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April 2023 LWVBC Newsletter

Published on 4/20/2023


The Brown County Voter

April 2023 

The League of Women Voters of Brown County is a nonpartisan political organization 

that encourages informed and active participation in government.

The League works to increase understanding of major public policy issues through education and advocacy. Membership is open to all regardless of gender.

We never support or oppose any political party or candidate.

Educate • Advocate • Empower • Reform

Just a Note

By Shari Frank, LWVBC President

Ahhhh, spring.  Trees budding, flowers popping, days getting longer and warmer – feel the new energy!  Lots of positive thoughts come to mind like rebirth, renewal, forgive the past, build on it and create a better future.  Deep breath.  Ahhhh.

Soon we’ll see the fruits of the seeds being planted at the state level.  As we near the end of the Indiana State Legislative session this month, there are some wins and losses.  Not everything is yet finalized.  There are still battles going on about how much tax money should go to charter schools, and other important issues regarding health, public education, pre-K, child care, welfare, natural resources, and well, just about everything that impacts our daily lives.  I have spoken up for what I believe is the best for our community and state, and I hope the LWVBC updates have helped you do the same.  If you want to take time to contact legislators again, now’s the time while they are still figuring out budget details.  Indiana Capital Chronicle does a great job of summarizing the information.  Winners and losers in each budget proposal - Indiana Capital Chronicle”

I started with the thought of spring because it brings peacefulness and hope.  I’m ending with that too because it is this mindfulness that keeps us working toward the future we want to see.  Together, we can make a difference to help voters vote, to generate the conditions we need for flowers, communities and children to blossom and thrive.  Happy spring. 


Virginia Bluebells - a great way to provide nectar to local pollinators in the early spring.

Legislative Updates 2023 – A Recap

Submitted by LWVBC Secretary Pam Raider

The primary purpose of the League of Women Voters has always been informing the public on issues of the day - local, state, and national.  In the past, our local Brown County League invited our State Representatives and State Senator to come and speak to the public during the legislative session.  It was held in the Salmon Room and was always well attended.  Our legislators came to speak to us not only to inform us of pending legislation and important issues affecting our state, but also to hear our concerns.

Covid19 restrictions and the divisiveness of the two-party system have sadly put an end to this practice.  Fortunately, new technology has made a semblance of this possible again.  Last year we partnered with Monroe County League to bring our Representatives and Senators to the public by Zoom.  This year during the longer budget session, the forum expanded and four sessions were held.

The divisiveness in politics has hampered citizens from meeting with and hearing from their elected officials.  Despite being invited to each forum, some Legislators, including both Brown County’s Senator Eric Koch and Representative Dave Hall, have declined to do so.  (Note: Brown County’s former representative was Chris May, before redistricting moved us from District 65 to District 62).  

That said, I would like to say that today (Saturday, April 15) I finished viewing the fourth legislative Zoom session with the two participating Legislators, Representative Matt Pierce and Senator Shelli Yoder.  As with previous “Legislative Update” sessions held in January, February, and March, I came away being really impressed with what a great idea and precedent we are setting with these educational town hall forums.  With the Zoom technology from the privacy of our own homes we can hear firsthand legislators’ explanations of what is going on in the statehouse.  Not only that, but there is also plenty of time for participants on the Zoom call to ask questions.  

We heard today about the major bills moving through in various sectors: education, environmental, health and economics which will affect all of us.  We also are being educated about the process of governance in Indiana.  For instance, today I learned that when a committee wants to pass a bill on to the floor of either chamber, if a particular committee member won’t vote for it because they don’t agree with the bill – they can be summarily dismissed from the committee and someone else who will support it can be summarily appointed.  This seems especially problematic in a heavily gerrymandered, supermajority state legislature and helps explain how legislation that does not have constituent support is passed.

As a voter, I am so grateful to Representative Matt Pierce and Senator Shelli Yoder who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to speak with their constituents, and who appreciate hearing constituent views.  I hope our Brown County Representatives show such regard for us in the future.  

A big thank you to both our Brown County League and the Bloomington/Monroe County League and to the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and Brown County Chamber of Commerce for putting this together and giving us all access to such important information.  And to all of you who have not yet taken advantage of this wonderful opportunity to stay informed on legislation that will affect you – I hope you will get on board next year since the legislative session for this year will end with the month’s end.  Today’s program was recorded by CATS TV.  You can access those recordings here:  For information on the current bills check


SB486 Passes 63-36 in the House

Source: Indiana Capital Chronicle 4/18/2023

“Indiana lawmakers are one step closer to advancing a contentious bill to the governor’s desk that has been decried by the state’s teachers unions as “unnecessary” and “union-busting.” 

