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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update

In This Issue:

January 13, 2011

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: Questions of Balance (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • 2011 LWVUS Advocacy Priorities: Last Call for Your Suggestions
  • Congressional Interview Tools Available Online

EDUCATION FUND (Redistricting; Elections; Climate Change, Women and Hunger; Global Democracy; Fair Judiciary)

  • Redistricting Reading and Resource List (NEW)
  • Elections: Register New Voters (NEW)
  • Grant Opportunity: Call Attention to Climate Change, Women and Hunger Issues in Your Community and Around the World
  • Global Democracy: Cuba Project (NEW)
  • Global Democracy: Civic Hosting Continues (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: Increasing Gender Diversity on the Kansas Courts (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Only 2 Weeks Left to Ensure a Correct 2011-12 PMP Bill (Reminder #6)
  • Sample Policies for Adaptive Use by Local and State Leagues (NEW)

OTHER

  • Online Store Sale Extended! (NEW)
  • IRA Holders Can Still Make 2010 Charitable Distributions
  • You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

Dear League Leaders:

The tragedy in Arizona last week raises the question of what are we willing to risk to have a free and open society? Every individual right creates a corresponding risk to someone else – that one person’s speech will offend or inflame another person, that a person keeping a gun in his or her home for protection will result in harm to someone else or even that the right of a dangerously unbalanced person to forego treatment will result in harm to another. Even attending a public gathering presents certain risks.

Since last Saturday, there has been a lot of discussion of issues important to balancing rights and risks. We have examined the role of highly charged political rhetoric in our society, the lax regulations of guns and conundrum that the seriously mentally ill individual presents to our communities. That it took this kind of event to provoke such a discussion is a shame. But the larger issues of balancing rights and responsibilities are not isolated to the liberties at stake in the Arizona shooting. That same balancing act will be going on in Congress and in many state legislatures as we debate the proper role of government and its cost.

For 90 years, the League has worked to facilitate the civil exchange of different points of view. We have asked these questions: What do we owe each other as citizens of a democratic society? What limitations on our individual freedoms are we willing to accept in order to have a safe and productive community?

Please also read my press statement. And, in making appointments to talk with your Representatives on a host of issues this winter (see Advocacy section below), note that the congressional interview questions include one on civil discourse that can be used to discuss the impact of this event if you wish.

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Arizona incident and we commit ourselves to continuing to work for a just society, recognizing that in doing so, we must accept some personal responsibility, whether for our safety or the safety of others.

In League,

Elisabeth

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ADVOCACY

2011 LWVUS Advocacy Priorities: Last Call for Your Suggestions
The LWVUS Board will be determining Advocacy Priorities for 2011 at the Board Meeting in late January. Once again, we are soliciting suggestions for advocacy priorities from members. If you are interested in submitting a suggestion (deadline is January 15), please read this memo.  Please indicate whether your suggestion is submitted as an individual or the result of a committee or League meeting. All suggested advocacy priority topics will be compiled into a report to the Board for consideration.

Congressional Interview Tools Available Online
As you prepare to meet with your congressional representatives, please review and use these online tools we have developed for you: a guide for conducting interviews, questions relevant to the 112th Congress, and a post-interview report form.

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EDUCATION FUND (Redistricting; Elections; Climate Change, Women and Hunger; Global Democracy; Fair Judiciary)

Redistricting Reading and Resource List (NEW)
With the 2010 Census now complete, the redistricting process will likely begin in your state in the next several weeks.  From fighting to reform the way districts are drawn, to promoting an open and transparent process and holding decision makers accountable, League leaders are at the forefront of making sure leaders draw lines that work for their constituents – not the reverse. Want help getting started? Use the Redistricting Reading List found on this Training and Resources webpage to inform yourself and your League colleagues about the issues and processes that will impact your state’s redistricting process. State Leagues across the country are taking action on this issue that is so fundamental to our democracy.

Elections: Register New Voters (NEW)
Winter is the season where many people take advantage of staying inside and skip out on many community outreach events. During these cold months, it is still important to be visible – send out email blasts, encourage people to check out your online resources and upcoming events and register new voters for spring municipal and statewide elections. Tap those busy Leaguers who prefer to volunteer occasionally for a defined task of finite duration. Publicize your events so the public knows where you will be registering voters. For user-friendly tools to help voters register, direct voters to www.VOTE411.org

Grant Opportunity: Call Attention to Climate Change, Women and Hunger Issues in Your Community and Around the World
State and local Leagues have an opportunity to hold a community event to focus attention on issues surrounding climate change, women and hunger. The LWVUS will provide resources for Leagues to host either a banquet dinner or public education panel discussion. Grant amounts will be based upon the type of event your League decides to hold. For more information and to obtain resources and grant funding contact Christina Hildebidle, CHildebidle@lwv.org or (202) 263-1328.

