NARFE - Chapter 372
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Recent Meeting Minutes

DRAFT

NARFE CHAPTER 372

MINUTES OF THE MONTHLY MEETING

June 5, 2019

The June 5, 2019 meeting was called to order by our Chapter President, Barbara Bossert at 1 PM at Steppy's, at the Facenda Whittaker Bowling Lanes, 2912 Swede Road, East Norriton, PA 19401.

Pledge of Allegiance: Barbara opened the meeting by leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Introduction of Members and Guests: We had 14 members and guests present.

Program: Barbara introduced our guest speaker, Rich Rafferty, Fair District – PA. Rich delivered an excellent and informative presentation which highlighted the problems of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania and other states. Although there was some changes through the courts, which created Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District among others, our state representative and state senator districts are still gerrymandered. Polls show two-thirds of Pennsylvanians want reform. 20 counties and 289 municipal governments have passed resolutions of support. They represent 68% of the population in PA. And a majority of legislators from both sides of the aisle support reform, but party leaders are not inclined to act. Rich said politicians can now use sophisticated mapping technology and surgically precise data to pick exactly who they want in or out of a voting district. In a fair district, which gives voters real choices at the ballot box and ensures that politicians are accountable, district lines are drawn to reflect community borders and natural boundaries (like rivers or mountains), and to create an accurate depiction of the population. But Pennsylvania districts aren’t fair. Instead, politicians use several tactics to draw lines that will ensure they keep their seats, and keep their party in power.

Rich mentioned that Representatives Tom Murt (R - Montgomery/Philadelphia Counties) and Steve Samuelson (D - Northampton County) have introduced House Bill 22 and House Bill 23, two bills designed to create one independent citizens commission in time for the next round of congressional and legislative redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census.

  • HB 22 would amend the PA Constitution to create an independent redistricting commission for both congressional and legislative redistricting. (has 85 sponsors now)
  • HB 23 would create an independent commission just for congressional redistricting. (Has 91 sponsors now)

The goal is to create an 11-member commission in charge of both legislative and congressional redistricting. It would be charged with analyzing U.S. Census data, drawing district maps, and preparing a redistricting plan. The commission would be required to hold public meetings across the state before maps were drawn, and again after to collect public feedback.

With passage of HB 23 in the 2019-20 session, selection and training of commissioners could happen in early 2021. Because amending the Constitution means passing a bill in consecutive two-year sessions followed by a voter referendum, the earliest voters could approve a new commission for legislative redistricting would be the May 2021 primary election. At that point, the already-in-place congressional redistricting commission would be given the additional task of legislative redistricting in time for a November 2021 deadline.

In the meantime, Rich suggested that you contact your state representatives to see if he/she is a co-sponsor for HB 22 and 23 and urge your state senators to support an independent citizens commission for both congressional and legislative redistricting.

For more information, visit https://www.fairdistrictspa.com/

Reading of the Minutes from last meeting: A reading of the minutes from the May meeting was waived since they are available on the Chapter website for review. All members present voted to accept and approve the May minutes as written.

Officer and Committee Reports:

Treasurer : Art Issadore : Art gave the following report for May: Receipts included $143.09 for long term savings and $38 for miscellaneous. Total Disbursements were $53.00, Total Obligations were $14.00, for a Total Balance on Hand for Use of $5222.46. The report was accepted and approved as submitted. .  

Legislation: Brian Finn. A negative report this time.

Membership: Eileen Fitzgerald reported the chapter has 167 members.

Sunshine: Stephanie Russell (absent from the June meeting) sent a card to the family of Dennis Brown,

a chapter member who passed away last month.

Old Business:

None                          

New Business:

-We discussed Barbara’s use of the NARFE portal to email important notifications to Chapter #372 members.  

-Barbara reminded everyone to take a look at NARFE Magazine’s June issue, which includes articles such as our raising concerns with legislators this summer; Senate budget resolution treating the Federal community as a piggy bank; ten tips for a successful retirement.

-We discussed whether members would like a brief summary of last month’s minutes at each

monthly meeting. Barbara mentioned we would bring up the idea at future meetings for further

-Barbara shared George Shal’s article about the need for new officers and members from the

May 2019 Pennsylvania Federation Newsletter.

-Barbara shared news from NARFE Headquarters: a membership referendum vote is needed to improve the organization’s bylaws and election process. More information about these is forthcoming in the August 2019 issue of NARFE magazine. NARFE leaders testified at two hearings in Washington, DC. The first hearing focused on the demand for employees with critical skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and how to attract those with the requisite skills.   At the second hearing, Ken Thomas discussed the proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration. For those members interested, the full written testimony can be found on NARFE’s website.

Adjourn: There being no further business; the meeting was adjourned at 2:20 PM.

 

NEXT ACTIVITES:

July 2019.   THERE WILL BE NO MEETING in July    

August 7, 2019 at 1 PM at Steppy's, at the Facenda Whittaker Bowling Lanes, 2912 Swede Road, East Norriton, PA 19401. Lunch at noon. Our Guest Speaker will be Kimberley Bixby-Robinson, Associate Account Executive, Federal Employee Program, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. She will discuss Blue Cross benefits such as hearing aids, blue health assessments and financial incentives.

September 4 2019 at 1 PM at Steppy's, at the Facenda Whittaker Bowling Lanes, 2912 Swede Road, East Norriton, PA 19401. Lunch at noon. Our Guest Speaker will be Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, PA-04.  

Respectfully submitted,     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Barbara Bossert for Al Henryson, Chapter Secretary