April 11, 2013
In This Issue:
- U.S. Senate Takes First Vote to Move Gun Safety Legislation Forward (NEW)
- League Comments on Contraceptive Coverage under Affordable Care Act (NEW)
- League Joins “All Risk, No Reward Coalition” on Keystone XL Pipeline (NEW)
- LWVUS Board Outlines Approach to Proposals Regarding Money in Politics; Join the Campaign Finance Task Force (NEW)
COMMUNICATIONS - MAKING CONNECTIONS
- Protecting Our Voting Rights from the States to the Supreme Court (NEW)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- LWVUS Welcomes LWV of Leavenworth County, Kansas! (NEW)
- National Volunteer Week is Coming! Press Template Available (NEW)
- Honor an Outgoing Leader with a Gift for the League’s Future & a Limited Edition Pin!
EDUCATION FUND- ELECTIONS
- LWV Florida Drives Election Reform Forward – Garners Great Deal of Media Coverage (NEW)
- LWVUS Spring Telemarketing Outreach Program Runs April 18 to May 15
Share your studies! Share our strength!
Spring brings Annual Meetings for local Leagues with new studies adopted! Visit the LWV Clearinghouse with League studies in more than 50 subject areas to jumpstart the process!
Just a click away: http://clearinghouse.lwv.org
The cherry blossoms have finally opened in Washington, DC after an unseasonably cold week turned into an unseasonably warm one. Since the National Board meeting ended on Sunday, I have had the pleasure of visiting Leagues in Maryland and Virginia.
Monday morning, I headed to Annapolis, a city I have never visited. Unlike ordinary tourists, I got to visit the floor of the Maryland state senate. It was Sine Die, or the final day of their legislative session, and the League has been instrumental in getting a number of important pieces of legislation passed, including a strong gun safety law and election reform that will enhance access to the polls. Senate President Mike Miller recognized the League for this important work. As we stood on the floor, a spontaneous standing ovation greeted us. What a way to start the day.
There is no better way to see the country than with League. After a delicious lunch with League leaders from around the state where we exchanged thoughts and questions, a number of us took the trolley tour of Annapolis. The tour guide quickly discovered that many of us were Leaguers who knew their state’s history and politics very well. I got to contribute one answer to a trivia question posed by the guide: the only U.S. president to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis was Jimmy Carter.
Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday not just in the state but in the place of my birth, Fairfax and Falls Church, Virginia. But first, I had a great meeting with the election administrator in Arlington, Virginia. Meeting with League members from Arlington, we talked about the latest wrinkle in Virginia election law: two bills passed by the Virginia state assembly modifying the state’s voter photo ID laws. Needless to say, the new legislation significantly limits the acceptable forms of ID making it more difficult for some citizens to vote. The law takes effect in 2014 if it meets the Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and is funded in the 2014 state budget: The law leaves it to the state election board to develop rules for implementation causing uncertainty for local elections officials and for voters who will head to the polls this year to elect statewide officials and the House of Delegates.
Over lunch and dinner, I met with League members from the Fairfax, Falls Church and Arlington Leagues. As always in League, the discussion was lively, productive and informative. No matter how large or small the League, no matter what part of the country, I am always impressed by the important work League does and the difference it makes to the community. The national president has many roles, but none is better than head cheerleader, especially for such a winning team!
U.S. Senate Takes First Vote to Move Gun Safety Legislation Forward (NEW)
The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to move S. 649, by a vote of 68-31, to proceed to debate. Tell your Senator that you support this legislation and accompanying amendments as they begin debate on this important issue.
League Comments on Contraceptive Coverage under Affordable Care Act (NEW)
The League joined with other organizations concerned about women's reproductive health in submitting comments on regulations proposed by the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) regarding preventive services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The comments urge HHS to keep the religious exemption narrow in order to protect access to preventative care such as contraceptive coverage. The comments note that under the ACA, the regulations must provide seamless contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing for women.
League Joins “All Risk, No Reward Coalition” on Keystone XL Pipeline (NEW)
This week LWVUS and LWV Nebraska joined the “All Risk, No Reward Coalition” on the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline. The coalition will be working in the coming weeks to encourage President Obama and the State Department to reject the permit for the proposed KXL Pipeline. For more information about the coalition, check out the press release and the first ad that the coalition launched.
LWVUS Board Outlines Approach to Proposals Regarding Money in Politics; Join the Campaign Finance Task Force (NEW)
The LWVUS, at its board meeting on April 7, adopted this statement regarding forthcoming proposals for work on issues related to money in politics. This statement is intended to clarify the stance the League is taking on such proposals going forward. In addition, LWVUS is looking for people willing to work as part of the Campaign Finance Task Force. Over the next few months, the task force will be developing a discussion guide and evaluating constitutional and legislative proposals. Please submit your name to Toni Larson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director, LWVUS, by April 19.
Communications - Making Connections
Protecting Our Voting Rights from the States to the Supreme Court (NEW)
Last week, President MacNamara published a new blog on the Huffington Post discussing the heightened level of activity around voting rights in state legislatures up through the U.S. Supreme Court. Be sure to read this important piece and share it on your League’s social media channels.
Membership and Leadership
LWVUS Welcomes LWV of Leavenworth County, Kansas! (NEW)
The Board of Directors of LWVUS recognized a new local League last week - LWV of Leavenworth County, Kansas. LWV of Leavenworth County has held a mock presidential election for children, hosted forums on issues including voter ID laws and the Affordable Care Act, and is already active online and in social media. LWVUS welcomes them to the League family and extends a special thanks to LWV of Kansas for mentoring them through the process of becoming a League. Congratulations!
National Volunteer Week is Coming! Press Template Available (NEW)
Highlight your League members’ service to their community during National Volunteer Week, April 21-27. LWVUS prepared a sample press release and we encourage you to distribute it to the media outlets in your area to emphasize your members’ service and maximize your League’s visibility! Remember to thank all your members for their hard work this week and at your annual meeting.
Honor an Outgoing Leader with a Gift for the League’s Future & a Limited Edition Pin!
Show your appreciation for an outgoing League leader with a limited edition League lapel pin and a donation to the future of the League of Women Voters in their name. You may purchase a limited-edition League lapel pin with a $50 donation to the Fund for Local League Growth and join the hundreds of League members investing in our future. Still looking for leaders for your League? Nominating Committee resources are available here.
LWV Florida Drives Election Reform Forward – Garners Great Deal of Media Coverage (NEW)
In the wake of the election debacles in Florida in 2012, LWV of Florida has been fighting to reform the state’s election system. LWVFL conducted a “media call update” earlier this week to discuss the status of current election reform legislation and highlight what is needed to finally fix Florida's electoral dysfunction. Speakers calling in for the media event included Brian Corley, the Legislative Chair of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, Diana Kasdan of the Brennan Center for Justice and Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. Leading the fight on this issue has garnered a great deal of earned media for LWVFL. You can find some examples here, here, here and here. Interested in getting some earned media for your League’s efforts to improve your community? Then check out LWVUS’ Media Tips: Maximize Your Visibility!
LWVUS Spring Telemarketing Outreach Program Runs April 18 to May 15
The LWVUS Development Office wants to alert League leaders that the LWVUS annual spring telemarketing outreach program runs from April 18 through approximately May 15, 2013. During this campaign, national donors, as well as those local members who contribute to LWVUS, are contacted by phone with a request for support. In addition, local members whose League membership has lapsed by more than two years are contacted and given the opportunity to renew membership with their local League. Please direct questions to Rose Simmons.