Making Democracy Work

League of Women Voters of Providence

Upcoming Events: Providence Conversation

Please come!
Monday, March 12 Corruption in Rhode Island: Reality and Perception
Monday, March 19 I know a Guy: Ethics in RI
Monday, March 26 Threats to Elections: Should We Worry?

Monday, March 26 Threats to Elections: Should We Worry?
What are the threats to our voting process? Cam technology make our elections secure?

Robert Rapoza
- Executive Director, RI State Board of Elections
Joseph Cammarano - Associate Professor of Political Science, Providence College
John Savage - An Wang Professor of Computer Science, Brown University

Place: Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope St, Providence
Time: 6:30 - 7: 00 pm, reception, 7:00 - 8:00 speakers
Parking available in the Wheeler School lot across the street.
For wheelchair-access, call Carrie Taylor, 401- 453-0688,

For more information, 401-351-2269, or

LWV Providence Conversations

Providence League of Women Voters Conversations - informal conversation on on issues of interest with coffee and dessert.

The Providence LWV holds regular "Providence Conversations," where guests are invited to chat informally, over dessert, with Leaguers. Recent conversations have included "Clearing the Streets of the City" with Michael Borg, Executive Director, Department of Public Works City of Providence; "Ethics: Closer to Home", with Susann Mark, Esq. Chair of Providence Ethics Commission; "DACA: From Dream to Limbo with Deportation?" with Kathy Cloutier, executive director, Dorcas International Institute; and "Revisiting State Assistance to RI Libraries" with Karen Mellor, Director, RI Office of Information and Library Services.

For more information on future Conversations, contact

Pictured at a recent Conversation: Tracy Breton, Former investigative reporter, Providence Journal; Richard Ratcliffe, Former RI Assistant Attorney General; and Grafton (Cap) Willey IV, Tax and Budget Chair, SBA Small Business Summit, and LWV moderator Joan Retsinas. The speakers were part of "Corruption in Rhode Island: Reality and Perception" one of three community discussions co-sponsored by the LWV Providence and Lippitt House Museum in March.

LWV Providence Officers

Conveners Hollie Courage, Joan Retsinas, Barbara Feldman, and Liz Head

For more information, please contact: or 401-272-0422 or or 401-351-2269

Tea at Blithewold

On September 18th the Providence LWV held its second annual fundraising tea at Blithewold in Bristol + almost chrysanthemum season. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea attended, then graciously spoke to the group and answered questions. Thank you to all that attended.


Library Funding
Article XII of the RI Constitution states that "it shall be the duty of the general assembly to promote public schools and public libraries, and to adopt all means which it may deem necessary and proper to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education and public library services." Further, state law says that "it is the responsibility of government at all levels to provide adequate financial support for all free libraries."

Concerned that the money provided by the City and State is currently inadequate, the Providence League of Women Voters decided to study the state library funding formula at its annual meeting June 2014.

At the February 11, 2016 consensus meeting, League members came to consensus on:
    • Crucial Niche of Public Libraries
    • Funding sources
    • Need for Additional Money to Support Public Libraries
    • Key Principles for Distribution of State Funds to Public Libraries

Study Report
Full Position
The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island adopted this position at its 2017 Convention on June 1, 2017.

Funding for School Building Repair
Back in 2014, the Providence League became alarmed at the condition of Providence's public schools and declared it an Issue of Interest. We then scheduled a Conversation with Joseph Da Silva, School Construction Coordinator for the RI Department of Education and learned that the problem had been building for years. In fact the problem had grown so large that in 2011 the State had enacted a 3 year moratorium on school construction approvals, with the exception of those necessitated by immediate health and safety needs. In June 2014, the moratorium was extended to May 2015.

Besides the huge numbers, Mr. Da Silva pointed out structural problems in the way the State funds new school buildings and repairs. The reimbursement formula and process are both costly and complex. A 2014 report released by the Senate in laid out the numbers and the problems, but not much changed.

As a result, in 2017 the Governor commissioned another study, and then created a Task Force spearheaded by the Treasurer and Education Commissioner "charged with recommending specific actions to address Rhode Island's school facilities deficiencies." Although the Task Force did not succeed in finding a workable "designated funding stream," it did manage to come up with a plan to fix the other structural problems in the funding process and help municipalities manage projects in such a way that all municipalities should benefit. The Task Force's recommendations have been included in the 2019 Budget Bill.

The RI League has indicated preliminary support of the amendments to funding law and bond issue which are now in the budget.

100th Anniversary Commemorative Activities

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