. However, they feel they would be a stronger league if they work with Grafton and we take care of some of the administrative functions that need more oversight. After our business meeting we will enjoy a catered dinner. Our guest speaker is Margaret Hurley, a Grafton resident and Chief, Central Massachusetts Regional Office of the Office of the Attorney General. She is also Director of the Municipal Law Unit and will tell us more about her work reviewing the By-laws passed by communities. She will also speak about the Marijuana legislation that is in effect now in our state and how communities are dealing with it.

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Hope to see you all at the Annual Meeting June 19!

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April Update

Our League members have been busy the past several months working on a Warrant Article to Ban Single-use Plastic Bags. We were invited to discuss the article with the Board of Selectmen in March and had good feedback from them. This article will be on the Town Warrant for the May 8 Town Meeting. Our committee (Marj Albright, Anne Baskowski and Anne Marie Foley) can use more help getting the word out about this Warrant Article. Please let me know if you would like to help.

Separate from the League, many league members have been helping the Gas Pipeline group which will have a Resolution at Town meeting to prevent the pipeline from being built in Grafton. The Board of Selectmen are supporting this action.

Candidates’ Night is coming up soon. There is one contest for School Committee.We will invite all candidates to this event on April 23, 7 pm at the Municipal Center. Grafton Town Meeting is May 8 and there will be many important issues that Grafton residents will decide. The Library Renovation will be up for a vote as well as a new DPW facility. We will vote on the Town Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 as usual. Please encourage your friends to come.

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Update February 2017

Our Annual March Pot-luck will be held on Sunday, March 12. Our speaker will be Carol Strauss Sotiropoulos. Carol has been working with the local group that has been taking action to keep us all informed about the proposed gas pipeline that would be built in this part of the state. Carol plans to bring several committee members with her to tell us more about the drawbacks of having another pipeline built in Grafton.  This pipeline is not one that would bring gas for home heating to residents. We will discuss what are the best options for clean energy in New England.

A small group of members is researching the possibility of proposing a Warrant Article at May town meeting to ban certain types of plastic bags from being used by retail stores to bag items. About 40 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed this type of bylaw in recent years. Most of the laws passed allow only certain types of plastic bags to be used by stores.  The preference is for re-usuable bags: cloth, paper, plastic or a combination of materials. The current plastic bags used in local stores do not de-compose and are causing environmental problems. We will need support from other groups in Grafton that are concerned about the environment in order to make this viable for Grafton.

 

 

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Update November 2016

This Election year was quite an amazing one that I think we will remember for quite awhile. For the LWV it has been a good year to show our strengths and leadership.

In the next few months we will be working on the Massachusetts League’s study on Charter Schools. The state League has many education stands we can lobby on, but charter schools is not one of them. Here is the link to the materials on the LWVMA web site: lwvma.org/member-resources/charter-school-study/.  When you see the link for the Consensus Questions – it looks long at 11 pages- but there is one question per page with an explanation regarding what “Yes “means and what “No” means.

Another issue we may want to work on is a Warrant article for Town Meeting to ban the use of plastic bags that cannot be recycled. Shrewsbury passed this article in May 2016. I have a copy of their article and some of their other materials. Other towns have passed this law, so businesses have started to change the type of bags used for purchases in communities in Massachusetts.

In March we plan to have our Annual Pot luck and in April we will plan our Candidates Night for those running for local offices.

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Voter Registration Deadline for November Election is October 19!

Election Day is coming! if you aren’t registered, you can’t vote!

Have a minute to spare? Watch our video about the power of the vote – then take control by registering to vote at www.VOTE411.org/register!


Register to Vote for the General Election by October 19, 2016

 

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First Presidential Election? Time to Register to VOTE!

Teens who will be 18 by Nov 8 may register to vote at school on Tuesday October 11 2018 — someone from the League of Women Voters will be available in the GHS Commons to assist with completing the voter registration form at all 3 lunches. Your voice matters! Register yourself & encourage others to register to vote.

 

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October Town Meeting Warrant Posted

The Semi-Annual Town Meeting is Monday, October 17 at 7:30pm at Grafton High School. The warrant has been posted online for review.

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Voter Registration Day is September 27!

voter-reg-day-logoWe’re joining thousands of organizations for National Voter Registration Day on 9/27. While supporters of the day come from many different places and backgrounds, we all agree that voting is something to celebrate!

In Grafton MA, you can register at the Town Clerk’s Office between 8:30am and 7:00pm, or DIY via mail-in form by stopping in at the Grafton Public Library between 10am-9:00pm.

This election is too important to sit out. YOUR VOTE MATTERS! Not sure if you are registered to vote? Check online now!

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Update Fall 2016: Ballot Questions and Early Voting

Residents of Massachusetts should receive a mailing from the Secretary of State’s Office with information about the Ballot Questions – The Red Book.  However, in the past every resident does not seem to receive it.  Below is information from the LWVMA regarding each of the Questions.  Our local board is meeting soon and we hope to have a forum with presenters on each side of several of the issues.

LWVMA Positions on Ballot Questions

There will be four questions on the statewide ballot Nov. 8. LWVMA is taking a stand on only one of them, opposing the additional slot parlor.  The League does not have positions on the issues in the other three ballot questions, on charter school expansion, farm animal containment practices and legalization of marijuana.

Our decisions on these questions are based on policy positions taken after study of issues at the state and national levels and consensus by League members.

Here are the questions, in the order they will appear on the ballot, and the League’s stand on each.

 Question 1: Expanded Gaming Initiative: 

This proposed law would allow the state Gaming Commission to issue one additional category 2 license, which would permit operation of a gaming establishment with no table games and not more than 1,250 slot machines.  The League has a position in opposition to legalized casino gambling and urges a NO vote on this question.

 Question 2: Increase Access to Public Charter Schools

This proposed law would allow the state to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year.  Approvals under this law could expand statewide charter school enrollment by up to 1% of the total statewide public school enrollment each year.  New charters and enrollment expansions would be exempt from existing limits on the number of charter schools, the number of students enrolled in them, and the amount of local school districts’ spending allocated to them. The League does not have a position on charter schools and therefore does not take a stand on this question.

 Question 3: Farm Animal Containment

This proposed law would prohibit any farm from confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.  The proposed law would prohibit the sale in Massachusetts of whole eggs or uncooked veal or pork if the hen, pig, or calf was confined in a manner prohibited by the proposed law.  The LWVUS agriculture position does not apply to this question. LWVMA does not take a stand on this question.

 Question 4: Marijuana Legalization

 The proposed law would permit the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by persons age 21 and older and would remove criminal penalties for such activities.  It would provide for the regulation of commerce in marijuana, marijuana accessories, and marijuana products and for the taxation of proceeds from sales of these items. The League does not have a position on legalization of marijuana and therefore does not take a stand on this question.

 The Grafton Town Clerk’s Office is planning Early Voting from October 24 – November 4, 2016.  Voting will take place in the Gym at the Municipal Center from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesday voting will be from 8:30 am – 7:00 pm.  One Saturday session will be held on October 29 from 8:30 am -12 noon.

 

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Gazebo on Grafton Common
Upcoming Events

Annual Meeting, Monday, June 19, 2017. 6:30 PM at the home of Shirley and Peter Williams. Guest Speaker:
Margaret Hurley, Chief Central Mass Regional Office, Director Municipal Law Unit, Office of the Attorney General

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