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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

April 30, 2015

Dear Friend,

On this last day of April, ten state Leagues have already come together in convention. A national board member or Ruth Shur Fellow was able to attend nine of those ten conventions. Over the next six weeks, Board members, Shur Fellows and national staff members will continue to travel to state conventions and regional meetings eventually reaching 41 states. This is an exciting time for all of us. State conventions and the regional training conducted by the Quad states of Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, offer an opportunity to plan for impact for the next year or two years. For those of us at LWVUS, being a part of the conversation enhances our ability to come together as one organization in Making Democracy Work®.

Over the next two years, Americans will go to the polls to choose the next president and the next congress. Many of the restrictive voting laws that the League has worked to defeat in legislatures and in the courts may be in effect on Election Day 2016, despite our continued best efforts. With all the confusion that this ever-changing landscape has caused, voters will need reliable information in order to be ready to vote in 2016 and they will look to the League for that information as they have for 95 years. A new generation of voters, those most impacted by the new laws, will look for that information online. The League is ready. Through Vote411.org, we are ready to provide information on voter registration, state election laws, and basic ballot information to millions of voters. Thanks to hundreds of state and local Leagues, we are increasingly providing candidate voter guides through the website as well. The League is also ready to register voters at naturalization ceremonies, in high schools and in community colleges. Our unique ability to serve voters through the powerful combination of online organizing and time-honored methods sets the League apart from most other organizations.

But over the next two years, the League can have impact on key issues as well. Voter protection and voter service are not the only areas in which the League is making the most of digital strategies to have impact. Through online tools and outreach, we are increasingly equipped to leverage a larger and more diverse number of voices sending the League message to decision-makers in Washington. This is especially true on decisions critical to environmental protection. Whether sending comments to the EPA on carbon pollution control, expanding the reach of our action alerts or endorsing the efforts of League members to spread the word on putting a price on carbon, the League has been proactively using the latest digital tools to get our message to lawmakers and regulators about climate change.

The world of civic engagement has changed. As we meet in convention in our various states to celebrate the work of the past two years, let us also embrace a future of even greater impact. Together, as one organization, we have been making a difference for 95 years and together we will continue Making Democracy Work® for every American.

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:

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Recorded Webinar Available: Hosting Events That Attract Younger Audiences (NEW)
  • LWVUS Database Migration in Process (REMINDER)
  • Recorded Webinar Available: Tips and Treasures for Treasurers (NEW)
  • Has Your League Filed Its Form 990-N Yet? (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Does Your League Want to Undertake an Activity with Presidential Candidates? (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Money in Politics Review Committee Recommended Reading (NEW)
  • Constitutional Amendment Study Committee Offers Additional Background Reading (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • Supreme Court Rules in Key Judicial Campaign Finance Case (NEW)
  • Protecting Our Environment from Fracking (NEW)
  • Tell Congress to Protect People Not Polluters (REMINDER)
  • Action Alert: Urge the President to Fully Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (REMINDER)

OTHER

  • Seeking Applicants to Serve as Alternate U.N. Observers (REMINDER)
  • Take it easy...but take it* Language on the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Recorded Webinar Available: Hosting Events That Attract Younger Audiences (NEW)
The Young People’s Board Advisors webinar, “Hosting Events that Attract a Younger Audience,” is now available as a recording on the League Management Website. The webinar discussed success stories, outlined some best practices and offered a great Q&A session with lots of helpful tips for Leagues of all sizes and in all types of communities. Listen to the webinar here.

LWVUS Database Migration in Process (REMINDER)
The LWVUS Membership Database is locked and now in the process of conversion. The database continues to be temporarily inaccessible. Please record any leadership and member changes or additions on your excel version of the roster in red. For future access to the database, your League MUST designate at least one Roster Manager for your League. Please identify the individual(s) by filling out this survey. Questions? Contact membership@lwv.org.

