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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

March 20, 2014

Dear Friend,

Despite the seemingly never ending winter storms, today is the first day of spring and there is a lot going on this month.

March is Women’s History Month and a good time to remember that the League has played a big part in advancing causes important to women. Eleanor Roosevelt, a League member, credited the League with teaching her the importance of civic participation. That is a message we all take to heart when we engage our elected officials and work to insure that every eligible voter has free and fair access to the polls.

That access was dealt a blow yesterday as a judge in Kansas ruled that requirements in the states of Arizona and Kansas that voters provide documentary proof of citizenship when registering to vote are not preempted by the National Voter Registration Act. The ruling is contrary to that of the United Supreme Court in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA). Rather than consider new factual and constitutional issues as directed by the Supreme Court, the judge in Kansas chose to reopen the issue of federal preemption. While we are disappointed, we are confident that the ruling is erroneous and will not hold up on appeal.

On a much brighter note, this is Sunshine Week. Leagues work hard to shine a light on state and local government and this week gives us a chance to highlight the work we are doing to remind our communities of the importance of transparency in government. On Sunday, we will mark the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Despite many challenges, including those involved with the roll out of the Health Care Exchanges, the ACA has been of vital importance in improving access to health care for millions of Americans. League members have and continue to fill an important role in helping communities understand the impact of this legislation.

So on this first day of spring, as we enjoy or hope for warmer weather, let us bask a little in the sunshine we bring with the good work that we do.

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

  • Last Chance:  Get Your Caucus Room or Wares Market Table Now (Reminder)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Help to Shape the League’s Future:  Apply to be a Young People’s Board Advisor (Reminder)
  • Webinar Opportunity on Tuesday, March 25:  Mentoring (Reminder)
  • New Class of National Coaches Start Work (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • U.S. District Court Rules in Kobach v. Election Assistance Commission (NEW)
  • League Urges Presidential Veto on H.R. 2019 (NEW)
  • Working to Protect Our Planet (NEW)
  • Submit a Comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (Reminder))
  • Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)
  • LWVUS Redistricting Task Force to be Appointed (Reminder)

OTHER

  • Agriculture Update (Reminder) 

Convention 2014

Last Chance: Get Your Caucus Room or Wares Market Table Now (Reminder)
Only a handful of Caucus rooms and Wares Market tables are unclaimed at the Convention hotel in Dallas. Go to Wares Market table request form or Caucus Space Application NOW!!! to fill out and submit an application!

Don't forget, visit our Convention 2014 page to see what is planned and visit the Convention Forum at forum.lwv.org for the latest discussion!

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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.

Does my League need to have met its per member payment (PMP) obligations to participate in national convention in Dallas?

Yes, to have voting delegates at LWVUS Convention, every League must have paid their PMP obligations in full. 

Per Article IX, Sec. 3, of the LWVUS bylaws, “each delegate representing a local or state League shall be entitled to vote only if that League has met its per member payment responsibilities.” 

If your League has questions about its PMP bill, please contact Yancy Jimenez at yjimenez@lwv.org

Membership & leadership

Help to Shape the League’s Future: Apply to be a Young People’s Board Advisor (Reminder)
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 for emerging leaders (under the age of 45) to grow the League. To apply for one of the Board Advisor Positions fill out the application form by March 24, 2014.

Webinar Opportunity on Tuesday, March 25:  Mentoring (Reminder)
Join the Young People’s Task Force (YPTF) for the third in their series of webinars to help recruit and engage younger generations in the work of LWV.  This session, which will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at 2 pm EST, will focus on mentoring.  Register today!  And, to see the other webinars in the series, please visit the League’s Webinar & Training Library

New Class of National Coaches Start Work (NEW)
The Ruth S. Shur Fellows are a part of the support network provided to participating state coaching teams through the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) Program, which is funded by the Fund for Local League Growth. The Ruth S. Shur Fellows team is comprised of 25 dynamic and dedicated volunteers from across the country. The fellows will support state coaching teams and help local Leagues in recruiting and engaging members and developing leaders that make our democracy strong and vibrant. Read about each of our unique and talented National Coaches and watch this short video to learn more about this program.

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Advocacy

U.S. District Court Rules in Kobach v. Election Assistance Commission (NEW)
Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for Kansas issued a ruling in Kobach v. U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that approves the documentary proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration by the states of Arizona and Kansas. In a press release, the League called the ruling “a harsh decision that will hurt voters for no real reason.”

League Urges Presidential Veto on H.R. 2019 (NEW)
The League joined a letter asking President Obama to veto H.R. 2019 which repeals public funding for party presidential nominating conventions. H.R. 2019 would repeal the public financing system for presidential candidates and party nominating conventions under the guise of providing funding for a 10-year pediatric cancer research initiative. In reality, the legislation authorizes the funds for the research initiative, but it does not appropriate the funds for use.

CLEARINGHOUSE

Time for Local and State League Program Planning!

Jump start your League program review and planning for spring annual meetings by visiting the League Clearinghouse. 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. 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

Working to Protect Our Planet (NEW)
The LWVUS Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) encourages League members to put climate action on their League’s agenda.  Climate action can take many forms, ranging from one event to a longer-term initiative.  Earth Day celebrations, for example, provide a good opportunity to enlist support for climate solutions, such as the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standard for new power plants.  Find more information and ideas for Earth Day 2014 -- April 22 -- here.  And for an example of a sustained climate initiative, read about the LWV La Plata County’s climate-focused observer corps and community forum.  The CCTF would like to hear from more Leagues about how they have been working to protect our planet.  Please send your League’s climate action story to CCTF Chair Eleanor Revelle (er@revelle.net).

Submit a Comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (Reminder)
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.

LWVUS Redistricting Task Force to be Appointed (Reminder)
Based on a decision of the LWVUS Board, a Redistricting Task Force will be appointed to: (1) review the various methods and criteria that have been used in the states and the positions of state Leagues on redistricting; (2) consider how well the methods and criteria have worked; (3) develop materials to educate Leagues and communities; and (4) make recommendations on next steps. In 2020 there will be another census and consequently another redistricting. The League needs to be ready for these events and now is not too early to start. The League needs to be a more effective force on this issue. For additional details on this issue, read this paper on League Work on Redistricting and Apportionment. We plan on appointing the task force as soon as possible; we would like to finish the work of the task force at least by Council 2015. If you are interested in participating in this Redistricting Task Force, please fill out the application form by April 1.

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OTHER

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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League of Women Voters
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