Units

The Units historically are the ‘heart’ of the League.  The Units are small groups of local members who meet for discussion and study of various issues of interest in Howard County, Maryland, the region, and the nation. The purpose of Units is to facilitate discussion and understanding and  are held to best meet the League goal “to promote informed and active participation in government.”

Units are where LWV grassroots positions are developed. Local program items are adopted by the membership at the yearly annual meeting and are usually dealt with in the Units, where the consensus of each Unit is forwarded to the local Board.  Once consensus is reached, a position on an issue is identified and the LWV uses these positions to advocate (take action) at all levels of government.

Contact info@lwvhowardmd.org if you are interested in attending as a guest at any unit meetings.

 

May 2019 Unit Meetings

All League members as well as members of the Howard County community are welcome to attend the May Unit Meetings which will be used to plan League meetings and community information meetings during the 2019-2020 League year.

We will discuss how our meetings can be organized and presented to meet the needs of our members and also members of the community at large.

We especially need to examine our presentation methods so that members:

Become informed on public matters.

Understand how they can participate in local, state, regional and federal positions.

Make informed decisions on our own studies and positions.

Our focus at the Unit Meetings will include:

Scheduling meeting places and times.

Activities beyond monthly meetings.

Topics of interest beyond those approved at the General Meeting.

Topics of interest to the community at large as we seek to grow our membership.

May Unit Meetings will be held as follows:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at Vantage House at 10:00 a.m.

Please ask for directions to our meeting room at the sign-in desk.

Thursday, May 16, 2019 at Historic Oakland Manor at 7:00 p.m.

Please come prepared to share your thoughts and ideas as we plan our next League year!

Questions? Concerns? Thoughts? New Ideas? Volunteers for the Program Committee? Please email me at tjones89@comcast.net

The League of Women Voters believes its strength and influence derives from a dedication to consensus building on grassroots initiatives and on careful preparation before acting.

 

PROGRAM REPORT – April 2019

By Thea Jones, Vice-President/Program Director

No April Unit Meetings:

Because the LWVHC’s Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Historic Oakland Manor, there will be no Unit Meetings in April.

To reserve your seat for the Annual Meeting, either leave a message for Gina Smith at the League Office (410-730-0142), send a check for $35 to the League Office 5430 Vantage Point Road, Suite C, Columbia, MD 21044 or select the Donate button on the website https://hoco.lwvhowardmd.org and pay the $35 through PayPal. The price includes dinner by Tino’s. If you are attending the meeting only, the cost is $10.

May Unit Meetings:  Mark Your Calendar Now for the May Unit Meetings:

May 15, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Vantage House, 5400 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia, MD 21044

May 16, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Historic Oakland Manor

5430 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia, MD 21044

Meeting details will be sent to members via the May Voter and will be available on the League’s website at https://hoco.lwvhowardmd.org   You will not want to miss the May Unit Meetings!

Updates from February and March Unit Meetings:

February Unit Meeting:  Only one Unit Meeting was scheduled for February and because of inclement weather, the meeting was rescheduled to Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Betsy Singer, our LWVHC Environment Director, lead a very animated discussion on the important environmental issues which are before the Maryland General Assembly. She shared the League’s positions on those issues which are Legislative priorities for the LWVMD.

Topics included the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the Ban on Expanded Polystyrene Foam Food Packaging, Forest Conservation, and the Pipeline Safety Act.

Thank you to Betsy for fitting this into her busy schedule during the General Assembly session.

March Unit Meetings: The March meetings were jam-packed with information and information-gathering as we worked on “Program Planning” and completed a required review of LWVHC positions. The current positions and suggested changes are available to members online in the Annual Meeting Workbook which is on our website. At the Annual Meeting, you will be asked to vote on any suggested position changes and also on suggested “studies” for the 2019 – 2020.  

Also, at our March Unit Meeting, we worked on developing consensus for the LWVMD’s Bail Reform Study. This study could just as easily been titled the “Pre-Trial Justice System” as our discussion included bail, bail bond agents, District Court commissioners, pretrial services and how they might be funded, and general questions such as “Should bail be abolished?” An interesting piece of information that was new to many of us - the United States and the Philippines are the only countries in the world that impose bail.

At both meetings, consensus was reached and our final report was sent to the LWVMD. They will compile the information from all Maryland Leagues and determine what the League position should be regarding the pretrial justice system in Maryland. All Maryland Leagues will then be able to use this position statement when giving testimony either before the General Assembly or on legislative bodies in their own counties.

Legislative Update:  As of the writing of this report, the Maryland General Assembly was still in session and you can follow the action on bills of interest to you at the http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home  Bills can be tracked by the number of the bill or by broad subjects or by selecting from the menu. You can track the bill from introduction to final status at this site.

