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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update


March 1, 2012

TODAY: March 1, 1987 – Congressional resolution designating March as Women’s History Month is passed

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: Proposed PMP (NEW)

CONVENTION

  • LAST CALL: Program Planning Deadline is Today, March 1!
  • Apply to Win a Convention Award
  • Washington’s Premier Political Satire Group to Perform! (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • LWVUS Ruth S. Shur Fellows Gather to Reinvigorate the League! (NEW)
  • March is Women’s History Month – Celebrate with League! (NEW)
  • Leadership Change? Update Your League Officers in the Database

ADVOCACY

  • Amendment on Limiting Access to Contraceptive Services for Women Defeated! (NEW)
  • League Asks President Obama to Respond to FEC Petition (NEW)
  • LAST CALL: An Opportunity to Use Your Experience and Expertise!

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Privatization Study; Fair Judiciary; Open Government)

  • Elections: Promote Vote 411 and Your Election Work! (NEW)
  • Elections: March 1 Hearing on LWVFL Independent Voter Registration Lawsuit (NEW)
  • Elections: Wisconsin Voters Denied the Right to Vote (NEW)
  • New Privatization Study Materials Online (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: Spokane League Frames Judicial Campaign Training with Discussion of “Why Diversity Matters” (NEW)
  • Sunshine Week Webcast: Updated Information (NEW)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Engage with Us and Share Our Discussions! (NEW)


OTHER

  • Do You Need to Update Your Will?

 

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

Dear League Leader:

Here in Atlanta, March is coming in like a lamb. But for the League, March comes in and goes out like a lion! Convention is coming, and for the LWVUS that means lots of decisions must be made this month in order to give Leagues time to consider proposals for program, bylaws amendments and budget. Program adopted at Convention impacts League calendars for the next two years and the proposed budget impacts state and local budgets if there are adjustments to the per member payment (PMP) rate.

At Convention two years ago, the LWVUS Board agreed to examine the PMP system with a view to making cost sharing from the local to the national level more equitable and predictable. In the interest of getting as much member input as possible, the Budget Committee was tasked with examining the financial picture of the League as a whole, including state and local League financing, in order to better inform the Board and delegates to Council 2011 on possible options.

At Council last year, delegates engaged in a series of exercises designed to help the Board find the best solution to the dilemma we confront every two years. While national PMP represents the majority of the dues collected at the local level, it is an ever dwindling proportion of the national budget because of the decline in membership. The good news is that the combined efforts of all levels of League in the form of the Member and Leadership Development initiative (MLD, formerly the MRI) is beginning to show real progress, but that progress is slow and incremental. A decline in membership produces the twin results of a diminished national budget and increased demand for national support to the state and local Leagues.

At the LWVUS we are proud of the support that we can provide in the form of the MLD, VOTE411, and various pass-through grant and technical assistance opportunities. Support for these programs does not come directly from PMP but depends on PMP to defray the cost of raising other funds. Over the past several years, LWVUS Board and staff have been very successful in multiplying the impact of your PMP dollars and returning those dollars to state and local Leagues in more ways than ever. We are committed to doing so in the next biennium.

For the first time, Convention 2012 delegates will be adopting a two-year budget. The Budget Committee has just met and will be presenting such a budget to the Board at our March meeting. That budget includes several new features and initiatives. Although those will not be final until voted on at Convention, we know that you will be preparing your budgets before then and that it is difficult to do so without knowing the proposed PMP rate. With that in mind, I want to share the proposed PMP level – and the new thinking behind it – with you now.

We, at LWVUS, have spent months researching the options identified by Council 2011 attendees as most likely to meet both national and local League budget needs. The approach in the proposed budget is to index PMP to the cost of living adjustment (COLA) used by the Social Security Administration. There are several advantages to this approach. First, since the Social Security COLA keeps pace with inflation, it does not always rise. Second, it is widely recognized as a fair reflection of the rate of inflation across the country. Finally, because it is well published in the fourth quarter of the prior year, it gives Leagues as much notice as possible of any potential rise in PMP.

Applying the COLA to the 2012-2013 year of the budget, therefore, results in a 3.6 percent increase in PMP, which has been rounded off to an increase of $1.00 to $31.00. If approved at Convention, the PMP for 2013-14 will rise, or not, depending on the COLA announced in December 2012.

In League,

Elisabeth

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CONVENTION

LAST CALL: Program Planning Deadline is Today, 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.

Apply to Win a Convention Award
Has your League been energized using online opportunities with blogs, Facebook and Twitter? Has your League reached out to energize, educate and engage community members who statistically don't vote? Has your League successfully engaged your community on priority issues of the League? Has your League reached into the strength of your members and mobilized them successfully on a League project? If yes, you should apply to win a Convention Award! The deadline is March 15. Apply here.

Washington’s Premier Political Satire Group to Perform! (NEW)
Want to have some laughs about politics in the nation’s capital? Come to National Convention and you’ll get a front-row seat to see the Capitol Steps, Washington’s premier political satire performers. Find more information here.