The House voted 63-36 Monday — with seven GOP legislators opposed — to send the proposal back to the opposite chamber for final approval. The bill barely passed the Senate earlier this session after facing bipartisan opposition. 

“Educators and union leaders maintain that Senate Bill 486 would “silence teachers” by stripping their rights to discuss concerns over student learning with school administrators.

“Specifically, the bill would no longer require school administrators to discuss topics like class sizes, curriculum and student discipline with teachers and their union.” Read the complete article here.


League Annual Meeting May 8

People as Pollinators: Growing Community Awareness

Please join us at 6:00 pm on Monday, May 8, 2023 at The Seasons Conference Center for the 2023 Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Brown County

• The Keynote speaker will be Brown County Council President Gary Huett 
• Information on pollinator gardens will be available during the meeting

• Pick up some milkweed seed balls and learn more about pollinators

This year’s Dorothy Stewart Scholarship winner and the first-place Janet Kramer Essay Contest winners are invited to join us.

We will hold a very brief (5-10 minutes) business meeting after dinner by way of a Consent Agenda 

Please register in advance for this dinner and business meeting

Registrations will be accepted until Friday, May 5, 12:00 pm. The cost is $25.00 per person for dinner. 

Your choice of three entree options:

Fried chicken dinner with two pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, a vegetable side dish, fried biscuits & apple butter

Vegetable lasagna with a vegetable side dish, fried biscuits & apple butter

Gluten-free option of a grilled chicken breast, side salad and vegetable side dish. Potato side dish optional.

All entrees come with a dessert of fruit cobbler

We look forward to seeing you May 8!


LWVBC Board Activity

  • The minutes of the March 13, 2023, meeting were passed.
  • This year’s annual meeting is planned for Monday, May 8, at The Seasons Conference Center. Please view the article in this newsletter for more information.
  • This year’s 4-H Fair is set for June 12-17.League members will be contacted soon to volunteer a few hours to help with our booth. 
  • The Board is planning a Community Conversation on pollinator gardens for Saturday, July 22. We will provide details once planning is finalized.
  • President Shari Frank briefed the board on a letter she sent to Senator Koch and Representative Hall, thanking them for meeting with her and with Pam Raider during the League Statehouse Day.As our annual meeting is scheduled on May 8th, the day we typically hold our LWVBC monthly meeting, so we will not hold a zoom meeting that night.  Our normally scheduled June 12th LWVBC meeting conflicts with the Brown County Fair schedule.  We will reschedule a new meeting date as it gets closer. 

Join the Conversation! Be the Change! Brown County PACEs Initiative

Submitted by LWVBC Board Member Melissa Rittenhouse

Decades of research makes clear that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are common and increase the risk for negative health outcomes.  ACEs are highly predictive of Americans’ worst health and social problems and are thought to represent our leading public health problem.  The good news, however, is that what is predictable is preventable.  

Today, we know more about the connection between positive childhood experiences (PCEs) and favorable social and health outcomes. The science of resilience also reveals that certain factors can help us overcome the negative impacts of ACEs. 

The numbers of people affected by ACEs and the broad health impacts mean that no community can provide enough funding for systems or services to adequately respond to the resulting problems. Broad based public education will be the major driver of any positive change. There are many communities throughout the US where people have begun to understand how ACEs have affected their lives and those of their neighbors and have been empowered to become change agents for prevention, for resilience, and for individual and community healing. 

We have a collective responsibility to prevent ACEs in our community and to create the personal and community supports that will promote PCEs and help individuals heal from early adversity.  Understanding the powerfully predictive nature of childhood experiences in order to propel us toward this collective responsibility is a goal of the Brown County PACEs (Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences) and depends upon us all.  

Attend one of these free public education events:

Brown County Public Library

Thurs., May 4, 2pm—3:30 pm in Meeting Room B 

Weds., May 10, 4pm—5:30 pm in Meeting Room C

Thurs., May 18, 5:30 pm—7 pm in Meeting Room C

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Sandy Washburn

Phone: 812-345-2596 



Report of LWVBC League Day Participation 

Submitted by LWVBC President Shari Frank

Every year, the state League holds “League Day” to bring local leagues together at the Indianapolis Statehouse to discuss issues and encourage League members to meet with their local legislators. Remember that crazy snow storm in January?  That’s when it was originally to be but was wisely rescheduled to March 22nd.   

