Making Democracy Work


What's action-worthy by the League

Issues of importance

1000 Attend June 30, 2018 Children's March

1000 Attend the Children's March!
  Children’s March, June 30, 2018

The League held voter registration at the Children’s March, June 30, 2018.
Standing: Gretchen Ericson, Carole Perrin, Susan Janson, Barb Verni-Lau, Diane Cushing. Sitting: Teresa Wilmot

Strong Neighborhoods Block Parties are
Voter Registration Opportunities!

Retiring League Treasurer, Martha Pippitt, Receives Coveted Mildred Berry Award

Retiring League Treasurer, Martha Pippitt, Receives Coveted Mildred Berry Award at Annual Meeting, June 2, 2018
Mildred Berry Award winner, Martha Pippitt, center, with Presidents Claire McIntyre and Chris Hiltrop, Secretary Jo Minor, Membership Chair Diane Cushing and Bonnie Cox, President of The League of Women Voters, Illinois. Congratulations, Martha!

Martha Pippitt received the Mildred Berry Award at the Annual Meeting June 2.

Equal Rights Amendment Passes in Illinois! 2 States to go!

Equal Rights Amendment Passes in Illinois!

On May 30, 2018 Illinois ratified the ERA.

In March 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the ERA. Now that Illinois has ratified the ERA, it has become the 37th state with the need for just one more ratifying state to reach the required 38 states.

For those of you who have Rep. Wallace as your representative, please thank her for her support.

WHY IT MATTERS: The Illinois Constitution has an equal rights clause: "The equal protection of the laws shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex by the State or its units of local government and school districts." (Article I, Section 18)

That clause does not apply to the U.S. government or to other states as the ERA would if it were part of the U.S. Constitution.

LWVUS has known that the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment equal protection clause may not be interpreted to apply regardless of sex. Therefore, LWVUS has consistently supported ratification since 1972 by its position: "The LWVUS and The LWVGR supports equal rights for all regardless of sex."

The Shameful Criminalization of the Mentally Ill

League Fundraiser a Financial and Consciousness-Raising Success!

Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Rockford City Administrator Jim Ryan, and Rockford Police Chief Patrick O'Shea at the League fundraiser: The Shameful Criminalization of Mental Illness, October 25, 2016.
Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Rockford City Administrator Jim Ryan, and Rockford Police Chief Patrick O'Shea at the League fundraiser: The Shameful Criminalization of Mental Illness, October 25, 2016.

October 25, 2016 the League hosted an important event for the Greater Rockford area. Cook County Sheriff and Chicago Mayoral candidate Tom Dart spoke on a subject close to his heart: The consequences for the mentally ill in the incarceration systems of Illinois. Please download the event Program Book to view our sponsors and speaker information. Soon there will be a link to our YouTube Channel with a video of the speech. Thank you to our sponsors, speakers and the 185+ attendees to our fundraiser.

The League Fundraiser received great coverage from the media. We appreciate the interest in Sheriff Dart's message concerning incarceration of the mentally ill.

WTVO-17 Eyewitness News

Rockford Register Star

WNIJ, Northern Public Radio

Rock River Times

American and Illinois Anti-Corruption Acts Info Session

Panelist speak on Anti-Corruption Legislation

American and Illinois Anti-Corruption Acts

On October 13th the LWVGR Campaign Finance Reform Committee, in cooperation with the YWCA, held an informational forum on the proposed Illinois Anti-Corruption Act. Panelists included Illinois Campaign for Political Reform Executive Director David Melton, Represent.Us Political Director Dan Krassner, and LWVIL Executive Director Mary Schaafsma. Rockford Register Star Editorial Page Editor Wally Haas moderated the forum. Approximately 45 people were in attendance.

Panelists discussed past attempts to limit political corruption in Illinois, efforts undertaken in other states, what an Illinois Anti-corruption Act would look like, and the pro and cons of this approach. The panelists fielded many questions from the audience and urged everyone to educate themselves on the issues involved and voice their concerns to their elected representatives.

