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Leaders Update

In This Issue:

May 26, 2011

YESTERDAY: May 25, 1928 – Amelia Earhart (as a passenger) is 1st woman to fly Atlantic Ocean

ADVOCACY

  • League Continues Clean Air Defense Project (NEW)
  • League Opposes Elimination of Election Assistance Commission (NEW)
  • League Urges Senators to Consider Important Principles in Budget Negotiations (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • How Have YOU Shaped Your Community as a League Member? (NEW)
  • Marcia’s Membership Moment: Advice on Running the League (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary)

  • Elections: Voter Protection Project (NEW)
  • Elections: Resources for a Winning Voter Registration Drive (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: LWVSC Convention Highlights Diversity in the Judiciary (NEW)

OTHER

  • Is Your Retirement Plan Up for Double Taxation? (NEW)

 

ADVOCACY

League Continues Clean Air Defense Project (NEW)
The League’s work this past month defending the Clean Air Act and holding Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) accountable for their votes to block new air pollution standards has received significant visibility.  Earlier today the New York Times published a story noting the impact our accountability ads have had on this vital issue. “League leaders were motivated by what they perceived as a shift from treating air pollution as a health threat to one based more on the economic impact of new rules.” The accountability ads, which aired for two weeks in early May, called on both Senators to “protect the people, not the polluters." This effort has made an impact on this vital public health issue and raised the importance of protecting clean air.

League Opposes Elimination of Election Assistance Commission (NEW)
League President Elisabeth MacNamara sent a letter to the Committee on House Administration urging members to oppose HR 672, which would terminate the Election Assistance Commission and transfer some of its functions to the Federal Election Commission.

League Urges Senators to Consider Important Principles in Budget Negotiations (NEW)
The League and coalition partners sent a letter to Senators urging them to consider a number of important principles as they vote on budget proposals.

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MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

How Have YOU Shaped Your Community as a League Member? (NEW)
The LWVUS is working in partnership with state and local Leagues across the country to strengthen the League to better serve democracy. Please help us by submitting your personal story to the League Storybank. Tell us how you have improved your community by being a League member. Your story will help demonstrate the value of League membership in powerful way. Submit your story here. Have questions? Contact Sara Richman at SRichman@lwv.org.

Marcia’s Membership Moment: Advice on Running the League (NEW)
Looking for some advice on membership issues or running your League effectively? LWVUS Board Member Marcia Merrins is here to help! Check out Marcia’s Membership Moments for fun and helpful tidbits that may come in handy for successfully leading your League. Read the most recent moment to find out about preparing your League for change.

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EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary)

Elections: Voter Protection Project (NEW)
Minnesota is the latest addition to the states that have passed voter suppression legislation recently. Its legislature passed a voter ID bill over the weekend, but MN Governor Dayton is expected to veto it. The other five states are: FL, SC, MO, KS and WI. New requirements in some of the new laws include: requiring photo ID to vote (some of the most restrictive ever passed); burdensome and unreasonable restrictions on voter registration drives (the LWVFL was forced to stop its voter registration campaigns); shortening early voting periods; and increasing residency requirements so that it’s virtually impossible for out-of-state college students to vote. One fundamental League argument against photo ID is that it erects barriers to voting which disproportionately affect minority populations. Read a new study, “Does Access to Required Forms of Identification Vary across the Population?”

Elections: Resources for a Winning Voter Registration Drive (NEW)
As Leagues begin planning voter registration activities for the fall, the LWVEF is providing new resources for organizing successful registration drives. With the right planning, relationship-building and record-keeping, a registration drive can help bring visibility to your League and attract new members—all while helping individuals in your community register, vote and be counted. View a Registration Tip Sheet here. Additionally, we urge Leagues to take advantage of Project Vote’s state-specific guides to voter registration and the League’s newest voter registration manual, Empowering the Voters of Tomorrow, a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to developing winning high school voter registration programs and encouraging young people to register and vote. This manual is available for purchase in the online store (just $1 each, including s/h!) and also available for free download here.

Fair Judiciary: LWVSC Convention Highlights Diversity in the Judiciary (NEW)
The LWV of South Carolina Convention on May 14-15 featured “Safeguarding U.S. Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary.” The program included keynote remarks from the Honorable Ruth McGregor, former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, and the presentation of the 2011 “Spirit of Democracy Award” to the Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Jr., former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Panel sessions on both days addressed judicial topics. The Convention attracted 80 attendees and local media coverage. Read the articles here and here.

OTHER

Is Your Retirement Plan Up for Double Taxation? (NEW)
Did you know that many retirement plan assets, like IRAs, face double taxation when they’re paid out to your heirs as part of your estate?  That’s because assets in retirement plans funded with pretax dollars are considered "income in respect of a decedent."  So, not only might estate taxes take a bite out of the amount left to your heirs, but your heirs will have to pay income tax on the amount as well! If you’re in a position to do so, you might consider instead leaving your retirement plan assets as a charitable gift to the League of Women Voters Education Fund. Your gift will provide much needed support for the League’s work and reduce the tax burdens on your heirs. We recommend that you first consult your estate planning advisor, then contact the retirement plan administrator about your decision.  It might just be a matter of signing new beneficiary forms. For more information on this and other planned giving opportunities, please contact the League at 202-263-1355 or plannedgiving@lwv.org.

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