Please join us at future Unit Meetings. Our meetings serve two purposes:

Education:

  • To learn more about topics of interest to League members through presentations by League members and other members of the Howard County community.
  • To share ideas and information of interest to all league members.

     Consensus

  • To determine consensus on program topics/studies which have been approved at the Annual Meeting or have been studied by the Maryland League of Women Voters.
  • To determine consensus on legislative issues to be taken at local, state, and national levels.
  • Once consensus is reached, a position on an issue is identified and the LWVHC uses these positions to advocate at all levels of government.  

Also, please consider sharing your ideas and suggestions for interesting and educational unit meetings in the future!

Submitted by Thea Jones, Program Director

tjones89@comcast.net


An Important Announcement - Rescheduling of the February Unit Meeting

New Date for the LWVHC Unit Meeting on the Environment - original meeting cancelled due to inclement weather

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Vantage House

The February Unit Meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in the classroom at Vantage House. Please ask for directions at the reception desk when you sign-in. The originally planned February meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather. There will not be a Thursday night meeting.

You will not want to miss this meeting as Betsy Singer, our Environment Director, will be discussing current and upcoming legislation before the Maryland General Assembly. There is much action on the environment in Maryland and also here in Howard County and you will be well-informed after Betsy’s presentation.

Betsy’s discussion will include important environment bills such as those on the:

  • Clean Energy Jobs Act
  • Ban on Expanded Polystyrene Foam Food Packaging
  • Pipeline Safety Act
  • Forest Conservation

Please put this important informational meeting on your calendar and join us for the latest environmental news from Annapolis!

Important Note on the March Unit Meetings:  

Please add the following to your calendar, also!

The March Unit Meetings will be held on:  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 10:00 – 12:00 at Vantage House

Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Historic Oakland

Our March meetings will focus on two important topics:

  1. Program Planning and LWVHC Positions
  2. Bail Reform – discussion of concurrence with the LWVMD study.

Please see your March Voter for complete details and links to information that you will want review before the meetings on March 20th and March 21st.

Important: Inclement Weather Information for both meetings in March:

Inclement weather information for the March 6th and March 20th 10:00 a.m. meetings at Vantage House: 

- If HCPSS has a late opening, the meeting will be held as scheduled.

- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

Inclement weather information for the March 21st 7:00 p.m. meeting at Historic Oakland:

- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

- If HCPSS closes early, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

- If HCPSS closes “after school” and “evening” events, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

Looking forward to seeing you at two meetings in March!

 

Program Report March 2019

It’s Your Turn to Speak Up, Speak out, and Act!

All members of the League of Women Voters Howard County are urged to attend one of two unit meetings in March and bring your ideas for the direction you would like your league to take in 2019-2020! Our March meetings will focus on two important topics:

I. Program Planning and LWVHC Positions

  • Are you in agreement with the current positions of the LWVHC?
  • What, if any, studies should be considered to support the educational, social and economic direction that Howard County is taking?
  • What topics are of interest to you as we plan informational meetings for the 2019-2020 league year? Do you know speakers who would be of interest to our membership?
  • What can you do to support the LWVHC in non-election years?

Program Planning and LWVHC Positions - Background: According to our by-laws, “the principles adopted by the National Convention of the LWVUS and supported by the League as a whole constitute the Principles and Program of the LWVHC.”  Furthermore, “The Program of the LWVHC shall consist of the governmental issues chosen for concerted study and action.”  The by-laws also state that a proposed program should be adopted at the Annual Meeting and that members should receive the proposed program prior to the General Meeting. We plan to prepare this “proposed program” based on information gathered at our March unit meetings, present it to members in the April Voter and have the membership vote on the 2019-20 Program at our General Meeting on April 23, 2019. 

To prepare for Program Planning and the LWVHC Positions Review at our March Unit

Meetings, please take a little time to complete the following:

  • Read and review the current positions of the LWVHC (on pages 17 – 21 of the 2018 -2019 Handbook). At the March meetings, we will use a chart listing our current positions and indicate whether these positions should be retained, updated, or dropped.

  • Identify any possible League Studies. As you review our current positions, identify any studies that might be undertaken by our League in 2019 – 2020 or in 2020-2021. We had no studies this year. The last study undertaken by the LWVHC was the Housing Study which was completed in 2018.  You can determine the date of the last study done on any position by the dates in parentheses after the position statement. Note that this current year we also studied “Death with Dignity” and “Bail Reform” to support studies being done by the League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD.)