Global Democracy: Cuba Project (NEW)
We are pleased to report that our 2006 application to the U.S. Justice Department for a license to travel to Cuba was approved on November 2, 2010! This means we can proceed with our new project, “Women of the Americas: Cuba,” which will entail conducting on-the-ground research in Cuba on current women’s political and civic role – leadership styles, grassroots initiatives and various indices of women's involvement and advancement. The project has two components: data collection (through interviews, etc.) in Cuba over 12 months, followed by a monograph on the findings. Zaida Arguedas, research team leader, is drafting criteria for the selection of additional members, which will be in next week’s Update.  Arguedas is also traveling to Cuba in May to attend an international conference “The Role of Women in the Twenty-First Century.

Global Democracy: Civic Hosting Continues (NEW)
The League's Global Democracy Program is pleased to announce that its proposal to the Open World Leadership Center has been successful and enables the League to host visitors from Eurasia for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s visitors come from Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Georgia and will be hosted by the Leagues of Door County (WI), Milwaukee County (WI), Baltimore County (MD), White Bear/North Oaks/Mahtomedi Area (MN), and St. Paul (MN). Learn more about the Civic Hosting Program here.

Fair Judiciary: Increasing Gender Diversity on the Kansas Courts (NEW)
We are pleased to announce that Governor Mark Parkinson has appointed long-time Overland Park municipal Judge Karen Arnold-Burger to the Kansas Court of Appeals to fill the seat held by the late Judge Jerry G. Elliott. Judge Arnold-Burger is a long-time friend of the League of Women Voters of Kansas and was, in fact, selected to be a U.S. Legislative Fellow in Colombia last year. Judge Arnold-Burger was invited by Corporación Excelencia en la Justicia (CEJ) to present at their annual "Award for Excellence in Justice" gala dinner held on October 28, 2010.

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MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Only 2 Weeks Left to Ensure a Correct 2011-12 PMP Bill (Reminder #6)
Now is the time to update your League’s membership roster! On January 31, your League’s membership count will be “frozen,” and this number will determine the amount of PMP your League will remit to the state and national Leagues for FY2011-12. Remember to update all membership expiration dates and the status field (“I” or “A”). If you have questions, would like to schedule a training session or need help accessing the database, please email membership@lwv.org.

Sample Policies for Adaptive Use by Local and State Leagues (NEW)
Local and state Leagues often develop policies to help provide a framework for their decision-making processes. Such policies provide the institutional memory for the board as leadership changes, so they are useful not only to the current board in carrying out its responsibilities, but to future boards. Leagues must adopt a nonpartisan policy and may adopt additional policies to help facilitate recurring decision-making. Such additional policies – and the processes Leagues use for developing them – may be simple or complex, brief or lengthy. Here are sample policies prepared for the convenience of Leagues that wish to develop policies. They offer a starting point for discussion and drafting, and can be easily modified to reflect a particular community’s situation and needs.

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OTHER

Online Store Sale Extended! (NEW)
It’s not too early to start thinking about small gifts for your convention speakers, your outgoing board members and other special guests. Our Holiday sale was so successful that we are extending it through February 28. Inventories are low so please order early.

IRA Holders Can Still Make 2010 Charitable Distributions
Persons aged 70½ or older can again enjoy tax savings by making charitable gifts directly from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), thanks to a provision of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which was signed into law December 17, 2010. The act also allows charitable distributions made from an IRA in January 2011 to be declared as 2010 gifts, should the IRA holder wish to do so. Please contact Lauren Frank at 202-263-1355 or lfrank@lwv.org for additional information.

You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Some things never change even in these challenging economic times. The League of Women Voters Education Fund continues to be at the forefront of public policy issue education which allows citizens to thoughtfully engage in the democratic process. By making a gift of cash or securities of $5,000 or more to the LWVEF Pooled Income Fund, you can receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift's value and continue earning a quarterly return on the interest earned for life. Best of all, you can name your state and/or local League, along with the LWVEF, to benefit from the residual funds when you're gone. For more information, please contact the Development office at 202-263-1355 or plannedgiving@lwv.org.

"Like" the League on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters
Donate to the League on our Facebook Causes page.

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