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MEMBERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP

LWVUS Ruth S. Shur Fellows Gather to Reinvigorate the League! (NEW)
The Ruth S. Shur Fellows team of national coaches came together from across the country this past weekend (February 23-26) for the 3rd annual Ruth S. Shur Leadership Institute. The Ruth S. Shur Fellows act as national coaches to support and strengthen Leagues by working with over 100 state coaches in 41 states. In the words of one Shur Fellow, “It is a privilege to be part of this national endeavor to invigorate democracy.” See photos and learn more here

March is Women’s History Month – Celebrate with League! (NEW)
Women’s History Month is a great time for the League of Women Voters to celebrate its heritage and remind the public that we are here and making a difference! Celebrate Women’s History Month this year by writing a Letter to the Editor, partnering with a local library and providing historical information about the League, or honoring local female community leaders! Remember to connect with your community through your event by inviting the general public to attend and to join the League!

Leadership Change? Update Your League Officers in the Database
If your League has a change in leadership, don’t forget to update your League’s officers’ information in the LWVUS database. If you have any questions or need help, contact Betty Taira.

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ADVOCACY

Amendment on Limiting Access to Contraceptive Services for Women Defeated! (NEW)
Today, the U.S. Senate voted down (51-48) an amendment to an upcoming Transportation bill that would limit access to contraceptive services for women if any employer or insurance plan has a “religious or moral objection” to it. See this Washington Post article on the close vote. Earlier this week, the League had sent out an action alert as well as a letter to Senators, urging opposition to this amendment.

League Asks President Obama to Respond to FEC Petition (NEW)
The League and coalition partners sent this letter to the President to follow up on the WhiteHouse.gov “We the People” petition. The petition was signed by over 25,000 individuals from around the country and called on the President to nominate new commissioners to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) prior to the 2012 elections.

LAST CALL: 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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EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Privatization Study; Fair Judiciary)

Elections: Promote Vote 411 and Your Election Work! (NEW)
With the election season in full swing and Super Tuesday’s ten primaries/caucuses next week, we urge Leagues to promote VOTE411 and all of your valued voter education and voter registration work. Here is a press release template to tailor to your needs so you can raise awareness of your League’s important election activities during this primary/caucus season.

Elections: March 1 Hearing on LWVFL Independent Voter Registration Lawsuit (NEW)
On December 15, 2011, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Rock the Vote and the Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (PIRG) filed suit in federal court in Tallahassee, challenging Florida’s onerous new restrictions on community-based voter registration drives. A preliminary injunction on this issue will be held today. Learn more about the law and the lawsuit here.

Elections: Wisconsin Voters Denied the Right to Vote (NEW)
Last Tuesday, Wisconsin held its first election since implementation of the nation’s most restrictive voter photo ID law. Even though turnout for the local primaries was very light, some individuals were turned away from the polls because they lacked the strict photo ID. Here is a story about a Madison couple that was turned away despite having voted in the same precinct for 40 years.

New Privatization Study Material Online (NEW)
New material is now available here for Leagues as they hold Privatization Study meetings.

Fair Judiciary: Spokane League Frames Judicial Campaign Training with Discussion of “Why Diversity Matters” (NEW)
The LWV of Spokane (WA) will host a panel on “Diversity on the Bench: Why It Matters” on Friday, March 2, 2012, at Gonzaga University School of Law. Panelists will be state judges who have gone through the campaign process. This free public discussion will frame a day of campaign trainings, sponsored by Justice at Stake, a national League partner, for those interested in becoming state judges.

Sunshine Week Webcast:  Updated Information (NEW)
The LWVEF is co-sponsoring the 7th annual Sunshine Week National Discussion, which will be broadcast on Friday, March 16, 1:15-3:30 pm ET. This year's webcast will be broadcast from the Newseum in Washington, DC, and will feature Dana Priest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Top Secret America.  Leagues can participate in the live webcast by submitting their questions and comments to panelists via email and phone. Visit www.openthegovernment.org for a link to the webcast and more information.

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COMMUNICATIONS

Engage with Us and Share Our Discussions! (NEW)
Have you subscribed to our RSS Feed/Blog? If you’re already a subscriber, make sure your subscription is up-to-date. Also, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Come see what’s going on and join some really interesting conversations.

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OTHER

Do You Need to Update Your Will?
Have you moved? Had a child? Gotten married recently? Or maybe there's a new grandchild or stepchild in your life? Any one of these major life events is reason enough to update your will. It is always important to stay in touch with your attorney regarding any changes in estate and probate law. While you're updating your plans, don't forget to include a gift for your favorite charities, like the League of Women Voters Education Fund – to strengthen the pillars of our democracy for years to come. If you have already included a gift for the LWV in your will or trust, but have not previously informed us, or if you have been thinking about setting up a gift that provides income, such as a charitable gift annuity, please contact the Development office by email or at 202-263-1355.

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