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The League Update

April 24, 2014

Dear Friend,

Like so many others among our members, I love the movie Iron Jawed Angels. It is one of those really feel good movies especially since we all know the outcome and what it has meant for our democracy. There is Alice Paul storming the seemingly impregnable citadel by chaining herself to the White House fence. Then follow the heart wrenching scenes at the Occoquan Work House, but interspersed throughout are scenes in the White House between Carrie Chapman Catt and the President. Those are the scenes I love. While everyone’s attention was focused on the very public and very necessary storming of the citadel, League of Women Voters Founder Carrie Catt had studied the plans of the citadel and found a backdoor into the very structures of democracy that stood in the way of woman suffrage.

While certainly less dramatic, that has been one of the best features of the League way ever since. We join the protest, we speak out for what is right; we lay siege to whatever obstructs the way forward, but we also study the obstruction, identify the weaknesses in the obstruction and exploit those weaknesses to the fullest. As we fight to protect the vote in the states, we use every procedural tool at our disposal. How many voter photo ID bills have been stopped by a veto? How many efforts to purge voter rolls have been stopped because the League forced those efforts out into the open? How many bad laws were put on hold because the League was willing to go to court?

Understanding the process and understanding the arguments of our opponents on these issues has allowed Leagues all over the country to exploit weaknesses in the opposition position. Coupled with a grassroots presence in every state and in hundreds of communities, the League way made democracy work in 1920 and it has made democracy work ever since. As we move forward to national convention, the recommended program tackles the structures of democracy that appear the most intractable: money in politics and redistricting and does it the League way. These are problems that can’t be solved overnight or with a single approach; the arguments for and against reforms have to be thoroughly understood in order to find that secret passage into the seemingly impregnable citadel so that the obstruction can be overcome.

We can do it. We can channel not just our inner Alice Paul but our inner Carrie Catt. Together, we can find a way forward. It is the League way.

Description: Elisabeth

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League Leaders:
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In This Issue:

CONVENTION 2014

  • 2014 Convention Workbook and Additional Information for Delegates Available Online (NEW)
  • Reserve Your Room for Convention (Reminder)
  • Webinar Opportunity: Learn more about National Convention (Reminder)
  • How to Contact the Resolutions Committee (Reminder)

ADVOCACY

  • League Urges Administration to Fully Implement the NVRA at ACA Health Benefit Exchanges (NEW)
  • League Celebrates Earth Day (NEW)
  • League Sponsors Climate Change Dialogue in Iowa on Earth Day (NEW)
  • Template Letter to the Editor Available Regarding McCutcheon v. FEC (Reminder)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • May 1 is Law Day: Why Every Voter Matters (NEW)
  • Webinar Opportunity: “The ‘Grow Me’ Coaching Method” (Reminder)

Convention 2014

2014 Convention Workbook and Additional Information for Delegates Available Online (NEW)
Convention is the opportunity for us to come together as one organization to plan for the next two years and even beyond. The LWVUS Board contributes to that planning process by making recommendations, based on member input, with regard to program, bylaw amendments and by proposing a budget for the biennium. These materials (traditionally found in the Convention Workbook) are ready and available on the LWVUS Web site.  Hard copies will be available at Convention for all attendees.

Reserve Your Room for Convention (Reminder)
Rooms are still available at the Omni Dallas Downtown Hotel at the League's special rate of $169 per night, although if you delay in making your reservations you may not get the room you want or the special rate. Reserve your room now! If you have questions or special needs, speak directly to the Group Rooms Coordinator Anna Arroyo at 214-979-4518.

Webinar Opportunity: Learn more about National Convention (Reminder)
Register for our Convention webinar on Wednesday, May 14th at 3:00 pm EDT, Get the most out of Convention: Power the League at all Levels. This session will help you learn more about the business of the convention, opportunities for networking and fun, speakers and programs planned.

How to Contact the Resolutions Committee (Reminder)
A process about how to advance a resolution at National Convention will be presented to delegates at Convention 2014 as part of the Convention Rules. The Resolutions Committee referenced in the proposed rule has been appointed. They include: Jennifer Waggoner (CA) – Chair, Nancy Brown (OH), Darlene Hicks (TX), Toni Larson (LWVUS), and Janis McMillen (LWVUS). Any questions about the process or specific proposals can be directed to the Committee at resolutions@lwv.org.