  • Bring a list of topics that could be used as informational Unit Meetings during 2019-2020 (September – May.) During the current year we have had informational meetings on gerrymandering and the environment.

  • ACT!: Come to a March Unit Meeting prepared to volunteer to support one of the following activities of the League: Action, External Communications, Internal Communications, Education, Environment, Membership, Program, Voter Service or any other volunteer service that you can offer to our League. Our League is only as strong as the participation of our members and we have been growing our membership and expanding our activities in the past year and look to you for support of that growth and expansion in the future.

 
II. Bail Reform: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Amendment VIII, U.S. Constitution.

Background: The League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD) is completing a study of “corrections and bail reform” and local Leagues are being asked to reach consensus on this issue. We will spend some time at our March meeting reviewing the LWVMD study and responding to the Consensus Discussion questions which are attached. Our consensus form is due to the LWVMD on March 30, 2019. 

To prepare for your response as we reach consensus on Bail Reform at our March Unit Meetings, please complete the following:

  • Read the LWVMD’s Bail Study Fact Sheet 
  • Consider current references and news related to this topic. Have you read James Stevenson’s Just Mercy or Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow? Do they have some influence on your thoughts on bail reform and incarceration?

Are there other articles, books, etc. that might inform your decision on consensus on Bail Reform?

March Unit Meetings will be held as follows:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 10:00 – 12:00 at Vantage House

Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Historic Oakland 

Inclement weather information:

Inclement weather information for the March 20th 10:00 a.m. meeting at Vantage House: 

- If HCPSS has a late opening, the meeting will be held as scheduled.

- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

Inclement weather information for the March 21st 7:00 p.m. meeting at Historic Oakland:

- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

- If HCPSS closes early, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

- If HCPSS closes “after school” and “evening” events, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

February Unit Meeting Update: Many thanks to Betsy Singer, the LWVHC Environment Director, for sharing important environmental information with League members at our February Unit Meeting. Many of the issues discussed have not yet been resolved by the Maryland General Assembly and you can determine their status by checking both the LWVMD website and the website of the General Assembly. General Assembly website to follow environmental issues: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?id=M3&stab=01&pid=broadsubjpage&tab=subject3&ys=2019RS     League of Women Voters Maryland website: https://www.lwvmd.org/   Select “Action” and/or “News” for current information on legislative action.

Update on the Death with Dignity Unit Meeting: Many of us consider this to be the Shane Pendergrass bill as she has sponsored it in the General Assembly for several years. Delegate Pendergrass introduced the bill again this year along with co-sponsor Senator Will Smith, Montgomery County. The bill is officially named the End of Life Option Act and as of this writing, the bill has been introduced, however it has not yet been voted out of committee or voted on in the House of Delegates or the Senate. Several LWVHC members attended the introduction of the bill on January 29th in Annapolis and a vocal and enthusiastic crowd gave their support to the bill. You can check the status of this bill in the House of Delegates at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?id=hb0399&stab=01&pid=billpage&tab=subject3&ys=2019RS and in the Senate at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&tab=subject3&id=sb0311&stab=01&ys=2019RS

You are invited to join Thea Jones, Program Director, in the planning and presentation of Unit Meetings and/or other informational meetings for the 2019-2020 League year. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

Submitted by Thea Jones, Vice-President and Program Director. If you have any questions, please contact Thea at tjones89@comcast.net


Program and Unit Meeting Updates – February 2019

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION DISCUSSIONS AT LWVHC FEBRUARY UNIT MEETING

IMPORTANT LWVHC PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT:  There will only be ONE Unit Meeting in February, which will be held on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 from 10:00 – 12:00 at Vantage House.

Don’t miss this Unit Meeting as Betsy Singer will be leading a discussion on the latest environmental action news in the Maryland General Assembly.

By the time of our February Unit Meeting, important environmental bills will have been introduced in the General Assembly and public hearings will have been scheduled. We are very fortunate to have Betsy Singer, our LWVHC Environment Director, lead the discussion at the unit meeting. Discussion will include important environmental bills such as those on:

  • Clean Energy Jobs Act
  • Ban on Expanded Polystyrene Foam Food Packaging
  • Forest Conservation
  • Pipeline Safety Act

Important Note: These priorities will be featured as the Environmental Community Priorities at the Environmental Summit, February 6, 2019 from 4-6 p.m. in Annapolis, House Office Building, Room 180. We will be sending out information to encourage members to attend the Summit. Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch often attend as well as Senate and House committee chairs and environmental champions in the legislature.

Don’t miss the February Unit Meeting as well as additional local and statewide meetings to show your support for important environmental legislation before the Maryland General Assembly!

