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Leaders Update


February 2, 2012

TODAY: February 2, 1887 – Groundhog Day celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: Campaign Finance Reform – Top Legislative Priority (NEW)
  • Campaign Finance Reform Task Force (NEW)
  • LWVUS/EF Boards Announce Power the Vote Initiative (NEW)

CONVENTION

  • National Convention Webinar Series: Register Today to Participate! (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • LWV Legislative Priorities for 2012 (NEW)
  • Take the FEC Petition Challenge!
  • EPA Must Act Without Delay to Limit GHG Emissions from Power Plants, Refineries (NEW)
  • Three More Months until Earth Day – April 22, 2012 (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary; Openness in Government; Global Democracy)

  • Elections: Voter Suppression Assault Continues into this Year’s State Legislative Sessions: (New)
  • Elections: Florida League Goes Mobile (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary:  Spartanburg (SC) League’s Judicial Diversity Contest Featured On South Carolina ETV Radio (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: Charleston School of Law Diversity Panel to Feature SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell (NEW)
  • Save the Date: Sunshine Week Webcast (NEW)
  • Global Democracy: People-to-People Travel to Cuba

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Congratulations and Welcome to Our 2012-2014 Class of Ruth S. Shur Fellows (NEW)
  • THANK YOU for Updating Your Online Roster (NEW)
  • Visibility Opportunity: The League’s 92nd Birthday (NEW)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • LWVUS Board Adopts League Logo Policy (NEW)
  • Our New Website and Internet Browsers

OTHER

  • Online Store Sale (NEW)
  • You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

Dear League Leader:

As we heard from Leagues, campaign finance reform emerged as a top legislative priority. The Board discussed possible approaches to the issue and approved the creation of a Campaign Finance Reform Task Force, as well as making the issue a legislative priority. (See application information below this message.) The Task Force will be charged with exploring interim and long term solutions for the purpose of educating our members and the public as well as informing our advocacy at all levels of League. The 2012 election provides an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the implications of unlimited money in elections and to advocate for the reforms that can be achieved legislatively, including improved disclosure and tighter limitations on what constitutes an “independent” expenditure. As you know, most of the special interest big money flowing into elections this year is for so-called “independent” spending.

In related action, the Board determined that the League is not in a position, at this time, to support a Constitutional amendment in this area or the efforts currently underway to encourage state legislatures to adopt resolutions in support of a Constitutional amendment. The Board concluded that too many questions about this approach remained unanswered. The Supreme Court in Citizens United used several well-established legal concepts to create an elections funding formula that leaves a legal tangle among “independent” expenditures, so-called corporate free speech, freedom of the press and the meaning of “person” under the Constitution. Constitutional solutions will have implications beyond campaign finance, and we need to build on our solid reputation among lawmakers for proposing well-considered solutions to difficult policy problems.

There is no better time to bring to bear on this issue the League’s considerable reputation and member expertise. Looking beyond 2012 and the legislation we are currently pushing, a task force of members with experience and training in campaign finance and constitutional law will prove invaluable in tackling long-term reform.

In League,

Elisabeth

Campaign Finance Reform Task Force (NEW)
As noted in the President’s message above, a Campaign Finance Reform Task Force of members with experience and expertise in campaign finance and constitutional law will prove invaluable as the League tackles long-term reform. Members, with an interest in this issue as well as expertise and background in campaign finance and constitutional law, who would like to apply to serve on this Task Force may do so here. Applications are due by March 1, 2012.

LWVUS/EF Boards Announce “Power the Vote” Initiative (NEW)
The LWVUS and LWVEF Boards adopted a comprehensive “Power the Vote” initiative designed to maximize voter protection advocacy, registration, education and mobilization priorities in 2012. The campaign will set goals and leverage resources at all levels of the League in order to serve as many voters as possible this year. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks and at the National Convention in June!


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CONVENTION

National Convention Webinar Series: Register Today to Participate! (NEW)
Ahhh...in February, League minds and hearts turn to thoughts of spring...which means Convention! We mean to Power the Vote throughout this – the League’s 50th – National Convention with exciting speakers, energetic workshops and awards. We've added a healthy dose of "fun" activities, too. You can be a part of one of the most exciting conventions to date. Newcomers and experienced attendees, you will want to know more details. Join Convention Chair Marcia Merrins and Cheryl Graeve for the first of two webinars on February 21 at 1:00 pm ET. Register for the webinar here.