Members of the panel, L to R Wally Haas, who moderated, Mary Schaafsma, Elizabeth Lindquist, Chair of the Election Campaign Reform Committee, David Melton, Dan Krassner

LWVGR Annual Meeting 2015

The League of Women Voters Greater Rockford held its annual meeting at Forest Hills Country Club on Saturday, June 13, 2015. The keynote speaker was Hon. Janet Holmgren.

Judge Janet Holmgren currently is the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile and Problem-solving Courts Divisions of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, which includes Winnebago and Boone Counties. Judge Holmgren's court assignment includes presiding over the Adult Drug Court, the Therapeutic Intervention Program (TIP) Mental Health Court, Veteran's Court, Family Drug Court, which is a program for substance abusing parents in abuse and neglect court, Youth Recovery Court, which is the only juvenile mental health court in Illinois, and all juvenile court proceedings in Boone County.

The League business meeting included the election of officers and committee reports were presented. Slated officers for 2015-2016 elected were: Claire McInytre, President, Christine Hilltrop, Vice President, Martha Pippitt, Treasurer, Jo Minor, Secretary.

Submitted by Diane Cushing

Judge Janet Holmgren was the speaker for the LWVGR Annual Meeting 2015

Teresa Hill and two guests

Vice President Christina Hiltrop and President Susan Janson

Jeanne Claeys presents Amanda Nichols with 2015 LWVGR Scholarship

Amanda Nichols Chosen as LWVGR Scholarship Recipient for 2015

Amanda Nichols

Amanda Nichols is an outstanding scholarship recipient. The Scholarship, formerly the Margaret Wyeth Scholarship, is for $500.00 and will be sent directly to Rock Valley College where Amanda intends to study nursing in preparation to be a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

Amanda is in the National Honor Society, holds a 4.1 G.P.A. from Auburn High School, is in the Creative and Performing Arts Program (CAPA), and a volunteer with Restore Habitat for the Humanity and Greenwich Art Fair.

Very active at her church, Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, she is also a Certified Nurse Assistant, with clinical hours at Rockford Memorial Hospital and Wesley Willows Nursing Home. Amanda also works on the serving staff at Rockford Country Club. Living with her grandparents, Amanda dedicates her success to the memory of her parents.

Amanda is the persistent, hard-working, intelligent young woman that exemplifies the perfect League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford Scholarship recipient.

The True State of the Illinois Budget and Financial Situation

Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Accountability presented the intricacies of the Illinois State Budget, June 9, 2015 at Rock Valley College

Mr. Martire presented a fact-based, data-filled look at the Illinois budget, cutting through the political posturing to show the true state of the finances and potential for the state of Illinois. It was well-attended with many very good questions from the audience.
A copy of his presentation in PDF form is included. Please feel free to peruse it.

Download Presentation Here

An Article V Convention: Amending the Illinois Constitution

An Article V Convention: A Viable Path Towards Amending the Constitution Forum Well Attended October 22

Assistant State's Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross moderated as Dr. Scott LaDeur, Political Science professor at Benedictine University and Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-83) debate the merits of an Article V convention of the states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the US Constitution to reverse the effects of the Citizens United decision at the Rockford Public Library East Branch Community Room.

Dr. Scott LaDeur, IL Rep Linda Chapa LaVia (Aurora), Marilyn Hite-Ross, Asst State's Attorney, Elizabeth Lindquist, Campaign Finance Reform Chair, Ann Dempsey, LWVGR President

Rockford League High School Voter Registration in State LWV Blog

This guest blog post was written by Susan Janson, vice president and Jeanne Claeys, voter services chair, of the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford. It ran in the Rockford Register Star.

Read it here.

Download your Election Guide here.

