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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update


February 23, 2012

TODAY: February 23, 1846 – The Liberty Bell tolls for the last time, to mark George Washington's birthday

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: DISCLOSE Meeting on the Hill (NEW)

CONVENTION

  • Convention Schedule at a Glance (NEW)
  • Convention Awards – Nominate Your League by March 15
  • Reminder: Program Planning Deadline is March 1!

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary)

  • Elections: Leagues Register Hundreds of Young Voters (NEW)
  • Elections: LWVSC President Barbara Zia on PBS (NEW)
  • Elections: Voting Rights Act Under Assault (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: LWV of Black Hawk/Bremer Counties (IA) Hosts Community Forum (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League Opposes S.J. Res. 37 (NEW)
  • March 1 Deadline: An Opportunity to Use Your Experience and Expertise!

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Honor Your 50-Year Members at Your Annual Meeting! (NEW)
  • Membership Brochures Out of Stock (NEW)

OTHER

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

 

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

Dear League Leader:

Anonymous sources of information are problematic in journalism and the law, but appear to pose no dilemma for members of Congress who oppose the DISCLOSE Act. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D MD) has introduced a sleek new version of DISCLOSE focused solely on requiring disclosure of the identities of their donors from big money outside groups like Super PACs.

The League and its partners are supporting the bill, and last Friday we were invited to a meeting with Rep. Van Hollen, Representative Charlie Gonzalez (D TX), Representative Keith Ellison (D MN) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss strategy for passing DISCLOSE.

In Washington last week for the LWV Budget Committee, I was among those who attended the meeting. The focus, it turned out, was not just on DISCLOSE but also on longer-term solutions to the devastation created by Citizens United, including an unspecified Constitutional amendment. As we went around the room describing our various approaches to campaign finance reform, each group, including the League, supported DISCLOSE. On behalf of the League, I was the only one raising any questions about the potential for unintended consequences in the current proposals for an amendment. The response to these concerns can only be described as the same as if we had said the emperor has no clothes. Many in the room quickly began to qualify their support.

We should take great confidence from this that the League’s voice matters as does our thoughtful approach to complex issues. Recently, an article appeared in The New Republic that captures many, if not all, of the issues discussed by the League Board at its January meeting. Perhaps the most telling comment in this article is the suggestion that any Congress willing to pass a Constitutional amendment will also be willing to pass DISCLOSE or even public financing. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do to educate ourselves and the public not just on ways to reform the system, but also on ways to cope with the system until reform is achieved.

In League,

Elisabeth

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CONVENTION

Convention Schedule at a Glance (NEW)
Many of you are making your arrangements to come to the national Convention in June, and we can’t wait to see you! This “Schedule at a Glance” shows you what’s going to happen, starting with a great pre-Convention workshop, “Power Our Voice To Power the Vote,” at 2 pm on Friday, June 8, and concluding with the final plenary at noon on Tuesday, June 12. For those who have never been to a national Convention, learn more about what happens from this webinar recording by Convention Chair Marcia Merrins.

Convention Awards – Nominate Your League by March 15
Has your League been energized using online opportunities with blogs, Facebook and Twitter? Then you should apply for a Convention award!
Has your League reached out to energize, educate and engage community members who are underrepresented in voting? Then apply for a Convention award!
Has your League successfully engaged your community on the League’s priority issues? Then apply for a Convention award!
Has your League reached into the strength of your members and mobilized them successfully on a League project? Then apply for a Convention award!
Deadline is March 15th! Take a few minutes and fill out this easy-to-fill form. We will invite the whole League network to vote for the top winners in each category – so make sure your League’s good work can be included!

Reminder: Program Planning Deadline is March 1
Leagues are reminded to submit online program planning recommendations on or before the March 1, 2012 deadline. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Convention delegates will vote on a final program.

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EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary)

Elections: Leagues Register Hundreds of Young Voters (NEW)
Leagues are working in dozens of communities this spring to help high school students register to vote. One of LWVEF’s partners, the South Bend (IN) League, has already visited four local high schools and collected more than 500 completed registration forms! Are you interested in encouraging registration among young people in your community?  Download our helpful training manual here, and plan to show and/or link to our catchy new “Take Control” online video

Elections: LWVSC President Barbara Zia on PBS (NEW)
This past week, LWVSC President Barbara Zia was featured on PBS’s Religion and Ethics program discussing the impact of the new photo ID law being implemented in the state. The assault on voting rights continues in South Carolina with proof of citizenship requirements and new restrictions on voter registration drive legislation making its way through the legislature this month. View the interview here.

Elections: Voting Rights Act Under Assault (NEW)
As noted last week, we anticipate challenges to the Voting Rights Act before the November elections. Here is an article from Politico that gives a good overview of the challenges we face.

Fair Judiciary: LWV of Black Hawk/Bremer Counties (IA) Hosts Community Forum (NEW)
The LWV of Black Hawk/Bremer Counties (IA) will host a community conversation on “why merit selection of judges is good for Iowa” on February 28, 2012. The panel will feature Iowa Supreme Court Justice Bruce Zager; K.O. Myers, Director of Research and Programs for the American Judicature Society, an LWVUS partner organization; and Scott Peters, associate professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa. They will discuss the structure and function of the Iowa courts, the history of merit selection of judges in Iowa and the recent Varnum ruling's impact on the 2010 retention election.

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ADVOCACY

League Opposes S.J. Res. 37 (NEW)
The League and Coalition partners sent this letter urging the Senate to oppose S.J. Res.37, the Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution sponsored by Senator Inhofe that would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) life-saving Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants. This resolution puts the health of our children and families at risk and threatens the quality of our air and water.

An Opportunity to Use Your Experience and Expertise!
As the League tackles long-term reform, the new Campaign Finance Reform Task Force is seeking members with experience and expertise in campaign finance and constitutional law. If you have an interest in this issue as well as expertise and background in campaign finance and constitutional law, please submit your application to serve on this Task Force here by March 1, 2012.

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MEMBERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP

Honor Your 50-Year Members at Your Annual Meeting! (NEW)
Your annual meeting is a great time to pay tribute to your League’s dedicated 50-year members. Want a certificate to present to your 50-year members? Contact Betty Taira at Membership@lwv.org with the names of the members, your League information and the date by which you need the certificates. Please request certificates at least 2 weeks in advance of your meeting. And, check out LWVUS tips for a successful annual meeting here.

Membership Brochures Out of Stock (NEW)
LWVUS is currently in the process of updating the membership brochure. The current brochure is now out of stock. New membership brochures will be available in May, just in time for your League’s election-related events!

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OTHER

Online Store Sale
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.

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