The Voter
A Newsletter of the League of Women Voters of Washington County, Arkansas
In This Issue
Quick Links
LWVWC Facebook
National LWV
League Events
State Convention
Click here to send your RSVP for the Convention on April 18. Register!

Women's History
Register here for the Women's History Banquet March 30th.

Did You Know?
The national League of Women Voters turns 95 this year.  
Happy Birthday LWV!
Volume 62, Number 2                      March / April 2015
From the President:
February was quite a month for the League of Women Voters of  Washington County.  Hearing from Elizabeth Young on the impact of the  President's immigration advancements and viewing the film on  imprisonment of undocumented immigrants were two educational evenings  in partnership with AAUW and FUPC.  

Unfortunately, the meeting with   our legislators was shut down by a day of snow.  However, it is  evident that League members have heeded the call when calls for action   went out to make contacts with our legislators who are in session in   Little Rock.  We are grateful for the partnership with the JEMI Task  Force and Citizens First Congress whose actions have advanced our   support for a 24 hour crisis intervention center for the mentally ill  in Northwest Arkansas.  

While we do not have a member meeting in  March, we look forward to April 18 and the LWV of Arkansas state  convention.  In addition to catching up with our League members from  other places in Arkansas, the panel which will address tenant and landlord law in Arkansas should be informative and eye-opening.  See  you there!  
Women's History Banquet
Women in History 2015 
Awards and Banquet Plans

March is Women's History Month, and the Women in History Banquet Committee (WHBC) has been meeting to plan the Women in History banquet and awards for 2015. Last year's banquet was considered very successful by the committee with an attendance of over 100.
Congratulations to the 2015 Washington County Women In History Recipients (in alphabetical order):
  • Kathy Grisham
  • Allyn Lord
  • Rita Miller
  • Margarita Solorzano
This year's banquet will be held on Monday, March 30 2015 at The Chancellor Hotel in downtown Fayetteville. The event will begin at 5:30 PM. Dinner will begin at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $25.00 per person again this year and March 23 will be the last official day to buy tickets as we will need a fairly accurate estimate of attendance prior to the banquet. Special meals (for example, vegetarian) will need to be requested in advance and a phone number will be on the ticket for this purpose.

Last year's banquet was very enjoyable and inspiring and we hope to see everyone there again this year. To buy or reserve tickets and/or questions about the awards or banquet please contact Lynne Seymour: lwseymour@gmail.com or phone at 479-571-8127.

Please visit and like the new WHBC Facebook page at
  https://www.facebook.com/washcowhmor you may access the new WHBC e-mail address: washcowhm@gmail.com.

LWV Arkansas State Convention

32nd STATE CONVENTION

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Waterman Hall

University of Arkansas Law School

The League of Women Voters of Arkansas has failed to generate independent activities but maintains the minimum requirements to allow local groups to remain active in Pulaski and Washington Counties and Fort Smith.  The unfortunate result is missed opportunities in addressing state wide issues and working to develop new local Leagues.  It is important for members across the state to meet at least once a year to get a sense of what others are doing to fulfill the LWV mission.  To provide this opportunity, Washington County will host the 32nd LWVAR Convention in Fayetteville at the University of Arkansas Law School.  Together, we will consider a new voter services program, leadership involvement at the state level, and possible incentive grants to support local Leagues in membership and program development. 

 

Anita Lock

Attending the convention will be special guest, Anita Lock, member of the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS).  Ms. Loch is relatively new having only joined the League in 2012 and served in several leadership roles in Wisconsin.  She was elected to the national board at the 2014 LWVUS Convention.

 

A morning business session will meet in Room 342, Waterman Hall of the Law School.  All members are urged to attend and participate in making decisions to strengthen state and local LWV activity. Lunch will be provided to those who have pre-registered.  Each local League should select voting delegates based on membership: Fort Smith - 2, Pulaski County - 3, and Washington County - 4.

 

A program will take place from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the upstairs court room of the Law School on the topic, Landlord-Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in Arkansas Law.  A panel representing all stakeholders will be moderated by Professor Robert B. Leflar.  The Women's Student Law Association will help host the activity.  While one-third of Arkansans rent housing, Arkansas landlord-tenant law has failed to address criticism and a call for reform. The topic is well suited to be a League study so that action could be taken if future legislative reforms are introduced.

