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The League Update

February 27, 2014

Dear Friend,

There has been so much going on at the national office. Last week, we sent out an action alert and follow up material for League members to send comments to the IRS on the proposed new rules governing political activity by 501(c)(4) groups. Your response has been wonderful. Thanks to everyone who submitted comments in support of the LWVUS position on this rule.  Federal rulemaking takes some time and we look forward to more opportunities for the League’s grassroots to make a difference in protecting our elections from secret money and permitting voters to get the nonpartisan election information that they depend on the League to provide.

Our ongoing efforts to protect voting rights were on display in Wisconsin this week. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin was the first organization to challenge that state’s restrictive voter ID legislation by challenging the law under that state’s constitution. A trial judge issued a permanent injunction back in 2011 that has remained in place while the state appealed the ruling that requiring voters to produce one of a very few forms of photo ID in order to vote added a qualification for voting in Wisconsin in violation of the state constitution. On Tuesday, the state supreme court heard oral argument on the matter. While state League leaders attended those arguments, I was able to support the state effort by appearing to explain the importance of this issue on MSNBC’s program News Nation. We expect a ruling sometime this summer, but thanks to the League of Women Voters, no voter in Wisconsin has been disenfranchised in the five elections held in 2012 and 2013 in that state.

We know national convention is nearing when the LWVUS Budget Committee meets in Washington. The committee has prepared the second two-year budget since Convention amended the national Bylaws. While the national Board will consider and approve the budget in early April, we are pleased to announce that the committee balanced the budget without a per member payment (PMP) increase in the first year of the next biennium. In the second year, the committee applied an objective, cost of living standard to propose an increase of one dollar. That means that if PMP increases in July, 2015, national PMP will have been $31.00 for three years.

At its April meeting, the LWVUS Board will consider not just the budget, but also recommendations for Program and amendments to the Bylaws. The March 1 deadline for submission of Program Planning recommendations and Bylaws amendments is Saturday. Recommendations for Program Planning and amendments to the Bylaws come from Leagues.  If your League has recommendations, please make sure that you submit your suggestions through the LWVUS website as soon as possible and no later than Saturday.

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.

In This Issue:

CONVENTION 2014

  • March 1: Important Convention-Related Items Due (NEW)
  • Wares Market at Convention 2014 (Reminder)
  • Request Caucus Space at National Convention (Reminder)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Gain Visibility:  Sunshine Week 2014 (NEW)
  • Young League Leader Having an Impact at LWVUS (NEW)
  • Growing the League Together:  Growth Challenge Winners (NEW)
  • Apply to be a Young Professional Board Advisor! (NEW)
  • League Awards: Deadline Extended (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League Opposes H.R. 3865 (NEW)
  • Stop Dark Money; Protect the League: Submit a Comment to the IRS (UPDATED)
  • League Submits Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (NEW)
  • Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Ohio Secretary of State Shortens Early Voting – Again (NEW)
  • LWV Wisconsin’s Voter Photo ID Case is heard by their State Supreme Court (NEW)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Women’s History Month Activities (NEW)

DEVELOPMENT

  • LWVUS Direct Marketing wins 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award (NEW)

OTHER

  • Program Planning (Final Notice)
  • Agriculture Update (Reminder) 

Convention 2014

Final Call: Important Convention-Related Items Due (NEW)
March 1 is the deadline for having input on several convention-related items, including Program Planning and Bylaws Amendments.  For more information, check out “Your Guide to Convention 2014.”

Wares Market at Convention 2014 (Reminder)
State or local Leagues wishing to exhibit and/or sell wares are invited to request a table in the Wares Market, which will be located in the foyer outside the plenary ballroom.  Typical wares market items sold by Leagues at conventions include pins, bags, posters, books and other small- to mid-size items.  The Wares Market will be open during hours on Saturday through Tuesday when there is no plenary session or special event scheduled.  

Request Caucus Space at National Convention (Reminder)
Interested in holding a caucus at Convention 2014? More information is available here. All requests should be made using the online form. Space is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Questions? Contact Vicky Strella, vstrella@lwv.org.

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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.