LWVBC’s Pam Raider and Shari Frank attended League Day on March 22.  It’s held in the State Library which is a beautiful building.  Coming from Brown County, It’s always a little crazy to find our way around.  Fortunately, it was a beautiful day as we wound our way several blocks from the parking garage to the State Library.  During lunch, we split into groups organized by topic to discuss the latest legislative actions from our LWVIN advocates.

The Statehouse is also an impressive structure.  It feels significant and important.  Except we enter through the cavernous ‘basement’ corridors, going through security similar to air travel (but we get to keep our shoes on).  Then we take the elevator up to where the state’s business is carried out.   

At the Statehouse this day, there was a vocal group of Hoosiers expressing concerns about HB1608. They were outside the Senate Chamber where it was being heard and the public were testifying.  HB1608 - Education Matters is the bill that bans discussion about human sexuality, and opponents said it would effectively ban discussion or acknowledgement of LGBTQ people in schools, among other issues.

Our appointment with Senator Koch was scheduled after his last meeting of the day.  While we waited, we went to the offices of Representative Dave Hall, who represents Brown County in the 62nd District.  We hadn’t been successful scheduling an appointment, so we hoped for an impromptu meeting.  In the House of Representatives offices, two receptionists were very helpful in our quest.  We appreciated their assistance and enjoyed their company so much, we snapped a picture with them (see below). 

Happily, we caught up with Representative Hall for a hallway meeting.  We thanked him for his efforts to work on behalf of clean water and discussed some pending legislation.  Representative Hall said he and Senator Koch have been talking about scheduling some kind of town hall in Brown County after the Legislative Session is complete.  We said we’d support this however we can. 

Our Brown County Senator, Eric Koch, and his legislative assistant Alexa Walden, kept their appointment with us as scheduled after his last committee meeting of the day.  He reiterated that he and Representative Hall are planning to have a town hall in Brown County, perhaps this summer.  We said we look forward to it and offered to help support a town hall however we can.  


Shari Frank and Pam Raider with Senator Eric Koch in the middle

Receptionists 2023

House of Representatives Receptionists 

Bea White and Pat Bails 

with LWVBC Pam Raider in the middle

Notes From March 20 LWVBC DEI Meeting
Submitted by Sunny Leerkamp, LWVBC Co-Vice President and DEI Committee Chair

On March 20th the LWVBC DEICommitteemet to discuss Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. Shari Frank and I were the only ones in attendance, likely due to the NCAA tournament conflicting with our meeting time. ;-) 

This history of the annihilation of the indigenous Native Americans in the late 1800’s is thorough and graphic. It is a very difficult read. In the first chapter there is a quote from Columbus upon his first meeting of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, describing them as follows: “Their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.” He then goes on to describe how they are essentially ripe for exploitation. From the massacre at Sand Creek to the deception and final massacre at Wounded Knee, the Native Americans were constantly trying to understand the Whites and make peace with them, only to suffer betrayal, starvation, and efforts to erase them and their culture. Through a program of forcibly removing their children to boarding schools and giving them Christian names and only allowing them to speak English, the Whites sought to achieve total assimilation of those that they did not annihilate. 

One bright light in the story was the first Native American Commissioner of Indian Affairs, a man named Donehogawa, Keeper of the Western Door of the Long House of the Iroquois, English name Ely Parker. From a young age he decided that he would voluntarily attend one of the boarding schools to learn English so the Whites would not make fun of him. He went on to become a lawyer (but of course could not find a Bar that would admit him to practice) and later trained as an engineer. Fate brought him together with Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War and they developed a friendship and respect. When Grant was elected President, he decided that a Native American might be better suited to head up the Office of Indiana Affairs and help resolve many of the problems between Natives and Whites. This proved to be an insightful decision and the new Commissioner enacted many reforms to counteract the vast corruption within the system. The progress was short lived when political bosses became disenchanted with Parker’s reforms as they interfered with taking over Native lands and resources. Parker was out after approximately two years and things went back to their old corrupt ways. 

