Making Democracy Work


Date & Time        Place        Description
Thursday, April 20, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Whitewater City Hall
Council Chambers
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190
An Epidemic: Opioids. Missed the program? Watch the replay on Vimeo.

The U.S. Surgeon General recently sent a call out to health practitioners and public health leaders asking for help in addressing what he describes as "an urgent health crisis facing America" -- the prescription opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death, with more Americans dying every year from overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes. More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses.

Walworth County is not immune. As is the rest of the country, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with dramatic increases in the number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths from prescription medications and heroin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, crime lab analysis from Walworth County involving heroin increased 193% from 2009 to 2013. From 2009-2012, Walworth County had consistent heroin and other drug related deaths, where heroin related deaths comprised of approximately 16% of all accidental deaths. In 2013, heroin related deaths jumped to more than 50% and in 2015, nearly 90% of all drug related deaths were opiate related.

Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have started to devote some serious resources to this issue. In 2016, Governor Scott Walker signed a series of bills as part of the Heroin Opioid Prevent and Education (HOPE) agenda, aimed at stifling heroin and prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin.

Late last year, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act which will provide $1 billion over the next two years to help rural communities deal with substance abuse.

On Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., the League of Women Voters Whitewater will host a program on the issues facing our city and county regarding the opioid crisis at the City Hall Council Chambers in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Katie Behl, Treatment Court Coordinator for Walworth County, and a representative from the Walworth County District Attorney's Office will discuss the opioid epidemic in Walworth County and what we can do in our own homes, and community, to help. The program is free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Common Council Chambers
City Hall
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190

(262) 473-0500
All Votes Are Not Created Equal: How Rules Shape Election Outcomes. The electoral college is a topic that comes up for detailed examination every four years. It then recedes into the background, unless it played a role in determining the President.

There are some people whose great-grandparents were annoyed by the fact that Benjamin Harrison received fewer votes than Grover Cleveland (who was running for re-election) but received the mantle of office from the electoral college. When some of us were young, a hot topic for debate was the abolition of the electoral college. When elections are close or hotly contested, the role of the electoral college regains some of its fascination.

The result of the last presidential election put the electoral college front and center. In fact, two of the last five elections resulted in the popular vote winner NOT winning the presidency. The debate over the electoral college may have been dormant for a while, the but the twenty-first century has forced us to revisit some of the most fundamental questions about what democracy should look like. Those who were unhappy with results blame it on the college. Those who are pleased with results pay tribute to the sagacity of having such an institution. It is usually the case that the winners find no need for change, no matter how outraged they may have been the last time they lost with the same system.

Professor Eric Loepp of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin--Whitewater will be addressing the history of the electoral college, its effects on elections past, and its current status. Professor Loepp spoke to the League in the fall in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election when he speculated on what the Trump presidency might mean for the country. His remarks helped us prepare for the first few weeks of the new administration, although it would have been difficult to anticipate everything that has taken place. As many feel especially chagrined as the result of last November's election and the electoral college's role in the outcome, we look forward to hearing what Professor Loepp has to say about whether the system is likely to stand up to another couple of centuries of complaints.

Saturday, February 18, 2017
10 a.m.
Fairhaven - Fellowship Hall
435 W. Starin Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
League Policies & Program Studies Discussion. Please join us for our February membership meeting at Fairhaven's Fellowship Hall.

Perhaps you've heard or even made comments about the nature of the League of Women Voters, which holds well-researched positions on many of the current topics of discussion: immigration, healthcare, poverty, homelessness, the environment, clean water, and so much more.

None of our policies are based on any one political party's position. We are a NON-partisan organization, which means that we don't take sides ... rather we base our positions on well researched information and what will be best for the common good. We will be discussing the various non-partisan policies in order to revise our own local policy, and we need your expertise and ideas to help us do this. Come and help us decide what our policy needs to look like. YOU have a voice in the matter!

Also, in preparation for the State League's program planning for 2017-2018, we will be offering suggestions on how we might best research and facilitate policies related to the whole area of "poverty." We need your help in searching out various resources on this topic. We look forward to hearing your words of wisdom! Don't miss this opportunity to have a great discussion and get to know your fellow League members and friends.

Thursday, January 19, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Whitewater City Council Chambers
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190

(262) 473-0500
SCREENING: MILWAUKEE 53206 - A COMMUNITY SERVES TIME. Please join us on Thursday, January 19 at 7 p.m. in the Whitewater City Council Chambers when we'll have a rare opportunity to learn about our criminal justice system from some of the people whose lives are directly affected by incarceration.

MILWAUKEE 53206 is a documentary that had its World Premier at the Milwaukee Film Festival in October, 2016. According to the film, the U.S. has the most prisoners of any nation in the world both in raw numbers and by percentage of the population. These numbers are further compounded within Milwaukee's mostly African-American 53206 zip code, where 62% of adult men have spent time in prison, making it the most incarcerated zip code in the nation.

Milwaukee 53206 tells the story of how a community, families and prisoners are affected by mass incarceration. Among the goals of the film is the need to raise awareness of all those affected and to find effective ways to build a safety net of support for children and families of those incarcerated while promoting the de-stigmatization of those who have been incarcerated.

The film is an hour long and will be followed by a panel discussion to further help participants to absorb and understand the effect of mass incarceration on a community. The panel includes:

Antwanette Bounds, UW-W Student

Dr. Ozalle Toms, UW-W Asst. Professor, Dept. of Special Education

Dr. Yeongmin Kim, UW-W Asst. Professor, Dept. of Social Work

Lisa Otterbacher, Chief of Police, City of Whitewater

Don't miss this special opportunity for thought provoking discussion on an important topic.

The presentation of this documentary was made possible by the generous gifts of League members and donations from citizens of the community of Whitewater.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
7 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, Whitewater Making Democracy Work For All. After the elections it is time to take stock of the ramifications of the vote. Please join us as we hear from Dr. Eric Loepp, Assistant Professor, American Politics from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater on "what's next?" The program is free and open to the public.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
To locate your polling place, visit Election Day.