How do I know who to call at LWVUS when I have a question?

A guide to contacting LWVUS staff is available online.  It lists the common areas for which we get questions and whom to contact for assistance in each of these areas.

To help expedite any requests, it is extremely helpful if you can provide your name, League and state in any message that you send or leave.

In addition, please know that your state’s national board liaison also is a great resource you have questions of concerns.

Membership & leadership

Budget Committee’s PMP Recommendations (NEW)
The LWVUS Budget Committee had a productive meeting over the weekend, and emerged with a balanced budget for the next biennium that also provides for investments in long term League capacity. This proposed budget will be presented to the LWVUS Board of Directors for approval at its April meeting. That budget will then be voted on at Convention 2014. The Budget Committee is recommending no increase in PMP for FY 2014-15, and a $1.00 PMP increase for FY 2015-16.  That means that PMP is proposed to remain at $31 for the fiscal year ahead, and to rise to $32 in the second year. The proposed second year increase reflects a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The COLA is based on the Social Security cost of living adjustments for 2013 and 2014, which are based on changes in the consumer price index over the last two years.  Thanks to the Budget Committee of Elaine Wiant (TX) (Chair), Ann Luther (ME), Henrietta Saunders (IL), Susan Wilson (LWVUS), Pat Donath (LWVUS Treasurer) and Elisabeth McNamara (LWVUS President) for their hard work.

Gain Visibility:  Sunshine Week 2014 (NEW)
Use this letter to the editor template to draw attention to Sunshine Week and to gain visibility for your League.

Young League Leader Having an Impact at LWVUS (NEW)
Meet LWVUS’ latest intern Kelsey Greenagel in her blog post. Kelsey, now a sophomore at George Washington University in Washington DC, learned about the League through a high school unit of the LWV of Wheaton, IL.  LWVUS is proud to offer intern opportunities to students from across the country.

Growing the League Together:  Growth Challenge Winners (NEW)
LWVUS is pleased to announce that the Leagues with the greatest percentage of membership growth from January 31, 2013 – January 31, 2014 are:

Leagues with fewer than 50 members: LWV of Grand County, UT
Leagues with 51-150 members: LWV of Atlanta-Fulton County, GA
Leagues with more than 151 members: LWV of Orange-Durham-Chatham, NC

In addition, of the many Leagues that grew over this past year, two were drawn at random, and those winners are: LWV of Hastings, NE and LWV of Scarsdale, NY.  All five Leagues won one free registration for the LWVUS convention in Dallas, TX in 2014.  Congratulations to these Leagues and all Leagues who are building League capacity and welcoming new members. Cheers!

Apply to be a Young Professional Board Advisor! (NEW)
The League is interested in continuing to reach out to the next generation of League leaders. LWVUS would like to help local and state Leagues to improve membership outreach and become more visible in their communities in order to attract this important demographic.  The LWVUS Board is seeking two off-board advisors to identify opportunities and create vehicles to increase the participation of young people in the organization. Learn more about this great opportunity to grow within the League. To apply for one of the Board Advisor Positions fill out the application form by March 24, 2014.

League Awards:  Deadline Extended (NEW)
Haven’t applied for an award for all the great work your League has done this year? Well, you’re in luck! Because of the many other convention-related deadlines that are fast approaching, we’ve extended the deadline for award submissions to Monday, March 17, 2014. We want to ensure that as many Leagues as possible have the time to take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase the hard work that we know is being done nationwide. The application form only takes a few minutes to fill out and there are four different award categories from which to choose. Use this link for more information, and to submit your applications.

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Advocacy

League Opposes H.R. 3865 (NEW)
The League joined a letter sent to U.S. House members opposing H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014. The legislation would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from adopting necessary revisions in the rules used to determine whether an organization is operating exclusively for the promotion of social welfare for purposes of tax code Section 501(c)(4). The League has sent comments to the IRS regarding the proposed regulation.

Stop Dark Money; Protect the League: Submit a Comment to the IRS (Updated)
Thursday, February 27, 2014 is the deadline for contacting the IRS and urging them to keep pushing to stop the dark money unleashed by Citizens United and to make sure that Leagues can continue our truly nonpartisan voter service work. Follow our instructions for submitting your own comment to the IRS.