Inclement weather information:

Inclement weather information for the 10:00 a.m. meeting at Vantage House: 
- If HCPSS has a late opening, the meeting will be held as scheduled.
- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be postponed and rescheduled.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM THE JANUARY 2019 UNIT MEETINGS: Update from January 2019

The goal of the January Unit Meetings was to determine if the League of Women Voters Howard County supported concurrence with the Maryland League of Women Voters’ study on Death with Dignity. We were fortunate to have support from both Sally Hunt and Sandy Bjorg from the LWVMD as we prepared for the January meetings. They sent study materials as well as additional information that was used in our discussions at both unit meetings. We were especially thankful that Sally Hunt was available to lead the presentation at the Wednesday Unit Meeting as she was very articulate and knowledgeable in answering questions and expanding on the material in the PowerPoint. Many thanks go to Sally and Sandy for their assistance.

We were also fortunate to have a member of Shane Pendergrass’ staff in attendance at our Thursday meeting and he was able to provide additional information about pending changes in the 2019 bill. Once again Senator Pendergrass is proposing this bill in the House of Delegates.

By a unanimous vote, the LWVHC supported concurrence with the LWVUT Death with Dignity position statements and thus support for the LWVMD’s request for concurrence. If the LWVMD receives adequate support for concurrence from across the state, individual leagues will be able to lobby for the passage of the proposed legislation.  Expect additional information in the near future. At the time of this writing, bills were not formally introduced in the House or Senate so please check the Maryland government’s website for the current status of the bills.

If you have questions, please contact Thea Jones, Vice-President and Program Director, at tjones89@comcast.net

January Unit Meetings – January 16 and 17, 2019

January meetings will be very important as we will review, discuss and reach concurrence on the League of Women Voters Maryland’s study on Death with Dignity.

Attached is the Death with Dignity Fact Sheet which was created by the League of Women Voter’s Maryland.  This information should be reviewed in its entirety before coming to the January Unit Meetings. We are looking forward to a presentation and discussion that should be of interest to our members.

The question is “DEATH WITH DIGNITY in MARYLAND” and do we support it, oppose it, or are we neutral?

Humans have wrestled with questions of how to handle the imminent approach of death for as long as we have had medical tools to postpone or hasten death. Modern medical advances have increased the urgency of these questions as we have gained the ability to extend life, but often with the result of prolonged periods of disability and/or pain. 

At its biennial convention in June 2017, the League of Women Voters of Maryland chose

Death with Dignity (DWD) as one of its study topics to determine an appropriate position - ethically, morally and legally – with which to deal with end of life issues of the terminally ill. This topic is of critical importance whatever the League’s final stand may be. End-of-life issues, including DWD, are very prevalent conversations in today’s society.

There is an excellent chance that DWD bills will be introduced in both houses of the Maryland

General Assembly in the 2019 session. It is very important that the LWVMD weigh in on this significant issue and have their voices heard.

Death with Dignity Factsheet

January Unit Meetings will be held as follows:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 from 10:00 – 12:00 at Vantage House

Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Historic Oakland

Inclement weather information:

Inclement weather information for 10:00 a.m. meeting at Vantage House: 

- If HCPSS has a late opening, the meeting will be held as scheduled.

- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be rescheduled.

Inclement weather information for 7:00 p.m. at Historic Oakland:

- If HCPSS closes early, the meeting will be postponed.

- If HCPSS is closed for students, the meeting will be postponed.

Updates: November Unit Meetings were replaced by Gerrymandering 101 workshops which were held on three different dates in three different locations and more than 50 persons attended these important workshops. Kudos to Beth Hufnagel for the excellent presentations!

In December, League members wrapped gifts at Barnes and Noble for our Winter Fundraiser! Thanks to League members who shared their time and gift-wrapping skills! It was a fun time!

November 2018 Unit Meetings

November Unit Meetings are being replaced by Gerrymandering 101 workshops which will be held on three different dates in three different locations. These workshops are open to the public, and League members are encouraged to bring a non-League member with you. League membership information will be available. Workshops will be presented by Beth Hufnagel, co-President of the LWVHC. There is no need to register and all workshops will have the same content.

Gerrymandering Workshop Information:

  • Thursday, November 8, 2018, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the East Columbia Branch of the HCLS in the Marvin Thomas Meeting Room
  • Saturday, November 10, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – noon at the Elkridge Branch of the HCLS in the Hockley Meeting Room
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Glenwood Branch of the HCLS in the Glenwood Pindell Meeting Room

October 2018 Unit Meetings

Thanks to all who attended the September Unit meetings where there were excellent discussions revolving around our priorities for the 2019 Maryland General Assembly. Our decisions were sent to the LWVMD where they will be prioritized along with information submitted by other Maryland leagues. These priorities will be publicized in November and used as the basis for discussion with members of the Maryland General Assembly. A follow-up Legislative Update will be held in Annapolis in early March during the General Assembly. More information on this event to follow.

October Unit Meetings

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at Vantage House

Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Oakland Manor


Topics: 

  • LWVUS Legislative Priorities

Much of the work of the LWV at the local, state, and national levels is based upon positions which are made through study, discussion and consensus taken by local league members at Unit Meetings. At our October meeting, we have been asked to advise the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) of legislative priorities which are important to us. They will use our input as they prioritize, at the national level, those issues which we would like them to support when meeting with members of the United States Congress and influential decision makers at the national level.

Issues may be categorized under the topics of:

  • Voting Rights
  • Elections
  • The Environment
  • Gun Laws
  • Immigration
  • Health Care Reform
  • International Relations
  • Public Education
  • Military Defense Spending

If you would like to think about some of these issues from a national perspective prior to the unit meetings (definitely not mandatory) you can visit the LWVUS website at https://www.lwv.org/ to find short descriptions or you can find a synopsis of the current LWVUS Public Policy Positions in our LWVHC 2018-2019 Handbook on pages 33 – 49. 

  • 2018 General Election Ballot Questions

There are two ballot questions that will be put before the voters in November. Both will be discussed at our October meeting.

Question 1: Gambling and Education – Dedicating certain gambling revenue to education.

Question 2: Elections – Authorizes the legislature to enact laws allowing for same-day voter registration.

 

March 2017 Unit Meetings

Wednesday, March 15 at Oakland Manor or Vantage House at 10 am and Oakland Manor Thursday, March 16, at 7 pm, we will hold our annual review of League of Women Voters of Howard County positions pertaining to our county to determine which should be retained, updated, edited or deleted as we do each year.   (Once again, if there is already a member-adopted position nationally (LWVUS), at the state (LWVMD) or regional level (LWVNCA), they automatically apply to the League of Women Voters of Howard County.

February 2017 Unit Meetings

Wednesday, February 15, 10 am, probably again at Oakland Manor*** and Thursday, February 16, 7 pm at Oakland Manor, we’ll be discussing the possibility of a new League of Women Voters of Maryland position–we are members of it–we’ll be learning about and discussing Development Rights and Responsibilities in Maryland, a topic about which many of us have not thought much.   More information will be provided the week before.

***This unit meeting may be held at Oakland Manor or at Vantage House at 10 am.

January 2017 Unit Meetings

Review of League of Women Voters of Maryland’s and League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area’s member-adopted positions with an eye to updating them, retaining them as-is, editing their language, or possible deletion.

Wednesday, January 18, 10 am, at Oakland Manor and Thursday, January 19, 7 pm also at Oakland Manor

Click here for background information.

November 2016 Unit Meetings

Legislative Districts in Maryland – Single or Multi-Member?

11/16   Wed     Unit Meeting, Vantage House, study and consensus

Pertaining to LWVMD Primary System Study about

Single v Multi-Member elections districts for MD,

Part I of Primary Election Stem Study, 9:30 am

11/17  Thurs    Unit Meeting, Oakland Manor, study and consensus

Pertaining to LWVMD Primary System Study about

Single v Multi-Member elections districts for MD,

Part I of Primary Election Stem Study, 7 pm

Information for the meetings

“Money in Politics”

The positions of the League of Women Voters of Maryland are adopted after a committee has conducted a study and produced fact sheets and consensus questions. Members in each local League meet to discuss the study.  January’s study is “Money in Politics”.  We would like to have as many members as possible to voice an opinion. More information will be in the January Voter and E-Newsletters.

Information for the meetings:  mip_study_guide_cover_and_contents

Unit Meetings Schedule:              RSVP not necessary.

Thursday:  7:30 p. m. January 14, 2015
East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD

Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. January 20, 2015
Vantage House, 5400 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia, MD

Fact Sheet for “ Amending the Constitution”

The positions of the League of Women Voters of Maryland are adopted after a committee has conducted a study and produced fact sheets and consensus questions. Members in each local League meet to discuss the study. November’s study is Amending the Constitution. We would like to have as many members as possible to voice an opinion.

Unit Meetings are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday: 9:30 a. m. November 18, 2015 Vantage House, 5400 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, MD
(Presenter, Carole Conors)
Thursday: 7:00 p.m. November 19, 2015 at Oakland Manor, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, MD
(Presenter, Elaine Apter)

FS 2015-09 LWVUS Amending the Constitution REV

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