The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan citizen activist organization that operates at the local, state, and national level. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate.
The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.
- Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.
- Action/Advocacy: we are also nonpartisan, but, after study, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.
To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters of New York Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.
Our Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions guide our activities.
League of Women Voters of New York State 2013 Convention
Several members of our local chapter attended the LWV State Convention on June 1st and 2nd. We attended several great workshops on fundraising, electronic voter guides, voter service issues, advocacy and public relations and social networking. It is so helpful to not only hear the speakers but to share experiences with other Leagues. Saturday evening, I attended a caucus on "Medicare for Everyone- How to Insure all New Yorkers and Save Money".
As delegates representing the Schenectady chapter, we participated in voting and:
- approved a budget for the LWVNY 2013-2015
- elected officers and directors for the State League
- recommended a change to the State League bylaws
- recommended concurrence on human trafficking, a study on term limits for members of the Legislature and statewide office, a study on getting on the ballot in New York State, and an update on our position on a Constitutional Convention
- voted to retain all our remaining positions as part of the 2013-2015 program.
Concurrence on Human Trafficking
Following the convention, local Leagues were asked to vote quickly on the proposed concurrence (when we adopt a position studied and approved by another state, in this case LWV of Ohio) so that our lobbying efforts could include this topic during this legislative session. The required number of local Leagues approved and the state now has a position on human trafficking which is as follows:
Human forced labor and sex trafficking should be stopped through legislation and changes in public policy. Those who have been commercially sexually exploited or coerced into slave labor, or who are minors, should be considered as victims of human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking should be provided with services to facilitate integration into the community.
The impetus to develop a position on human trafficking came because Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act, which the League supports, included a section on human trafficking. The League was unable to speak to that particular point because it had no position, either way, on human trafficking. Furthermore, several local Leagues wanted to work in area coalitions to deal with human trafficking, which this position now makes possible.
Study on Term Limits for Members of the State Legislature and Statewide Office
The State Board recommended, and the delegates approved, a study on term limits for members of the state legislature and statewide officials. The State League currently has a position against term limits for these offices. This is considered a new study, not an update, because our original state position was based on a national position not a state study. The 1992 LWVUS Convention authorized state and local Leagues to use national positions and principles to take action against term limits for state or local office holders.
Study on the Primary System in New York State
Delegates also approved a non-recommended study to determine if another form of primary would be beneficial to the democratic process in New York State. The study is limited to the ballot for state legislative and statewide offices, but it will consider the entire process by which individuals get on the ballot for the general election, including the issue of being endorsed by more than one political party.
More information about the convention as well as outlines of the various workshops can be found on the LWVNYS website http://www.lwvny.org.
Submitted by Carol Furman
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