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!

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

What is LWVUS' guidance on tweeting at elected officials? For example, if a representative entered an amendment to legislation that we were tracking, and we wanted to indicate support, would a direct message to that representative be an appropriate way to communicate? 

We don’t encourage Leagues to send a direct message to that representative. Instead, they are encouraged to include handles when sharing our actions (e.g., @EPA), as it ensures that those managing the accounts of our targets will see our tweets and where we fall on the issue (i.e., prioritize the issue over the individual). This also will maximize the impact through retweets. 

If the League is seeking to notify an official of their stance on an issue, a more formal email or letter should be sent to the legislator. In any case, Leagues are always reminded to communicate with a legislator at their official account (email or social media), not their campaign account.

Advocacy

League Urges Administration to Fully Implement the NVRA at ACA Health Benefit Exchanges (NEW)
The League joined with Demos, Project Vote and allied groups to urge the Obama Administration to fully implement the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) as part of the Health Benefit Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Exchanges are public assistance agencies under the NVRA and therefore must provide voter registration opportunities to all applicants.  The League believes proper implementation of the NVRA at Health Benefit Exchanges is an incredible opportunity to help every eligible American citizen participate and contribute to our democracy. Read our most recent blog for more information on this important effort.

League Celebrates Earth Day (NEW)
The League celebrated Earth Day by encouraging members of our grassroots lobby corps to send a comment to the EPA in support of the proposed federal carbon pollution standard. As we explained in a blog for Huffington Post, time is running out to protect our planet and prevent the disastrous effects of global climate change. The first ever regulations to cut carbon pollution from power plants is part of the Obama Administration’s climate action plan. Members of the LWVUS advocacy department attended a meeting on Earth Day to discuss the progress of the administration’s plan.

League Sponsors Climate Change Dialogue in Iowa on Earth Day (NEW)
The national League of Women Voters, with participation from the League of Women Voters of Iowa, sponsored a half-day climate change discussion in Des Moines, Iowa on Earth Day 2014. The event – The Frontier of Climate Change: State and Local Action in the Heartland – gathered national, state and local elected officials, academics, energy industry representatives, as well as students, media and community residents to discuss important work underway on this issue in communities nationwide. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was the keynote speaker, introduced by LWVIA President Bonnie Pitz. The New Republic, along with Drake University, hosted the forum. A second event is planned for Manchester, NH on May 6th.

Template Letter to the Editor Available Regarding McCutcheon v. FEC (Reminder)
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The court ruled that aggregate campaign contribution limits are invalid and opened a loophole allowing political parties to be further corrupted by big-money contributions from special interests. Use this template Letter to the Editor to educate your community about the damaging impact this case will have on our political process.

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CLEARINGHOUSE

Wrap it up!

Many Leagues have just completed or are in the process of completing studies. Make sure that part of the wrap-up of a study is to submit it and any new position to the 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. 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

Membership & leadership

May 1 is Law Day: Why Every Voter Matters (NEW)
LWVUS is once again supporting the American Bar Association’s Law Day activities. This year’s theme, American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters, aligns nicely with the work Leagues are undertaking across the country to protect voters’ rights. We encourage you to reach out to the local bar association in your community to see if they are planning an event for May 1st and if there is an opportunity to collaborate. The American Bar Association has sent this 2014 planning guide to local bar associations all across the country, which includes some great programming ideas, and highlights the League as a potential partner. Check for events in your community and be sure to tout the work you are doing in the media and with partner groups.

Webinar Opportunity: “The ‘Grow Me’ Coaching Method” (Reminder)
League leaders are invited to join us for a webinar entitled “The ‘Grow Me’ Coaching Method” on Thursday May 1 at 12:00 pm EDT (11:00 am CDT, 10:00 am MDT, and 9:00 am PDT). This webinar will dive more deeply into some of the coaching techniques offered by the “Grow Me” coaching method and will explore the best questions to be asking as a coach and the ways in which coaches and Leagues can be evaluating their own progress within the MLD Program. Register for this webinar.

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OTHER

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