Recorded Webinar Available: Tips and Treasures for Treasurers (NEW)
The LWVUS Treasurer Pat Donath and LWVUS staff-led webinar “Tips and Treasures for Treasurers” is now available as a recording on the League Management Website. This webinar covers many important reminders and suggestions about getting started as a treasurer, filing 990N, how to better utilize education funds, and much more. Listen to the webinar here.

Has Your League Filed Its Form 990-N Yet? (NEW)
Leagues - both operating funds (501c4) and education funds (501c3) - that receive less than $50,000 in income must file an e-postcard return (also known as Form 990N) every year with the IRS. The e-Postcard is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year. For example, if your tax year ended on December 31, the e-Postcard is due May 15. For more information, please visit the League Management Website: http://forum.lwv.org/member-resources/article/has-your-league-filed-its-form-990-n-yet

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

Does Your League Want to Undertake an Activity with Presidential Candidates? (NEW)
The presidential race is underway and this is the time when many people think about debates and other ways of engaging the presidential candidates. However, please be aware that any state or local League’s plans relating to presidential candidates must be first reviewed and approved by LWVUS. If your League is interested in undertaking an activity that includes presidential candidates, please carefully review the League’s Policy and Participation Criteria. Questions can be directed to Jeanette Senecal (jsenecal@lwv.org).

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Money in Politics Review Committee Recommended Reading (NEW)
The MIP Review Committee has added two books to the Suggested Reading ListCorruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout and Buying the Vote by Robert Mutch. Leagues are encouraged to use these and other suggested readings to get a head start on the MIP Review.

Constitutional Amendment Study Committee Offers Additional Background Reading (NEW)
The question of how an Article V Constitutional Convention would actually be conducted, and what limits, if any, there would be on its ability to offer amendments to the Constitution is a hotly debated topic. The Constitutional Amendment Study Committee has put together a list of opinion pieces on both sides of the issue of whether a U.S. Constitutional Convention can be limited to one topic. Leagues can use these opinion pieces as background reading.

ADVOCACY

Supreme Court Rules in Key Judicial Campaign Finance Case (NEW)
This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in an important campaign finance case Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, upholding a state ban on direct campaign solicitations by judicial candidates. The League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Florida joined an amicus brief on Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, in favor of the constitutionality of a state prohibition because the public must have confidence in the independence and impartiality of judges.

Protecting Our Environment from Fracking (NEW)
The League recently endorsed, and is encouraging members of Congress to cosponsor and support five pieces of legislation known as the “Frack Pack.” The Frack Pack bills will close loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Acts while establishing mandatory testing of water resources to contain contamination. Read our most recent blog on our work to address the threats around fracking.

Tell Congress to Protect People Not Polluters (REMINDER)
April 22, marked the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day. The Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama, has worked to establish regulations that will reduce greenhouse gasses that cause climate change - like carbon dioxide, mercury and methane, and protect U.S. waters from pollution. But our natural resources continue to come under attack. Tell Congress to stand up for the planet and support the work of the EPA to fight climate change, protect public health and grow our economy!

Action Alert: Urge the President to Fully Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (REMINDER)
President Obama fulfilled his promise to veto legislation approving the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline! The League is proud to stand behind the President’s veto because the pipeline is not in our national interest. But the fight is not over - President Obama and the U.S. State Department must still make a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Thank President Obama for vetoing the pipeline legislation and urge him to reject final approval of the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all!

OTHER

Seeking Applicants to Serve as Alternate U.N. Observers (REMINDER)
LWVUS is looking for qualified individuals to serve as alternate Observers to the UN. Applicants should have an interest in international relations, be a resident of the New York City area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) and be able to attend meetings on the UN campus usually one day a week during the September-June timeframe. Responsibilities typically include observing the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly deliberations as well as attending conferences during the course of the year. Alternate Observers will help keep the League network updated on our work through posting of blogs, tweeting and other mechanisms. If interested, please send a resume, cover letter and two recommendations to unobserver@lwv.org.

Take it easy...but take it* Language on the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)
Take it easy--take the accompanying text and publish it in your next local newsletter to make sure your League members are aware of 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. 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! *Woody Guthrie

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