Making Democracy Work

League of Women Voters Leelanau County - Positions

Agricultural Migrant/Seasonal Worker Position Statement 1/21/15

January 21, 2015 the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS LEELANAU COUNTY adopted The Agricultural Migrant/Seasonal Worker Position Statement

State and local governments should pass legislation and publicly fund programs and services that address the ongoing challenges faced by agricultural employers to recruit and retain viable, skilled migrant/seasonal farm workers. It is quality of life issues for workers and their families that draw workers in a competitive labor market. Quality of life is enhanced by safe, healthy, affordable housing; education; health care; fair treatment by law enforcement and other services provided by state and local government offices and agencies.

I. Local and State Law Enforcement

A. Should minimize language barriers and overcome distrust between law
enforcement and the migrant/seasonal agricultural worker community by having
reliable interpretation services readily available; by securing cultural awareness
training for all department employees; by developing avenues to broaden
communication; and by providing legal rights information to the migrant/seasonal
agricultural worker community.
B. Should allow a lawfully present, qualifying person to apply for or secure and
renew a driver's license or obtain an identification card.
II. Public Education
A. Local School Districts
1. Should provide a quality education and support for the children and parents in
migrant/seasonal agricultural worker families.
2. Should offer English as a Second Language (ESL) for children and parents,
including evening classes.
3. Should offer social programs to integrate students and migrant/seasonal
families into the school community

III. Health Care

A. Publicly funded health care services should provide day and evening hours of
service, on-site interpreters and access to mental health and substance abuse
services without requiring documentation as criteria for care.
B. The migrant/seasonal agricultural worker community should be made aware of
services available and how to access those services.
IV. Housing Quantity and Quality
A. Township and County Planning and Zoning Ordinances
1. Should allow agricultural labor housing year round or for three-season
occupancy.
2. Should reflect consistency among township planning commissions and
zoning boards to allow a streamlined permit and building process in support
of quality agricultural labor housing.
B. County Governments
1. Should adopt and administer government public funding programs in
support of repair and refurbishment of unlicensed agricultural labor
housing.
2. Should appoint a bilingual facilitator to handle complaints to the Board
of Health and Construction Code Department.
3. Should give priority to regular and timely oversight, inspection, and
enforcement of health and construction standards for all area unlicensed
agricultural labor rental housing.
C. State Government
1. Should increase public funding for building new or refurbishing existing
agricultural labor housing.
2. Should eliminate agricultural labor housing permit and licensing conflicts
between state agencies such as the Michigan Department of Agriculture
and Rural Development (MDARD) and the Michigan Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (MIOSHA).
3. Should expand licensing for and require inspections of agricultural
labor housing with four or fewer migrant/seasonal workers.
V. County Boards, Commissions, Committees, Authorities and Non-Governmental and Not-for-Profit Agencies which receive county funds
A. Should work cooperatively with local governmental units and organizations to
address the needs of agricultural employers and the migrant/seasonal agricultural
worker community.
B. Should provide publications for the public in both English and Spanish for distri-
bution to agricultural employers to be given to their migrant/seasonal workers.
C. Should have reliable interpretation services readily available.

Education Position Adopted 6/24/13

The League of Women Voters Leelanau County supports that every child attend-ing the schools that comprise the Traverse Bay Intermediate School District, including Leelanau County, will acquire 21st century knowledge and skills that he or she will need in their communities and workplaces.

I. Curriculum

A. Curriculums will include the core subjects as outlined in the Michigan

Merit Curriculum, K-12.

B. Curriculums in the 21st century must include: Global Awareness, Civic

Literacy, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving Skills, and Life Skills such as:
Leadership, Ethics, Personal and Social Responsibility, Self Direction and
People Skills.

C. Curriculums should support students being able to understand, utilize and

evaluate current technologies and sources of information.

D. Curriculum should include awareness of the contributions and rights of
women and minorities.

E. Curriculums should encourage all students to be educated to the best of

their abilities.

II. Assessment

A student assessment program must have a balance of high quality standard-ized tests along with effective classroom evaluations and observations that inform instruction. The scope of assessment should include the skill level in core subjects, the demonstrated use of critical thinking and life skills, facility with technology for research, and the ability to communicate ideas and inform- ation.

III. Administrative and District Leadership

Administrators must articulate clearly the goals to be attained; serve as problem solving models; and demonstrate their ability to provide necessary equipment and training for successful teaching and learning; and seek regular input from students, staff, and citizens.

IV. School Climate

The school facility should be inviting, orderly, healthy, safe, secure, clean,

well-maintained and equipped with adequate resources and

The school climate should provide a caring, encouraging environment; promote a sense of belonging and self-esteem; strive for effective communi-cation, collaboration and interpersonal relationships between staff and students; and foster mutual cooperation and safety. The school should respect and value individual differences, encourage critical thinking and have high expectations for all.

V. Teachers

A. Teachers will be given class assignments for which they are highly
qualified.

B. Teachers will have adequate time and space to prepare lessons and
confer with colleagues on a regular basis. Involvement in professional
development should be ongoing.

C. At regular intervals proficiency in teaching practices and content
knowledge will be assessed and written copy of the results provided
followed by consultation.

D. Teachers will participate in setting and achieving school-wide goals.

VI. School Funding

A. Schools must be funded in a manner that is adequate and equitable to carry out their mission.

B. The school funding inequity between school districts should be actively
addressed by the state legislature. The per pupil funding gap between the
highest and lowest foundation grants needs to be eliminated by regular
"equity payments" in the school funding budget until equitable funding is
achieved.

Farmland Preservation Position Adopted 6/24/13

Recognizing that the farmland of northwest lower Michigan is a unique, finite resource, the League of Women Voters Leelanau County believes that preserving this land must be a responsibility shared by all. In developing policies concerning farmland use, public as well as private interests should be respected.

Natural Resources Position Adopted 6/24/13

The League of Women Voters Leelanau County supports preserving, protecting and enhancing environmental quality through evaluation of local and regional policies and programs. The League will review and comment, when appropriate, on projects and activities in the county.

The League supports:

Water Resources: Protection of Great Lakes, inland lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands through programs and policies that reflect the interrelationships of water quality, water quantity, both ground and surface water an that address the potential depletion or pollution of water supplies.

Energy Solutions: Environmental policies and programs that reduce energy growth, emphasize energy conservation and efficiency, and encourage the use of renewable resources.

Waste Management: Policies that promote reuse and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, and environmentally sound disposal methods that protect public air, health, water, and land resources.

Land Use: Managing land as a finite resource through comprehensive
long-range planning, and policies and program s that will improve air and water quality by proper use of land and water resources.

Air Quality: Policies and programs that measure, regulate, and reduce air pollution from vehicular and stationary sources.

The League believes local governments should:

Promote environmentally sound practices.

Inform their citizens about developments in natural resource planning and communicate local concerns to the regional planners.

Provide greater transparency in natural resource decision making by:

1) effective noticing,

2) use of open meetings, workshops, and community outreach,

3) extensive use of communications technologies.