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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

DECEMBER 11, 2014

Dear Friend,

As the year draws to a close many, if not most, of us are focused on family and friends and preparing for the holidays. Be sure to visit the League store for that special gift for everyone on your list! As we reflect on all that we have accomplished this past year, personally and professionally, let us not forget that at Convention 2014 we adopted an ambitious program focused on the key structures of democracy. Three committees have been selected to collect and disseminate information on redistricting in the various states, money in politics and the process of amending the Constitution. As those committees go about their work, there are things that Leagues can do to inform themselves and their communities about these essential topics.

Leagues can form study committees to help prepare the membership to address the material coming from the national study committees next year. Reading lists will be available shortly. Leagues can also start gathering information at the local and state level about state and local redistricting laws, laws governing campaign contributions and lobbying expenses as well as laws governing open government. Every state has a constitution and a process for amending it. Leagues can examine that process because the process of amending the United States Constitution depends a great deal on action by and in the states. This is also a good time to begin to identify scholars and pundits to work with the League in developing forums for community education.

This is also a good time to consider what reforms are needed in our local and state communities. The key structures of democracy operate at all levels of democracy and reform is needed everywhere, not just in Washington. Observer corps at the local level and volunteers to assist state League leaders cover legislative committee hearings are an excellent place to start.

All around the country this week we have seen demonstrations arising from a sense of helplessness and hopelessness to impact and change the system. That feeling pervades more than just a single racial or ethnic group and extends beyond just the criminal justice system. Let us commit to do what we can to show the way to make democracy work community by community, state by state. What better way to make our national leaders sit up and take notice?

In League,

signature

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:

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Time is Running Out: Free Materials if you Complete Our Election Season Activities Survey (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Money in Politics Review and Constitutional Amendment Study Webpages Posted (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League Opposes FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (NEW)
  • LWVUS Legislative Priorities (REMINDER)
  • Tell the FEC What to do About Citizens United (REMINDER)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • A Huge Thank You to Our Fall Semester Interns! (NEW)
  • Update Your Rosters, Win Great Prizes for your League (REMINDER)
  • Honor a League Leader this Holiday Season (NEW)
  • Let Individuals Give the Gift of League this Holiday Season (REMINDER)

OTHER

  • Opportunity to Attend Commission on the Status of Women Session at United Nations in March 2015 (REMINDER)
  • Looking for Holiday Gifts? Check out the League Store (REMINDER)

CLEARINGHOUSE

  • Election results! (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

Time is Running Out: Free Materials if you Complete Our Election Season Activities Survey (REMINDER)
Please take a few minutes to fill out our Election 2014 Voter Services Activities Survey and tell us what your League did to engage voters this year. Your answers will help inform our future trainings, materials and resources for Leagues and grant programs, enable us to better highlight Leagues’ work from across the nation, and allow us have more productive conversations with potential partners to benefit all levels of the League. Your feedback is important to us! Any League completing the survey before December 19 will be offered *FREE* VOTE411.org sports bags as part of our thanks for filling it out.

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Money in Politics Review and Constitutional Amendment Study Webpages Posted (NEW)
As we move forward with the Key Structures of Democracy program, the Constitutional Amendment Study webpage and the Money in Politics webpage can now be found on the LWVUS’s Member Resources website. These two webpages include information on the scope of the study and review as well as a list of the committee members. As study materials become available they will be posted on the pages as well.​

ADVOCACY

League Opposes FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (NEW)
The League joined coalition partners on a letter to the U.S. House and Senate encouraging them to oppose the FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The League opposes the legislation because it contains destructive campaign finance provisions that would increase limits on individual contributions to a political party.

LWVUS Legislative Priorities (REMINDER)
It's a new year and a new Congress. The LWVUS Board will be setting legislative priorities for the upcoming session in January. We ask members and local Leagues to submit their suggestions. Here is some background for you to consider as you decide what you would like to recommend.

The Board sets priorities using this filter: opportunities for the League to make an impact; program decisions made at Convention and/or Council; member interest; and resources available to manage effectively. We also look realistically at the political climate and composition of Congress. And doing that, we have to acknowledge that the incoming Congressional leadership has issued statements that are not supportive of League program. Realistically, we will have to expend resources on defending voting rights and threats to existing campaign finance law, good climate change work and the Affordable Health Care Act. So as you consider what to recommend as legislative priorities, ask yourself how important you think it is for the League to fight for our core issues.