The irony of the history of the interactions between the Whites and the Native Americans over the years portrayed in this book, is that the Natives were repeatedly making overtures to peace and fair treatment for their people, in spite of being lied to, manipulated and treated as less than human beings repeatedly. The Indians realized they could never win against the Americans with their numbers and sophisticated weapons, but just asked to be treated fairly and allowed to live according to their respective cultural traditions. But the Whites could not allow that. Geronimo said it best: 

I was living peacefully with my family, having plenty to eat, sleeping well, taking care of my people, and perfectly contented. I don’t know where those bad stories first came from. There we were doing well and my people well. I hadn’t killed a horse or a man, American or Indian. I don’t know what was the matter with the people in charge of us. They knew this to be so, and yet they said I was a bad man and the worst man there; but what had I done? I was living peacefully there with my family under the shade of the trees, doing just what General Crook had told me I must do and trying to follow his advice. I want to know now who it was ordered me to be arrested. I was praying to the light and to the darkness, to God and to sun, to let me live quietly there with my family. I don’t know what the reason was that people should speak badly of me. Very often there are stories put in the newspapers that I am to be hanged. I don’t want that anymore. When a man tries to do right, such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers. There are very few of my men left now. They have done some bad things but I want them all rubbed out now and let us never speak of them again. There are very few of us left. 

Goyathlay (Geronimo) 


This book reminds us that we must honor the memories and culture of the people who called the Americas home long before the white man. 

On March 23rd I attended a virtual meeting involving the LWVBMC and LWV Palo Alto, CA DEI groups. This meeting arose out of my regular attendance at LWVBMC DEI meetings. Bloomington-Monroe County had connected with Palo Alto through a Sibling Cities USA Civil Discourse series involving both Leagues having participated in a Living Room Conversations program. The two decided to have a follow up meeting to discuss each League’s approach to DEI and trying to enhance the impact of the program. Both Leagues admitted to having small attendance at DEI meetings. There was a discussion and encouragement to attend courses at  Both Leagues wish to promote education and invite diversity into their audience. Both Leagues discussed the value in collaboration with other groups, as opposed to membership drives. A model such as Living Room Conversations is seen to have the potential to bring people together, build understanding and broaden relationships. The group will continue to work together to share ideas for enlarging the reach of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 


April 2023 Diversity Calendar


April 2: World Autism Awareness Day: World Autism Awareness Day is an opportunity to understand how those with autism can improve their lives. If you don’t have a loved one with an autism diagnosis, you may not have a strong understanding of how the world may be challenging for these individuals. Fortunately, this day seeks to raise awareness and improve their acceptance in society.

April 2: RamadanRamadan, the ninth and most sacred month of the Islamic calendar, is when Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is a very spiritual and comforting time for many Muslims around the world, full of charity, self-reflection, gratitude and community. During this month, practicing Muslims will observe a strict fast from dawn to dusk. This “fast” includes abstaining from eating, drinking, chewing gum, smoking cigarettes, and engaging in sexual activity. Read this online article that interviews practicing Muslims and what they wish non-Muslims knew about this holy month.

April 5 to April 13:Passover: Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is one of the Jewish religion’s most sacred and widely observed holidays. InJudaismPassover commemorates the story of the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt. You can read more here.

April 9: Easter: Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year. Non-Christians often don’t realize this because there’s a lot more fanfare around Christmas, but this day celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.

April 22: Earth Day: Have you ever stopped to think about all that is  possible because of the planet that we live on? If not, April 22nd is the day to do it. Earth Day is a day observed by more than 192 nations. It honors the environmental movement that protects the Earth for future generations. Learn more at

April 27-29: Gathering of Nations:  April month concludes with Gathering of Nations, a congregation of 500 Native American tribes. These tribes meet to celebrate their traditions and cultures each year in the largest event for North America’s tribes. This is the 40th annual Gathering of Nations and will take place in Albuquerque NM.

Arab American Heritage Month:  On March 31, President Biden proclaimed April 2023 as Arab American Heritage Month.  “I call upon all Americans to learn more about the history, culture, and achievements of Arab Americans and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.”


American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System Film Coming to Bloomington

Submitted by Cathy Rountree, LWVBC Board Member and Health Committee Co-chair

Join Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) Indiana for a screening and discussion of the new provocative documentary American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System at St. Mark's Church on Monday, April 24, 7-9 pm. St. Mark’s address is 100 IN 46, Bloomington, Indiana.

