2021 Annual Meeting Minutes

February 21, 2021
Zoom Meeting 10:06 AM

IN ATTENDANCE: Marge Holtz, President; Kathleen Shackle, Treasurer; Membership Chair, Donna Windle; Suzanne Sullivan, Secretary; Voter Services Chair, Joan Wallin; Communications Chair, Anne Barnett; Dave Arnold, Environmental Chair; Mark Songer, LWVFL Treasurer; Emily Sorkin, Kathryn Norris, Dawn Messing. A total of 26 in attendance for the business meeting including Cathy Bosworth, President of the Upper Keys League and Monica Skoko Rodriguez, President of the Miami-Dade County League.

President Marge Holtz called the meeting to order at 10:06 AM.

A Quorum was present.

The Agenda was accepted as submitted.

SECRETARY’S REPORT: Minutes of the 2020 Annual Meeting were accepted as submitted.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Submitted by Kathy Shackle, Treasurer
1. Submitted the Financial Report to Members as of 2/1/2021. The final report at the end of the Fiscal Year on March 31, 2021 will be forwarded to the Audit Committee for final review.
2. Treasurer Kathy Shackle presented the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget, beginning April 1, 2021, and ending March 31, 2022 for adoption.


⦁ President’s Report on State of the Lower Keys League of Women Voters
⦁ Our Mission governs our operations and activities:
⦁ The Lower Keys League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
⦁ We do not support candidates or political parties,
⦁ but we do support legislation and various issues
⦁ If we do take a position on an issue, it is through study and consensus. That process takes about 2 years.
⦁ Vote411 is a league project that provides personalized information to voters such as registration status, what’s on their ballot in your community, where to vote
⦁ Our members research and enter all that information specific to our communities into the League’s national Vote411 database. Our volunteers worked on that during the runup to the election.

⦁ Covid 19 led to a shutdown in mid-March and we all learned to use Zoom.
⦁ We also continued planning for an August 2020 celebration of the 20th Amendment;
When it became apparent that was impossible, Anne Barnett and her team threw themselves into creating a wonderful celebration of notable women leaders of all ages that is on our Lower Keys website.

⦁ The Census remained on our mind and we worked to collect more respondents as best we could during a Pandemic.
⦁ Surreptitiously hanging posters and flyers on laundry room bulletin boards, and urging members of Zoom exercise classes to complete the census.
⦁ We worked at the SOS drive-through food bank at City Hall and registered people using multiple cell phones as hot-spots.
⦁ Jill Keeler, Kathy Shackle, Dave Arnold and Liz Levy were big helpers here as were others.

⦁ We were part of a statewide postcard campaign to encourage returning felons to vote
Our members hand addressed several hundred postcards.

⦁ There are several months each year that have five Tuesdays. We use those Tuesdays to conduct events focused on the community or a specific element of community interest.

⦁ The 5th Tuesday in June we welcomed the Honorable Judge Bonnie Helms of Florida’s 16th Judicial Circuit – and member of the Lower Keys League. She presented a fascinating talk about her court and her work as a jurist.

⦁ The 5th Tuesday in September we welcomed Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin;
She spoke about the upcoming election and how her office operates.
She also explained how votes are actually tabulated.

⦁ In late September, Voter Services Chair Joan Wallin spoke on Monroe County local access television.
She explained the City of Key West referenda appearing on the November ballot among other ballot items. The presentation remained available on-demand throughout the election period.

⦁ November: We learned about a solar cooperative entitled Solar United Neighbors.
The League has long been involved in supporting and promoting solar co-ops and helping clear the way legislatively for communities to incorporate solar power into solving energy needs.
Our local solar co-op has met their member goals and is currently working on installing solar power in our community.
And there is a waiting list for new members.
We are proud of the League’s support of this important initiative.

⦁ Home elevation and flood map analysis was the topic for a December Civics Lesson.

⦁ Many thanks to Caroline Horn our Program Chair who was heavily involved in all these events.
She has done a fabulous job for us these past two years, and we deeply miss having her on the board.
We worked hard to stay involved and help keep the community up to date on issues that affect our all citizens.

Report from LWVFL – Mark Songer
⦁ There are two important events on the state league calendar that you should consider participating in.  
⦁ On Thursday April 8th, the State League will hold Lobby Day with the Florida Lgislature. This year the capitol building is quiet and almost everything is being done by virtual meetings. The State League will be sponsoring issue focused Zoom meetings in the days leading up to Lobby Day. We are also planning on a virtual meeting with Capital Alliance Group for tips on how to effectively convey your message to our elected officials and their staff. Watch your email for more details. The Lower Keys should cooperate with the Upper Keys and Miami-Dade Leagues to set appointments with our representative Jim Mooney and Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez.  We will be inviting Lower Keys members who register for Lobby Day to participate in these meetings.

⦁ Friday June 4th and Saturday June 5th are the dates for Florida League Convention. We will approve program issues for the coming two years, a budget for the fiscal year, elect officers and board members. We plan to follow the model that U.S. League used last year to have a virtual convention using Zoom. Break out meetings will be scheduled during the days leading up to convention and these will be sequenced so that you don’t have to choose between concurrent meetings like we do during an in-person convention.You will be receiving an email invitatation as we get closer and everyone will be able to attend without the hassle of driving, paying for meals and a hotel room.