The Right to Vote and the Rockford Connection

Those at League Voting Program Feb.6.
L. to R. Jeanne Claeys, Marissa Liebling of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Amy Nyman as Suffragist and LWVGR founder Julia Lathrop, and Elsie Janson on Feb. 5 at the League's event, 'The Right to Vote and the Rockford Connection'. Elsie and Jeanne were honored for their years of work as voter registrars. Missing from the photo are speakers Dr. Catherine Forslund, Mayor Larry Morrisey, and Dr. Robert Head, President of Rockford University.

Concealed Carry Implementation in Illinois Forum

Illinois Concealed Carry Info Forum, Part 1
Illinois Concealed Carry Info Forum, Part 2
Illinois Concealed Carry Info Forum, Part 3
Illinois Concealed Carry Info Forum, Part 4
Illinois Concealed Carry Info Forum, Part 5

Illinois' Concealed Carry Law was explained thoroughly at this League forum.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford and the Rockford YWCA held an informational forum on Illinois' concealed gun carry law Monday, Nov. 18, at the Rockford YWCA , 4990 East State St. Rockford. The program was free and open to the public. It was well attended by many interested in hearing how concealed carry legislation is being implemented.

The program speakers were Joe Bruscato, Winnebago County State's Attorney; Mark Walsh, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and Paul Cain, Clinical Associate Professor of Law at the Juvenile Justice Clinic at the College of Law at Northern Illinois University. The moderator was Judge Dan Doyle.

Corrina Curry of the Rockford Register Star wrote of the forum in her blog

Illinois Graduated or Flat Income Tax?

Illinois Income Tax Forum, Part 1
Illinois Income Tax Forum, Part 2
Illinois Income Tax Forum, Part 3
Illinois Income Tax Forum, Part 4
Illinois Income Tax Forum, Part 5

Speakers at Illinois graduated tax forum September 30, 2013
Ralph Martire explains his research on the Illinois graduated income tax proposal.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford and the North Suburban Library District co-sponsored a debate on the need for tax reform in Illinois Monday, September 30, 2013. Dr. Bob Evans, professor of Political Science at Rockford University, discussed the difference between the current flat tax and the proposed graduated rate income tax, giving the audience a primer on different tax structures.

State Senator Dave Syverson took the con side of the discussion, explaining as he has said many times, that Illinois does not have a revenue problem but a spending problem. He believes the flat tax to be fair and that, if anything, should be reduced.

Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, argued for a graduated income tax as better meeting the criteria of a strong revenue system- fair (ensures that low and moderate income families do not pay more as a percentage of income than the wealthy), responsive (generates income from the growing part of the economy), stable ( provides a secure source of income during economic downturns), and is efficient (does not distort business decisions and consumer behavior). Mr. Martire stated that Illnois' flat tax system does not meet those criteria but that a graduated income tax would not only meet the defined criteria of a good revenue system but will, in the long term, help to solve Illinois' fiscal difficulties.

Senior WNIU reporter and League member, Sue Stephens, moderated.

There is currently legislation (Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 40 (SJRCA40) and, in the House, HJRCA33) that proposes to amend the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution. It provides that there may be one tax on the income of individuals and corporations, that this may be a fair tax where lower rates apply to lower income levels and higher rates apply to higher income levels.

Legislators must pass this legislation by May, 2014 in order for Illinois voters to have an opportunity to vote on the referendum in the Nov. 2014 elections. Support is building both in the General Assembly and in the state for this referendum.

The League of Women Voters' fiscal policy position in 'Where We Stand' supports a graduated income tax and is currently working with the A Better Illinois coalition to get it passed. For more information or to help, please contact with GRIT in the subject line.

Supreme Court Changes Enforcement of Voting Rights Act

June 25, 2013 The Supreme Court ruled on Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder Tuesday, striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

The court made the ruling by a vote of 5-4.

The court also upheld Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but it is unclear whether that section is inoperable without Section 4. The court left it to Congress to come up with a Section 4 replacement.

Click here to read the opinion on the case.

Press release from National League.