American Hospitals is the fourth in a series of documentaries produced by the Unfinished Business Foundation, founded by Richard Master, CEO of MCS Industries Inc., who took a deep dive into the economics of the U.S. health-care system after his company was hit year after year with double-digit health insurance rate increases. He saw the financial distress of his employees, even when insured under a supposed ”good health plan.” His decision as a businessman to make a series of films about this urgent topic and to raise public awareness stands unique in the American business landscape.

The production team did over a year of in-depth research and followed up with extensive interviews that included physicians, patients and many top experts in health care economics and policy. The film is a crash course on how we can get hospital spending under control while improving quality and fairness.

American Hospitals goes beyond the typical ideological battles in health care debates and focuses on examining what’s actually happening under the hood. Learn more about the project at

About PNHP Indiana: 
Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 20,000 members and chapters across the United States.

Since 1988, PNHP has advocated for reform in the U.S. health care system. We educate physicians and other health professionals about the benefits of a single-payer system–including fewer administrative costs and affording health insurance for the 30 million Americans who have none.


Info Links of Interest

The Eagle Eye quarterly newsletter from Brown County Schools

Updates from LWVUS

LWVIN Newsletter

LWVB-MC Newsletter


Here’s How to Contact Your State and Federal Legislators

State Senator Eric Koch 



Legislative Assistant: Alexa Walden or 317-234-9425

Phone: 800-382-9467 or 317-232-9400
Address: Indiana State Senate, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis IN 46204 

State Representative District 62 Dave Hall


Email:  (press liaison)
Legislative Assistant: Drew Sellers 317-232-9863
Address: Indiana House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis IN 46204 

th Congressional District U.S. Representative Erin Houchin 

Phone: 202-225-5315
Address: 1632 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20515 

U.S. Senator Mike Braun 

Phone: 202-224-4814

Address: 374 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510 

U.S. Senator Todd Young 

Phone: 202-224-5623

Address: 185 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510 

Governor Eric Holcomb 


Phone: 317-232-4567
Address: Office of the Governor, Statehouse, Indianapolis IN 46204-2797 


Making Democracy Work

Grassroots Leadership since 1920

Educate • Advocate • Empower • Reform

We cordially invite you to join us

We encourage you to learn more about the League by attending our meetings and other events, 

including legislator forums and Meet the Candidates. 

Membership is not required to attend these meetings and events.

Annual Membership Dues*:

$50/Individual         $85/Couple              $20/Friend of the League (non-voting)

Your dues include membership in the national, state, and local leagues.

*Membership Scholarships available. Email us for more information:

To join or to send a donation, mail your check payable to LWVBC, PO Box 74, Nashville IN 47448

Please include your name, address, phone, and email

Visit our


Government and LWVBC Meeting Calendar



PLEASE NOTE:Meetings may be in person and/or virtual.

See links below to check days/times.

Brown County Election Board:

Salmon Room

• May 2, 2:00 pm(check for possible changes)

Brown County Commissioners

Salmon Room (check website for zoom link)

• April 19, 6:00 pm(check for possible changes)

• May 3, 2:00 pm(check for possible changes)

• May 17, 6:00 pm(check for possible changes)

Brown County Council

Salmon Room

• April 17, 6:30 pm(check for possible changes)

• May 15, 6:30 pm(check for possible changes)

Brown County Health Board

Bi-monthly, third Tuesday, 5 pm

• May 18 2023,5:00 pm(check for possible changes)

Nashville Town Council

Salmon Room (check website for zoom link)

• April 20, 6:30 pm(check for possible changes)

• May 18, 6:30 pm(check for possible changes)

Note: for all government and advisory board meetings and to verify times, please check the Brown County government calendar:http://www.browncounty-in.govthe Town of Nashville calendar:,or the Brown County Democrat:




The next business meeting of the League will be the Annual Meeting on May 8.

Our normally scheduled June 12thLWVBC meeting conflicts with the Brown County Fair schedule.We will reschedule a new meeting date as it gets closer.


League Members, Friends,

and the public are always welcome to attend


To participate in the meeting, contact League President Shari Frank at

to receive the zoom link.

The deadline for submission of articles for the May newsletter is 5:00 pm Friday, May 12.

The Brown County VOTER is published monthly. The editor is Laurie Teal. Please send your articles and/or suggestions to LWVBC at