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ADVOCACY

LWVUS Legislative Priorities for 2012 (NEW)
The LWVUS Board established the following as Legislative Priorities for 2012: Voter Protection, Campaign Finance Reform, Environmental Defense and Health Care Defense. In addition, these items were included on the LWVUS Watch List for 2012: Fair Taxation, CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), UN Support and Immigration. Items on the Watch List will be acted upon if the opportunity arises for League action, it does not interfere with action on an LWVUS Priority and it appears the LWVUS can make an impact.
The Board considered many issues and the responses from members suggesting Legislative Priorities. The decisions were based on what issues are likely to come before the 112th Congress, the opportunities to make an impact, program decisions made by members at the last Convention, member interest and resources available to manage these priorities effectively. The Board reviews these priorities throughout the year, making changes if necessary.

Take the FEC Petition Challenge!
We have until February 10, just eight more days, to get 25,000 signatures asking the Obama administration to appoint new commissioners to the FEC, and we cannot do it without your help! With campaign spending spinning out of control, now is the time to replace members of the Federal Election Commission, which is refusing to enforce the campaign laws that are supposed to protect our elections from special interests. Take the challenge to sign the petition and forward it on to a friend or share this message on facebook and twitter. If you need help troubleshooting the sign-in process, use our helpful step-by-step guide.

EPA Must Act Without Delay to Limit GHG Emissions from Power Plants, Refineries (NEW)
Power plants and refineries account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. EPA regulation of these two key sources of global warming pollution is long overdue. This two-page fact sheet reviews the status of the EPA's development of performance standards for power plants and refineries and provides talking points you can use to advocate for EPA regulations with your Members of Congress and/or incorporate into an op-ed piece for your local newspaper. Find more information about the EPA's efforts to regulate GHG emissions and toxic air pollutants in the Clean Air Defense section of the Toolkit for Climate Action. In addition, consider placing a link to the toolkit on your League's website to assist members of your League and your community in finding this helpful resource.

Three More Months until Earth Day – April 22, 2012 (NEW)
Every April, in communities around the globe, people come together to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement – the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 – and to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. Make plans now for your League to participate in this campaign to advance sustainability, at home and around the world. Standing up for environmental protection is particularly important right now given the fierce attacks on the EPA and its efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollutants. Find more information and ideas for your Earth Day celebration here. And for more information about the EPA's important regulatory efforts, visit the Clean Air Defense section of the Toolkit for Climate Action. 

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EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary; Openness in Government; Global Democracy)

Elections: Voter Suppression Assault Continues into this Year’s State Legislative Sessions: (New)
The relentless assault on voting rights continues to sweep across the country. Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Virginia, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire and North Carolina are among the states seeing the introduction and/or reintroduction of new bills that, if passed, could disenfranchise millions of voters across the country. An example of this unrelenting attack is playing out in South Carolina where two new laws – one that will place harsh restrictions on independent voter registration drives and another that will require proof of citizenship as a pre-requisite to voting – have been introduced. This is in addition to their voter photo ID law that was passed in 2011, but was denied pre-clearance by the US DOJ, and is now making its way through the courts. Learn more about the situation in South Carolina here. Virginia’s new photo ID law passed its House this week. Read more here.

Elections: Florida League Goes Mobile (NEW)
As presidential candidates pounded the campaign trail this week, the Florida League debuted an innovative “Be Ready to Vote” mobile campaign, designed to help inform Florida voters about their current registration status and increase voter turnout at the polls. Through the efforts, mobile phone users are prompted to enter their name and date of birth to check their voter status, update their voter information or have their questions answered by an elections official. What new technologies are you using to reach voters this year? Tell us on Facebook!

Fair Judiciary:  Spartanburg (SC) League’s Judicial Diversity Contest Featured On South Carolina ETV Radio (NEW)
On Monday, January 23, Linda Bilanchone, LWV of Spartanburg County (SC), was interviewed on ETV Radio’s “Speaking of Schools” about the launch of the League’s judicial diversity contest for high school students, with audio available online (segment begins at the 25:50). Submissions will be shared for public comment on the League of Women Voters of Spartanburg County’s Facebook Page for the Contest, “The Gavel.” You are invited to “like” and review the entries.

