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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

December 19, 2013

In This Issue:

ADVOCACY

  • League Files Brief in Kobach v. EAC (NEW)
  • League Supports Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013 (NEW)
  • LWVUS Legislative Priorities (Reminder)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • High School Voter Registration: Now’s the Time (NEW)
  • Working to Protect the Vote – Looking Towards Election Reforms in 2014 (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • It’s Roster Updating Time! (Reminder)
  • Webinar Opportunity: Internships! (Reminder)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • 10 Ways the League is Making Democracy Work in 2013 (NEW)

OTHER

  • Agriculture Update (NEW)
  • UN Commission on the Status of Women March 2014 Event!  Registration Deadline is January 15, 2014 (NEW)
  • Program Planning Response Form Online (Reminder)
  • Make a Donation from your IRA in 2013 (Reminder)

Bylaws Amendments Due on March 1, 2014

One of the many important business items at national convention is the review and possible amendment of the LWVUS Bylaws

The process Leagues should use to propose an amendment is posted online.

All proposed amendments are reviewed by the Bylaws Committee, which includes: Norman Turrill, Chair (LWVUS), Mary Klenz (LWVUS), Alice Bartelt (OR), Chris Carson (CA), and Gerry Cummins (CO).  Their service is appreciated! 

Questions? Contact LWVUS staffer Kelly McFarland Stratman at kmcfarland@lwv.org

Glad You Asked!

This section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know. If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

Will the LWVUS office be open over the holidays? 

Yes, the office will be open most days.  We are officially closed on December 24, 25, 31 and on January 1. 

However, please note that many staff members are taking leave during the holidays to spend time with family. Messages will be responded to as quickly as possible as individuals return to work.  The entire staff wishes you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season!

If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

Dear Supporter,

This is the last Update of the year. LWVUS Board and staff, like League members around the country will be taking time with family and friends to reflect on the successes of the past year and prepare for the challenges of the New Year. Like every year, we look back on some disappointments, like the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder and the renewed assault on voting rights in many of the states. Overall, however, we should celebrate the hard work that we have done together in League to protect voters and Making Democracy Work® in our communities.

An overview of our work in 2013 recently appeared on the Huffington Post. The list is impressive. This was not a federal election year, but voter service continued as many states and localities selected leaders and decided ballot issues. League volunteers registered new voters, prepared voter guides and held candidate forums. In court, we intervened to protect the vote and in state legislatures, we continued to oppose legislation limiting voter access to the polls.

In addition to voting rights, Leagues have been on the front lines defending the environment, educating and advocating for the Affordable Care Act, especially pushing states to expand Medicaid. Making Democracy Work is more than just a tag line, for our wonderful volunteers, it is a way of life.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, see you next year!

In League,

Description: Elisabeth

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League Leaders:
To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. Please note that this is an internal communication that provides both announcements and opportunities meant only for your members and League, as well as updates on important news and events. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.

Advocacy

League Files Brief in Kobach v. EAC (NEW)
The League of Women Voters of the United States joined with the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the League of Women Voters of Arizona to file a brief on the merits in Kobach v. EAC in U.S. District Court. The Leagues won a successful bid to intervene in this case after arguing that the decision of the states of Arizona and Kansas to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote impacts the work that the League does to register voters.

League Supports Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013 (NEW)
The League joined with other organizations in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging support for S. 1410, the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013. The legislation would provide for reduction in lengthy sentences for certain people convicted of non-violent drug offenses, thereby addressing some of the causes for the unsustainable and unnecessary growth in the federal prison population.  The League’s support for S. 1410 is based on the LWVUS Sentencing Policy Position adopted by delegates to Convention 2012.

LWVUS Legislative Priorities (Reminder)
In January, the LWVUS Board of Directors will be setting the League Legislative Priorities for the upcoming year. Setting these priorities for LWVUS action at the national level is an annual responsibility for the Board. Once again, the Board is soliciting suggestions for LWVUS advocacy priorities from members. If you are interested in making suggestions to the Board, please consider the goals and criteria as listed below. While the LWVUS has numerous positions under which we might take action, the Board must prioritize and consider those issues where we might be able to make a difference.

According to the LWVUS Impact on Issues, the goals for setting priorities to guide the LWV advocacy work are to: (1) Enhance the League's effectiveness by concentrating resources on priority issues; (2) Build the League's credibility and visibility by projecting a focused and consistent image; (3) Ensure that the League has sufficient issue and political expertise to act knowledgeably; and (4) Enable the League to manage resources effectively. In setting legislative priorities, the Board considers the following: (1) Opportunities for the League to make an impact; (2) Program decisions made at Convention and/or Council; (3) Member interest; and (4) Resources available to manage effectively.

