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The Metro St. Louis invites you to attend the 64th state convention in St. Louis May 3 and 4. We’ll be meeting in the Hawthorne Room at the Drury Inn at 8700 Eager Road in Brentwood. Make a reservation here to receive the Drury’s group rate of $139 plus tax. Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 (group number 2351722).
In honor of the League’s centennial in 2019, the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis has planned a Suffragist Tour of Bellefontaine Cemetery on Thursday, May 2. Guide Mary Ellen Vander Linden will give a presentation dressed as Edna Fischel Gellhorn, the first president of the Missouri League. Other suffragists buried at this cemetery in North County include Virginia Minor (the first president of Missouri’s Woman Suffragette Association), Rebecca Naylor Hazard (an abolitionist and part of the Women’s Congress) and Phoebe Couzins (an electrifying speaker who traveled across the country with Susan B. Anthony to promote women’s suffrage). There will be two one-hour tours as well as refreshments by the chapel. Cost is $20. Go to lwvstl.org to register.
The state board will meet Friday morning, with the convention on Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday. Saturday’s keynote speaker is Amber McReynolds, a national leader in effective and innovative practices that increases the security, convenience and efficiency of elections. The former director of elections for Denver, she is now the Executive Director for the National Vote at Home Institute and serves as senior strategic adviser on various election-focused projects across the country.
The convention will be held at the Brentwood Drury Inn. Call 314-968-3704 and mention group 2351722 by April 1 for rate of $139 (plus tax) for room with a king bed or two queen beds. Free parking, free hot breakfast, and happy hour from 5:30 to 7 with hot food and cold drinks. Watch for more information soon!
Laura Champion from Lafayette High School in the Rockwood School District just won LWVMO’s statewide poster contest to promote youth voter registration. The League will send a copy of Champion’s poster to every high school in Missouri before the April 2019 local elections.
Metro St. Louis League Co-presidents Nancy Miller and Louise Wilkerson surprised Champion with a $500 prize.
“This vibrant poster catches your attention,” Miller says. “Laura is a very talented young artist and I hope this poster will inspire more interest in voting among high school students.”
“The colors make it more exciting and enthusiastic, which is my stance on getting people to vote,” Champion said. “I’m passionate about having people’s voices heard.”
Miller noted that overall voter turn-out of almost 60 percent in November was unusually high for a mid-term election. An early estimate shows 31 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 nationwide voted in 2018, but that would be an improvement over 20 percent in 2014.
State President Kathleen Boswell said, “We hope this poster will encourage more young people to register to vote as soon as they are eligible, which in Missouri is six months before their 18th birthday.”
The finalists in the competition included students from Kansas City, Sedalia, Springfield and Vandalia.
Amendment 1 was approved with 62 percent of the vote on Nov. 6, winning a majority in every state senate district. The League is reaching out to Governor Mike Parson and legislators, asking them to respect the people of Missouri and not undermine this effort to clean up Missouri politics.
After careful study, LWVMO endorsed the constitutional amendment in 2017. Using grants from the LWVUS Education Fund and the Election Reformers Network, LWVMO advocated for Amendment 1 and its changes to how legislative district maps would be drawn after each census.
“The League of Women Voters of Missouri played a crucial role in promoting the anti-gerrymandering provisions of Amendment 1,” said Clean Missouri Communications Director Benjamin Singer. “Thanks in big part to the League, Missouri will have more fair and competitive maps that protect minority representation and follow city and county lines when possible. Thank you, League of Women Voters of Missouri.”
LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell was encouraged by the vote. “Amendment 1 will clean up state politics by increasing fairness, integrity and transparency in government.”
Amendment 1 includes strong language ensuring racial fairness in redistricting. Besides improves the system for drawing fair maps, Amendment 1 bans most lobbyist gifts to legislators, lowers contribution limits for state house and senate races, requires state government to be more transparent, and makes other needed reforms. For more information and the complete text of the Constitutional amendment, go to www.cleanmissouri.org.
Voters on Nov. 6 approved Amendment 1 to clean up Missouri politics, Amendment 2 on medical marijuana, Amendment 4 on Bingo and Prop B to raise the minimum wage.
The other two medical marijuana initiatives failed and so did Proposition D to raise the motor fuels tax.
The state minimum wage will go up 75 cents on Jan. 1 and then increase by 85 cents an hour each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2023. The current state minimum wage is $7.85 an hour. Prop B accounts for changes in the Consumer Price Index after 2023 and penalizes employers who do not pay their workers minimum wage. Minimum pay would also increase for restaurant staff and other exempt workers (51 percent of the minimum wage in 2019 rising to 60 percent in 2024). Government employers and businesses with annual gross income less than $500,000 are not required to pay the state minimum wage.
Click here for a fact sheet on Prop B.