League Submits Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (NEW)
LWVUS submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the proposed standards for reducing carbon pollution from new power plants. The EPA has extended the deadline for public comments for the proposed federal carbon pollution standard for every new power plant built in America. The new deadline is May 9, 2014. Submit a public comment to the EPA in support of the standard and your voice will be part of the official record.

Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)
Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced common sense legislation that would repair and restore the Voting Rights Act. This bipartisan effort to fix the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder is necessary to restore and protect the rights of voters across the country. Please urge your elected officials to support this important legislation and encourage them to act swiftly to move toward final passage.  Read the LWVUS press statement on the new bill and tailor this press template to use with media in your state and community.

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Education Fund - Elections

Ohio Secretary of State Shortens Early Voting – Again (NEW)
Ohio voters will no longer be able to take part in early voting on Sundays or weekday nights, according to hours set by Secretary of State Jon Husted. This comes only one week after new restrictive voting bills were signed into law in Ohio.

LWV Wisconsin’s Voter Photo ID Case is heard by their State Supreme Court (NEW)
A member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court's conservative majority said she's troubled by the state's voter photo ID requirements, saying it's not fair that people who lack identification may have to pay for supporting documents to obtain it. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the NAACP's Milwaukee branch have filed separate lawsuits challenging the state’s voter photo ID law. LWVUS President Elisabeth MacNamara discussed the League’s basis for the case on MSNBC.

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Communications

Women’s History Month Activities (NEW)
March marks Women’s History Month. LWVUS will be blogging and sharing content on our social media channels throughout the month – we encourage state and local Leagues to share this content, including today’s Facebook post on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the 19th amendment. Please send any photos from your League’s activities celebrating Women’s History Month to Stephanie Drahan (sdrahan@lwv.org). We’ll be compiling them into an album to share on Facebook towards the end of the month.

Please also use this template press statement to mark Women’s History Month with your local media outlets.

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CLEARINGHOUSE

Celebrate February!
super bowl - groundhog - cupid -presidents

So much is celebrated in just one short month! Leagues can also accomplish so much in a short time with the League Clearinghouse--the great resource that features League studies in more than 50 subject areas.

The Clearinghouse provides scope and focus of a topic, research methodology, sources consulted, information about positions, and consensus questions. 

Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without studies, even as multi-position documents, if they are accompanied by a single submission form. The description section could have "Resulting Position:" and the position statement or a link to the position. Complete studies are preferred, and Leagues may add study documents at a later date.

Share your studies! Share our strength! Just a click away: http://clearinghouse.lwv.org

Development

LWVUS Direct Marketing wins 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing Award (NEW)
LWVUS has been awarded the 2014 IMAB Integrated Marketing award in recognition of outstanding performance from our direct mail acquisition program. The award highlights “the results of innovative integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns or programs in each of three core pillars of integrated marketing as defined by the IMAB (Integrated Marketing Advisory Board).” LWVUS won the “Organizational” category which focuses on an effort which “demonstrates alignment of strategy, structure, culture or skills that has had an impact on the ability to integrate marketing efforts.” LWVUS development staff will be presented with a plaque at the 2014 NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference on March 14. Congratulations to Rose Simmons and the consulting team at Avalon for their great work!

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OTHER

Program Planning (Final Notice)
The Program Planning deadline is March 1, 2014!  The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Recommending an issue is not required - no recommendation is one of the options, but please use the comments section of the response form to tell us that your League met and had no issues to recommend this time. The Leaders Guide and response form are available online. If you have questions on the program planning process, please email progplan@lwv.org.

Agriculture Update (Reminder)
All Agriculture Update materials including the update papers, Leaders Guide and online response form are posted on the Member Resources website and Leagues are encouraged to meet and submit consensus forms by the deadline of April 18, 2014.  Additional reference materials and guides provided by local Leagues can be found at the Agriculture Update Forum.  Contact Agriculture Update Chair Norman Turrill at LWVTurrill@mac.com if there are more questions.

Donate to the League and support our work.

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