Fair Judiciary: Charleston School of Law Diversity Panel to Feature SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell (NEW)
On February 10, the LWV of South Carolina will sponsor a panel, “Fitness to Practice: What It Means for Attorneys and the Judicial System,” at the 4th annual Law & Society Symposium in Charleston, which is open to the public. This panel will consider the issue of "fitness to practice" as it impacts South Carolina’s judicial selection system. Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives  Bobby Harrell will give introductory remarks.  Confirmed panelists include University of South Carolina Professor Emeritus John Freeman, Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) member; State Rep. John Davis Harrell, JMSC member; State Rep. David J. Mack III, JMSC member; and Frances P. Segars-Andrews, former South Carolina family court judge. Charleston School of Law Professor Constance Anastapoulo will moderate.

Save the Date: Sunshine Week Webcast (NEW)
The 7th annual Sunshine Week National Webcast will be broadcast on Friday, March 16, 1-3 pm ET. This year's webcast will be part of the Freedom Forum's 14th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference at the Newseum, Washington, DC.  Leagues can participate in the live webcast by submitting their questions and comments to panelists via email and phone. Information about the program will be published in the Update as it becomes available. 

Global Democracy: People-to-People Travel to Cuba
The League of Women Voters Education Fund, in close partnership with the Education Fund of the Florida League, is offering several opportunities for League members to travel to Cuba in 2012. Find more information here.

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MEMBERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP

Congratulations and Welcome to Our 2012-2014 Class of Ruth S. Shur Fellows (NEW)
The LWVUS Selection Committee has chosen 15 individuals to join the Ruth S. Shur Fellow national coaching team of dedicated and experienced League volunteers, who partner with state coaching teams across the country to strengthen the League: Tracy Adkison (GA), Julie Arneth (WI), Mary Ann Burtt (SC), Lineah Davey (CO), Georgia DeGregorio (NY), Sarah Diefendorf (CA), Caroline Emmons-Schramm (FL), Connie Ferguson (MI), Judy Golberg (WA), Florence Hedeen (MN), Marcia Hirshberg (MA), Deborah MacMillan (NJ), Gini McGirr (AZ), and Sandy Spence (DE).

THANK YOU for Updating Your Online Roster (NEW)
Thank you to all the League members who updated the online roster! This year’s reporting process was our smoothest one yet. We appreciate the efforts of all League leaders to keep the database as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Changes you made in the LWVUS membership database before February 1, 2012 will be reflected in your League’s SUMMARY SHEET and will ensure correct PMP billing and Convention delegate representation in 2012. If you have any questions, please contact membership@lwv.org.

Visibility Opportunity: The League’s 92nd Birthday (NEW)
The League’s 92nd birthday is February 14.  Use this media hook to gain visibility for your League and its work by customizing this template.

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COMMUNICATIONS

LWVUS Board Adopts League Logo Policy (NEW)
At its meetings this past weekend, the Board adopted a League Logo Policy stating that all Leagues should use our family identity (our logo) and the guidelines for use of the standard logo and the new online logo. You will find everything here, including the guidelines for use and downloadable logo versions. You will need to register and login as a member (not a League) to access the logos. To get to the Logo page, first login, then go to “Member,” then “League Essentials,” then “Policies, Bylaws and Guidelines,” then “League Logo Graphic Files and Usage Policy.”

Our New Website and Internet Browsers
If you are having difficulty accessing the new website, one major cause could be the version of the Internet browser you are using (e.g., Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome). You might need to upgrade to a newer version as our new website was built to current web standards. Upgrading is often easy to do and a good practice anyway. Here is a list of the most common browsers and the versions required for smooth operations: Internet Explorer higher than 7, Firefox higher than 3.6, and newer versions of Google Chrome and Safari. Unfortunately, AOL web browsers do not follow the web browser standards and can encounter issues on many websites. If you have questions, our League Geeks are prepared to help you. You may contact them online (choose “technical support”) or email LWVUS Board Member Norman Turrill at LWVTurrill@mac.com.

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OTHER

Online Store Sale (NEW)
From now until the end of February the online store is holding a sale of logo items for $2.00 + shipping and handling.  

You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Some things never change even in these challenging economic times. The League of Women Voters Education Fund continues to be at the forefront of public policy issue education which allows citizens to thoughtfully engage in the democratic process. By making a gift of cash or securities of $5,000 or more to the LWVEF Pooled Income Fund, you can receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift's value and continue earning a quarterly return on the interest earned for life. Best of all, you can name your state and/or local League, along with the LWVEF, to benefit from the residual funds when you're gone. For more information, please contact the Development office at 202-263-1355 or plannedgiving@lwv.org.

"Like" the League on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters and connect with us on Twitter: @LWV.
Donate to the League and support our work.

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