If you would like to make suggestions for LWVUS advocacy priorities, please email Advocacy Committee Chair Toni Larson at toni.larson@gmail.com. Please indicate whether the suggestions are from an individual member, a committee, board or membership meeting. Suggestions must be received by January 11.

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Education Fund - Elections

High School Voter Registration: Now’s the Time (NEW)
Is your League interested in conducting high school voter registration? If so, the League’s research shows that the spring is the best time to do it! Get a head start and begin planning your spring effort now. For helpful ideas, download our handy high school voter registration training manual.

Working to Protect the Vote - Looking Towards Election Reforms in 2014 (NEW)
Last week, we blogged about how 2013 has been one of the most active years related to voting rights this country has ever seen. This week we take a look forward to 2014, where we hope to build upon this year’s victories and focus on proactive election reforms, while also continuing to battle attacks on voters’ rights at the local, state and national levels.

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Membership & leadership

It’s Roster Updating Time! (Reminder)
January 31 is the deadline for Leagues to update their member roster for FY2014-15. Tips on renewing members, including a renewal letter template, are available here.  We want to reward you for the great work that your League is doing to recruit and retain members and to keep the member database as up-to-date as possible.  As a way of saying thank you for all the hard work that Leagues do in maintaining these records, we are offering prizes including Staples gift cards and FREE registration to LWVUS Convention 2014 to contest winners.  Find out how to be entered to win. For assistance on working in the database, download the user manual or contact database@lwv.org.

Webinar Opportunity: Internships! (Reminder)
“When you work at LWV, you know that you are working towards something important and doing your part to make our political climate more civil and productive,” says Alex Clearfield, a recent intern at LWVUS. Learn how your League can help to educate the next generation of leaders while getting some extra help on the League’s important work by joining a webinar on January 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM ET. Sponsored by the Young People’s Task Force, the webinar will focus on how internships can be mutually beneficial for Leagues and students, the most effective ways to attract the best interns for the specific projects your League is working on and how best to manage, mentor and advise your interns.

Use this online registration form to sign up for the January 9th webinar.

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Communications

10 Ways the League is Making Democracy Work in 2013 (NEW)
Read President MacNamara’s year-end Huffington Post article on how the League is Making Democracy Work in 2013. Thanks to each of you for your hard work and dedication - without your help and support, we would not have so many accomplishments to share. Don’t forget to comment on the post and share it on your League’s social network channels!

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OTHER

Agriculture Update (NEW)
The LWVUS Board has adopted consensus questions and these are now online in the Agriculture Update group of the LWVUS Forums at: http://forum.lwv.org/group/agriculture-update and in the members resource section of the website. These questions and more resource papers will soon be posted on the website at: http://www.lwv.org/member-resources/agriculture-update.

A Leaders’ Guide will be available in early January. This will include annotated consensus questions with references to those resource papers that may be important to answering each question. The deadline for consensus reports was previously tentatively set for April 4. The deadline has now been pushed back to April 18 to allow Leagues a bit more time to conduct consensus meetings.

UN Commission on the Status of Women March 2014 Event!  Registration Deadline is January 15, 2014 (NEW)
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) will be held from March 10-21 2014 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The priority theme is "Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls". The Commission will also evaluate progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from CSW55 in 2011 on "Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women's equal access to full employment and decent work".  League members are able to attend this important conference.  Please contact Mary Fox at mvfox@optonline.net to attend no later than January 15, 2014. We are limited in the number of participants--so please register with Mary early.

Program Planning Response Form Online (Reminder)
The Program Planning Response Form is now online! Every two years state and local Leagues and ILO’s participate in the LWVUS Program Planning process by making recommendations concerning program issues. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Read the Program Planning Leaders Guide to assist you in your January/February 2014 Program Planning meeting. If you have questions on the program planning process please email progplan@lwv.org.

Make a Donation from your IRA in 2013 (Reminder)
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 reinstated the “IRA charitable rollover” through the end of 2013. The law allows individuals 70½ and older to give up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs to qualified charitable organizations such as the League of Women Voters Education Fund without having to treat the withdrawals as taxable income. The transfer, if done properly, counts towards the taxpayer’s required minimum distribution for the year, and can be of particular value to individuals who do not claim itemized deductions on their tax return because the funds are transferred directly to nonprofits from IRA accounts and are never counted as income. Every donor’s circumstances are different, so please consult with your tax advisor to see if an IRA rollover is right for you. Please contact Aimee Olivo in the League’s Development office at 202-263-1355 or aolivo@lwv.org for additional information.

Donate to the League and support our work.

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