⦁ Voter Services Chair Joan Wallin was our Unsung Hero for the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys Celebration.

Voter Service report for 2021 Annual Meeting-Joan Wallin
⦁ 2020 was all about the Vote!
⦁ Focus for last year has been on the 2020 elections.
⦁ All voter registration efforts were online due to the pandemic
⦁ Vote 411.org was our focus. (Thanks Joy Brown Taylor and our team)
⦁ Participated in Constitution Day with College of the Florida Keys.
⦁ Made Florida constitutional amendments presentation using Zoom and Monroe County television.
⦁ Pleased to report we passed Amendment 2 raising minimum wage and creating a system to continue to raise it as cost of living goes up.
⦁ Defeated amendment 4 requiring that proposed constitutional amendments must pass in two general elections. It would make passing amendments much more difficult.

⦁ 2021 is all about being vigilant!
⦁ In September we will get the census report. We assume Florida will gain Congressional seats. Redistricting follows.
⦁ Our goal is a competitive two-party system where candidates need to earn the voters support and not assume winning the election by virtue of their district being safe.
Our current focus is on this legislative session.
⦁ We don’t have the bandwidth nor finances to pursue every issue.  Local leagues were surveyed for priorities and four were selected plus sub points.  We understand there are many other important issues. I won’t try to go over all the sub points only a couple highlights  

1. Government – Election Law
⦁ While the League seeks to expand voter registration convenience, current proposed legislation is trying to make it more complicated.
⦁ We support home rule for counties and municipalities and oppose any preemptive legislation to counter home rule.  Currently the legislature is considering bills to give the State sole control over Florida ports which would take away Key West’s ability to regulate cruise ships. They are also considering restricting local control over law enforcement budgets.

2. Natural Resources
⦁ We continue support for Florida Forever funding.
⦁ We support banning fracking.
⦁ We promote all forms of alternative energy and electric vehicles.

3. Health Care
⦁ We support expanding access and affordability of Medicaid.

4. Education
⦁ We support adequate public school funding and oppose expanding public funding for private school vouchers without accountability.
⦁ We oppose arming teachers and other school personnel in our schools.

⦁ How you can stay in touch and be involved.
⦁ You are receiving the Weekly Capitol Report from our lobby group: Capitol Alliance Group.
⦁ Watch for ACTION ALERTS! We need you to watch for the State League’s action alerts and follow through with timely contacts to legislators.
⦁ For example: Action Alerts: February 15th you received an alert about SB90. It needed your immediate attention because a committee vote was coming. It pertained to election law. Under current law, a mail ballot request is valid through two election cycles, or up to four years. This bill, as written, would require voters to ask for a mail ballot over and over, every calendar year, year after year. This will undoubtedly confuse the current electorate if changed, especially following a major election. It will increase the cost and work loads for our 67 Supervisor of Elections and their staff. 
⦁ One day’s notice was given. So be careful not to delete state League messages. When requested, please contactthe appropriate legislators.

Motion: Change Article II. Section 3
⦁ We have a proposed change to Lower Keys League Bylaws –
The League of Women Voters of the United States added a DEI statement to the National bylaws, and although they stipulated local leagues did not have to follow their example because the National bylaws would supersede local bylaws, we thought it would be a good idea to also include the policy in our bylaws.
⦁ DEI stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
We are including a statement in our bylaws stipulating our commitment to the National League’s policy;
and are attaching the National League DEI policy to the Lower Keys bylaws for clarity. This is an addition to our bylaws and resulted in an additional sub-paragraph under Policies. Nothing else changes
⦁ Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.
⦁ The board reviews our bylaws annually, and this addition was recommended to and approved by the board.
⦁ Many organizations and businesses are incorporating DEI policies and statements in their official documents.
⦁ This is an addition to our bylaws and resulted in an additional sub-paragraph under Policies.
⦁ Nothing else changes.
⦁ In addition to a very detailed list, the addition states
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.


⦁ Donna Windle is the Membership Chair and was the 2021 Nomination Committee Chair. She was also League’s 2020 Unsung Hero.
⦁ She is departing the board this year because she is termed out as Membership Chair.
Donna presented the Slate of Nominees standing for Election.

President Marge Holtz has accepted the nomination for a second 2-year term
Secretary Sue Sullivan has accepted the nomination for a second 2-year term
Dawn Messing has accepted the nomination for for a 2-year Director position
Kathryn Norris has taccepted the nomination for for a 2-year Director position
Emily Sorkin has taccepted the nomination for for a 2-year Director position

Completing ongoing terms:
Treasurer Kathy Shackle has one year left in her term
Director Joan Wallin has one year left in her term
Director Anne Barnett has one year left in her term
Director Dave Arnold has one year left in his term

Chair Kathryn Norris
Member: Mary Sheerin
Toby Armour

Business meeting adjourned at 10:40 AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Suzanne Sullivan, Secretary

Speaker at 11:00 AM Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez, representing Florida’s 26th Congressional District