 

Out of town guests are invited to stay over for a social gathering Saturday evening and an outing to Crystal Bridges on Sunday.

 

Click Here to Register Online for the 32nd LWVAR Convention:

 

Have questions?  

Email Joyce Hale - joycehale43@gmail.com 

or call 527-2777.  

 

RSVP DEADLINE IS APRIL 13th to assure adequate food and room accommodations.                        

 

Update on Health Care in Arkansas

J. P. Peters

 

The State's Private Option, which provides premium assistance to low income eligible individuals to purchase insurance coverage in the Marketplace, will come to an end effective December 31, 2016, as a result of the passage of SB96.  Some of the major components of the legislation call for:

  1. The creation of the Arkansas Health Reform Act of 2015
  2. Creates the Arkansas Health Reform Legislation Task Force
  3. The transformation of the Arkansas Medicaid program
  4. The termination of the Arkansas Health Care Independence Program effective December 31, 2016
  5. Ends eligibility for Medicaid for this group unless subsequent legislative action is taken.

 

The Arkansas Health Reform Legislative Task Force will consist of 16 members appointed from the House and Senate with the Surgeon General serving as a nonvoting member. The Task Force is charged with recommending an alternative healthcare coverage model and legislative framework. As far as the traditional Medicaid program, they will be recommending options to modernize and limit the size of the program, identifying funding mechanisms while seeking to limit the Federal government's role in administering the program.  Task Force will be reviewing the Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative and recommend continuation, termination, suspension or other actions the task force deems appropriate to the Governor. The Payment Improvement Initiative, implemented during the Beebe administration, by most accounts has been very successful in addressing reimbursement methodologies for Medicaid providers. Other important function of the Task Force will be to recommend procedures to optimize & streamline legislative review and approval process for State Plan Amendments, waivers, and other Medicaid rules.

 

The first meeting of the Task Force is to take place 30 days from the effective date of the Act. The first written report, addressing the activities, findings and recommendations, is due on or before December 31, 2015.  A final report is due on or before December 30, 2016. The Task Force will expire the next day - December 31, 2016.

 

It is important to keep in mind that any adjustments or modifications to the State's Medicaid program and/or the Private Option - whether it involves State Plan Amendments or waivers, will require approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) before they can be implemented.  CMS traditionally allows states to be as flexible as possible with their programs, while ensuring compliance with Federal law.

 

To learn more about this bill, check our Website at www.lwvwc.org  

Riding the Legislative Roller Coaster  

Joyce Hale

 

  

With the legislative session in full swing supporters of Judicial Equality for Mental Illness (JEMI) have been on an exciting roller coaster ride.  The dream of establishing a crisis center to divert persons having a mental health emergency from being incarcerated has taken its first steps. An early strategy was organized with the help of the Citizen's First Congress to contact legislators in the Senate Judiciary Committee where the bill would begin.  Sponsors Senator Jon Woods and Representative David Whitaker along with Co-Sponsor Senator Uvalde Lindsey saw the need for funding as the first requirement.  A small attachment to a drug court fee increase allowed access for mental health services to be one of several uses. Unfortunately, the bill not only lacked assurance about money being available but there was no reference to a community crisis center. 

 

Just as the disappointment in seeing the limitations of SB148 hit bottom, word came that Governor Hutchinson's prison reform package would include the bill's mental health provision.  A flood of calls to the Governor's office was needed showing support to assure that it stayed in place while revisions were going on. 

 

Having passed the Senate and gone to the House the Governor's prison reform package seems to be on a clear path for passage.  Questions remain as to how much funding will ultimately be available for a mental health crisis center.  Details will be worked out through rules established by the Arkansas Department of Behavioral Health Services.

 

Immigration Changes Provide No Real Answers


Joyce Hale

Returning to update the ongoing problems with undocumented immigrants, Elizabeth Young, immigration attorney for the University of Arkansas, discussed President Obama's recent executive actions.  She also showed the documentary, No Sanctuary.  Meeting at the United First Presbyterian Church the audience saw the plight of refugee families being housed in private prisons and the conflict that this has created for communities demonstrating opposing views.


League of Women Voters of Washington County |  lwvarwc@gmail.com | http://www.lwvarwc.org



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