Making Democracy Work

timely league issues

past local LWV programs

gun violence,redistricting, schools,great lakes

position on gun violence


Since 1990 our organization has fought for the sensible use of firearms, and against the increasing use of violent weapons turned against fellow citizens--often children--within our communities.

During the coming weeks you will find many opportunities to take a stand for gun violence prevention in your schools, houses of worship, and town-halls. The League of Women Voters of Michigan encourages you to join that debate. Raise your voice. Advance sensible arguments that protect our schools. Advocate for change.

LWVMI opposes bills that allow those with concealed pistol licenses with additional training to carry in certain gun-free zones, SBs 584, 585 and 585, that are assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. LWVUS continues to support legislation to strengthen reporting to the National Background Check Database.

The League's Position Statement of Position on Gun Control, as Adopted by 1990 Convention and amended by the 1994 and 1998 Conventions: The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens. The League supports strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of these weapons by private citizens. The League supports regulating firearms for consumer safety. The League supports licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education and annual license renewal. The license fee should be adequate to bear the cost of education and verification. The League supports a ban on "Saturday night specials," enforcement of strict penalties for the improper possession of and crimes committed with handguns and assault weapons, and allocation of resources to better regulate and monitor gun dealers.

Democracy trembles without trust. Join fellow Leaguers--back sensible gun reform--to keep Democracy strong.

Judy Karandjeff, LWV Michigan President

Redistricting in Michigan

The question "Should politicians choose their Voters?" was the discussed in January 2017 at a meeting on redistricting and gerrymandering in Michigan. Midland LWV President Katherine Redwine led a discussion around a power point presentation developed by the Michigan State League of Women Voters.

To view the complete LWVMI position, including the power point presentation and press releases, go to

All states redraw their maps for the U.S. Congressional and state legislative districts following every national census. Each state chooses its own way to do this. In 1999 Michigan chose to let the Michigan legislature and governor draw the maps. The problem with allowing the legislature/Governor to decide the districts is that the party in power at the time of the census draws the districts to favor their own party's elections. This has resulted in the vast majority of districts in Michigan becoming non-competitive. It discourages opposition candidates from running. Feeling there is not really a choice, voters do not get involved and some stay home on Election Day. This then can also pave the way for fringe candidates with extreme viewpoints and small groups of passionate supporters to get elected.

The LWV believes a strong democracy needs strong political parties. We support the ballot proposal by the group Voters Not Politicians which would amend the state constitution to form an independent citizens redistrict commission, with four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents.

Central Park Elementary School

Thank you very much to Michael Sharrow, Brigid Hockmeyer, Brian Brutyn and other staff members for the joint LWV and AAUW tour of Central Park Elementary School on Oct 6. This mostly new school (there are parts of the old Central Intermediate still there) has been designed and built as a STEM learning center. The design is flexible, with grade level pods that allow classrooms to be open or closed to a central maker space. The building is open design - leaving open the infrastructure for students to see and learn from.

Technology is in use everywhere. Teachers wear microphones to be heard by the very last student in the row. There are projectors and screens for every area - teachers and students can easily project any content from their classroom computers or Chromebooks. Every student has a Chromebook with a keyboard and a touch screen. Keyboarding is still a required (and necessary) skill.

Furniture is designed to be flexible and child-friendly. Puzzle tables are designed to be reconfigured as necessary for different group sizes. Wobble stools allow movement - no more sitting completely still!

This school is using the Project Lead the Way a STEM-based curriculum. Sharrow hopes to expand this to all of the elementary schools. The extras have not been left behind - there is art, music, gym, world languages. The school also consolidates all of the other services - social worker, psychologist, health, etc. There are also special education classrooms.

Great Lakes Challenges

Our meeting at the Nature Center September 19 focused on clean water in the Great Lakes area.

The recently finalized Clean Water Rule is expected to provide $339 million and up to $572 million in annual benefits to the public, Suzanne Dixon, Natural Resources Chair for League of Women Voters of Michigan told Midlanders. LWV members have been working since the 1960s on these conservation efforts.

Protections were restored to 551 miles of streams that feed Michigan's drinking water and massive wetlands providing flood protection. Some 79 percent of Americans want to let the EPA implement the rules.

Dixon said Enbridge and the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board are meeting for the next 6 months to determine pipeline recommendations. Divers have recently found large gaps in protective coating exposing bare metal underwater pipes. For information on Michigan Water, go to Also: