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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

FEBRUARY 5, 2015

Dear Friend,

Every year, the LWVUS Board meets in January to, among many other things, set federal legislative priorities for the year. The League has many positions from which to take action but establishing a focus for our national advocacy is a critical responsibility of the LWVUS Board as it is for every League Board. We cannot be all things to all people and remain an effective voice in any legislative body. In setting legislative priorities the Board considers a number of factors the most important of which is focusing League effort where it can have the greatest impact. For 2015 the LWVUS legislative priorities are, as usual, ranked in two tiers. The first tier priorities are voting rights and election administration and money in politics; the second tier priorities are climate and environmental protection, immigration and health care including reproductive choice.

As I noted a few weeks ago, President Obama, in his State of the Union address, devoted a lot of time to what he called middle class economics. Practical political considerations dictate that the League, at the national level, can most effectively work for the greatest good by focusing on core democracy issues. Much of the inequality, economic and otherwise, that exists in our society results from uneven and unequal access and participation at the ballot box and beyond. However, the LWVUS Board reminds Leagues that we have a national position on Meeting Basic Human Needs that includes the following statement: “People who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and access to health care.” The Board is aware that in setting their own legislative priorities for this year, there are communities in which League Boards may find both the interest and the opportunity to take action on local or state legislation to which this position may apply. Every League Board has the serious responsibility to do its due diligence on any proposed legislation that addresses Meeting Basic Human Needs and judge whether there is member understanding and agreement that the proposed legislation meets the criteria quoted above. If it does, then the Board should carefully deliberate and make a decision based upon both the position and the needs of its own community. What fits other communities can only be addressed by the relevant League.

With the understanding that the LWVUS Board has not interpreted this provision of our position on Meeting Basic Human Needs to define a so-called ‘living wage’ at the national level or to support a federal minimum wage, action on state or local legislation using this or any other national position is in the discretion of the League Board at that governmental level. At the national level, Board and staff will continue to say that we have no member understanding and agreement as to a definition of a ‘living wage’ and that we cannot support a federal minimum wage, on the other hand, we do not presume to anticipate every possible legislative scenario that Leagues may confront in their own communities to which the language of the Meeting Basic Human Needs position may apply.

Questions regarding the application of this position at the state and local level may be directed to LWVUS Advocacy Chair Chris Carson at carsonlwv@yahoo.com.

In League,

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League Leaders

To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. Please note that this is an internal communication that provides both announcements and opportunities meant only for your members and League, as well as updates on important news and events. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.

IN THIS ISSUE:

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Thank you to the Roster Managers! (NEW)
  • Budgeting for FY2015—2016 (NEW)
  • LWV is 95 Years Strong—Templates Available (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • 2015 LWVUS Legislative Priorities (NEW)
  • State Legislative Calls for a Constitutional Convention (NEW)
  • Redistricting Task Force to Continue Through Convention 2016 (NEW)
  • Interpreting the Meeting Basic Human Needs Position (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Voter Registration Toolkits for Reaching Young People, New Citizens (REMINDER)
  • Join VOTE411 in 2015! (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Timeline for Money in Politics Review and Update and Constitutional Amendment Study (NEW)

OTHER

  • Clearinghouse: State and Local Program Planning? Here’s the Plan (REMINDER)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Thank you to the Roster Managers! (NEW)
A big THANK YOU to all of the Leagues that updated their member rosters! Roster managers and their meticulous attention to detail provide a solid foundation for the organization and assure the functionality of our local and state Leagues. We have several awards to announce, stay tuned for next week’s Update!

Budgeting for FY2015—2016 (NEW)
As annual meeting and state convention time approaches, many Leagues are beginning to build their budgets for the upcoming year. Here’s some information to help your League with this process:

  1. The PMP rate for FY2015—2016 (as set by Convention 2014 delegates) is $32 per member. (Additional household members and student members pay only 50% of this rate.)

  2. The 2016 LWVUS Convention will be held June 16-18 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. The registration fee is $335 per attendee, and the room rate is $209 per night.