If you would like to make suggestions for LWVUS advocacy priorities, please email Advocacy Committee Chair Chris Carson at carsonlwv@yahoo.com. Please indicate whether the suggestions are from an individual member, a committee, Board or membership meeting. Suggestions must be received by January 12.

Tell the FEC What to do About Citizens United (REMINDER)
The Federal Election Commission (FEC), the federal agency in charge of our nation’s campaign finance laws, is now receiving public comment about steps they should take “to address corruption in the political process.” The FEC can do something to stop the secret money polluting our elections and end coordinated expenditures by outside groups. Take action now to tell the FEC to act and enforce the law.

GLAD YOU ASKED!

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

It’s my understanding that 2015 will mark the League’s 95th anniversary. Is this correct and if so will resources be made available?

Yes, 2015 is an important milestone for the League of Women Voters: 95 years of Making Democracy Work®! In early 2015, LWVUS will be posting materials online to help Leagues mark this anniversary throughout 2015. Local and state Leagues are encouraged to start to think about the impact that they have had locally and what successes they can celebrate during this milestone year. Watch the League Update for more information in the New Year!

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

A Huge Thank You to Our Fall Semester Interns! (NEW)
As the fall semester winds to an end, LWVUS would like to take a moment to thank our great fall 2014 interns for all of their hard work! Emily Ervin and Samantha Russell, both from American University were a great addition to the LWVUS office during this busy election season. You can read more about their experiences here. If you know of an undergraduate student interested in interning with LWVUS, please email internship@lwv.org for more information. If your League is interested in starting an internship program of your own, you can find more information on that process in Chapter 3 of the YPTF Toolkit.

Update Your Rosters, Win Great Prizes for your League (REMINDER)
Did you know that if the expiration dates for your League members all fall on the same date, you can change them all in one simple step? This is a quick and easy way to update your roster and be entered to win a $40 gift card for your League. Read more about the Roster Challenges on our website. If you have any questions or need assistance updating your League’s roster, download the user manual or contact Membership@lwv.org

Honor a League Leader this Holiday Season (NEW)
Invest in the future of the League with a gift of $50 or more to the Fund for Local League Growth, which supports the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program, and we will send you (or a designee) a limited edition, enamel lapel pin as a thank you. This is a great way to honor a League friend/leader this holiday season while helping to build the organization’s capacity. To make a tax-deductible gift, please use this online form. Questions? Contact kmcfarland@lwv.org.

Let Individuals Give the Gift of League this Holiday Season (REMINDER)
Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season or do you want to offer friends of the League a great way to honor someone they care about? Encourage individuals to give the gift of strengthening democracy by donating to League. Upload this card template to your League’s site and allow donors to immediately print out a card that they can give to the recipient of the gift. This will allow individuals to give throughout the holiday season.

OTHER

Opportunity to Attend Commission on the Status of Women Session at United Nations in March 2015 (REMINDER)
The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015. Members of the League of Women Voters are invited to attend any or all of the session. We are limited to 20 attendees and registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. To register please contact suzanne.maltz6@gmail.com. This year's theme is Beijing +20. The LWVUS will be sponsoring a special panel discussion during the CSW: Women Parliamentarians: Achieving Economic & Social Improvements. Along with our partners (BPW and PPSEAWA), we are working with the governments of Chile, Germany, Philippines and Turkey to host and co-sponsor the event. Additionally, the League will host a reception for our delegation during the first week of the CSW59.

Looking for Holiday Gifts? Check out the League Store (REMINDER)
Looking for holiday gifts for family, friends, and your fellow League members? There is still time to get your items from the League Store. You can get a pack of eight LWV notecards with envelopes for $6. Remember you must place your order by December 15th to receive your items in time for Christmas. Supplies are limited! Order today!

CLEARINGHOUSE

Election results!
All Leagues are winners when they use the League Clearinghouse with League studies in more than 50 subject areas that provide 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  

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