LWV is 95 Years Strong—Templates Available (NEW)
February 14, 2015 marks the League’s 95th anniversary! Learn more about our influence over the decades in our recent blog post: 10 Ways the League of Women Voters has Helped Improve Our Country. Throughout the year, LWVUS will be creating resources and materials for Leagues to help mark this milestone. To get started, use this template press statement with your local papers to help mark our anniversary and use our sample social media content to share our history and our continued efforts Making Democracy Work®. Use these turn-key messages to activate and excite your community and to promote your upcoming work. Watch the League Update for more tools.

ADVOCACY

2015 LWVUS Legislative Priorities (NEW)
The Board adopted the following issues as LWVUS legislative priorities for 2015:

  • First Tier: Voting Rights and Election Administration; Money in Politics
  • Second Tier: Climate and Environmental Protection; Immigration; Health Care, including Reproductive Choice

State Legislative Calls for a Constitutional Convention (NEW)
State Leagues have begun to enquire about taking action on calls for a federal constitutional convention in their state legislatures. The Board agreed that Leagues can oppose such calls when the LWV has a position opposing the substance of a proposal. For example, the LWV has a positon in opposition to a “constitutionally mandated balanced budget for the federal government.” Thus Leagues should oppose a call for a constitutional convention on a balanced budget. Likewise the LWV opposes term limits for members of the House and Senate and thus opposes a constitutional convention to establish such limits.

The Board was quite aware of the pending League study on the processes of a constitutional convention, and agreed that completing that study should provide a position that would allow Leagues to take timely action on the procedural and process questions concerning a constitutional convention.

Redistricting Task Force to Continue Through Convention 2016 (NEW)
The Board agreed that the Redistricting Task Force should continue its work through the 2016 convention. The task force is aiming to develop a position on redistricting reform for concurrence, working with state Leagues on reform proposals in the states, and planning to provide very basic educational materials to Leagues.

Interpreting the Meeting Basic Human Needs Position (NEW)
The Board discussed the Meeting Basic Human Needs Position in relation to income inequality. The Board determined that the position can be used in communities in “working toward an income that meets basic human needs.” The committee agreed that specific issues in relation to a “living wage” and income levels should be decided by Leagues working in their communities. The Board also agreed to call attention to the Meeting Basic Human Needs Position with Leagues since it contains many elements that address current needs in communities across the country.

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

Voter Registration Toolkits for Reaching Young People, New Citizens (REMINDER)
LWVEF updated its popular Empowering the Voters of Tomorrow training manual for 2015! This publication features a step-by-step guide for conducting effective high school voter registration drives. The manual is also chock-full of customizable planning checklists, template media statements, talking points, activity ideas and other materials to help you stay on track and get the most out of any registration event. As a reminder, there is also a naturalization ceremony voter registration toolkit available for Leagues seeking to reach new citizens, as well as guidance for incorporating online voter registration into your community registration drives. Thanks to the many Leagues and other partners who provided feedback to make these training resources possible. Let’s get to work registering new voters this spring!

Join VOTE411 in 2015! (REMINDER)
Does your community have any elections in 2015? LWVEF would like to provide this information on VOTE411 to help inform voters of any upcoming elections in their area! Please send the following information to Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org): election date, location (city, town, county name, etc.), type of election (School Board, City Council, etc.) and any other information voters might need.

EDUCATION FUND - STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Timeline for Money in Politics Review and Update and Constitutional Amendment Study (NEW)
At the January Board meeting, the LWVUS Board approved an overall timeline for the Money in Politics Review and Update and the Constitutional Amendment Study. All consensus reports from local and state Leagues will be due on February 1, 2016. Be sure to check the Money and Politics Review page and the Constitutional Amendment Study page for regularly updated information and materials.​

OTHER

Clearinghouse: State and Local Program Planning? Here’s the Plan (REMINDER)
With the start of the New Year, many Leagues often focus attention on state and local program planning. Visit the League Clearinghouse, a great resource for program planning, which features League studies in more than 50 subject areas that provide scope and focus of a topic, research methodology, sources consulted, information about positions, and consensus questions. Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without studies, even as multi-position documents, if they are accompanied by a single submission form. The description section could have "Resulting Position:" and the position statement or a link to the position. Complete studies are preferred, and Leagues may add study documents at a later date. Share your studies! Share our strength! Just a click away: http://clearinghouse.lwv.org

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