The Local Program Positions for the LWVNYS well as the LWVNYS links and blog.
Clean Contracting. Strict new accountability measures that would result in an open, ethical, and efficient way to award government contracts appropriations, an area which was identified as a key problem in the indictments of the governor's top aides.
Real Budget Transparency. Make lump sum budget appropriations and the resulting expenditures fully transparent.
Ban "Pay to Play." Strict "pay to play" restrictions on state vendors. The U.S. Attorney's charges that $800 million in state contracts were rigged to benefit campaign contributors to the governor and underscores the need to strictly limit contributions from those seeking state contracts.
Close "LLC Loophole." Ban unlimited campaign contributions via Limited Liability Companies. LLCs have been at the heart of some of Albany's largest scandals. Strict Limits on Outside Income. Real limits on the outside income for legislators and the executive branch. Moonlighting by top legislative leaders and top members of the executive branch has triggered indictments by the federal prosecutors.
Effective Watchdogs. Truly independent, effective, well-resourced, ethics enforcement agencies are needed.
The League of Women Voters of New York State's Education Foundation and the NYS Social Studies Supervisory Association (NYS4A) are pleased to announce the publication of seven lesson plans for teachers of the New York Grade 12 Participation in Government course. The goal of these lessons is to educate New York State's future voters to become active citizens. Students will develop a better understanding of how public policy is made in New York and learn more about their rights and responsibilities as citizens.
The seven lesson plans are designed to provide teachers and students with information specific to New York State. Lessons can be customized to meet the needs of individual classrooms or student interests and are designed to be inquiry-based and non-partisan. The lessons are based on the Key Ideas and Social Studies Practices of the New York State Social Studies Curriculum Framework. The lesson plans could be integrated into existing units or combined for a unit of instruction on New York government. With these lesson plans, Participation in Government teachers would have ready-made resources which will engage high school seniors.
Lesson topics include:
The structure of New York State Government
Individual rights and responsibilities in New York State
Voting in New York State
The Public Policy Process (Laws) in New York
Influencing New York State Government
Participating in Political Action in Your Local Community
Participating in Community Service in Your Local Community
In addition to materials in the lesson plans, teachers are encouraged to consult the Voter Services resources developed and published by the League of Women Voters New York. Updated voter services information, including voter rights, voter registration information, voting locations, find your elected official, and district maps, is available on the League of Women Voters New York website (http://www.lwvnycivics.org).
The lesson plans were written by three New York Social Studies teachers: Kathleen Argus, Syracuse City School District Jody Butts, Susquehenna Valley Public Schools Robert Keyser, Shenendehowa Central School District
and edited by Lisa Kissinger, Social Studies Academic Administrator, Shenendehowa Central Schools, and President of the New York State Social Studies Supervisory Association; Laura Ladd Bierman, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters New York and Jennifer Wilson, Director of Program and Policy, League of Women Voters New York.
"The Legislature passed absentee voting legislation in 1920. Unfortunately, the law as it currently stands in New York, allows for a qualified absentee voter to have their absentee ballot application and absentee ballot carried for them by an individual they designate, the ballot may be mailed to another persons home and it allows for the ballot application and the ballot itself to be filled out by another party. It only requires the signature of the other. All this has offered additional opportunities to corrupt the absentee ballot process. This corruption is very real. It is happening all over the State. Election insiders continue to constitute the greatest threat.
reprinted from the LWV Buffalo Niagara Voter
Companies create LLCs for many business reasons. But for some companies one reason alone is paramount + the ability to pour huge amounts of money into the coffers of candidates, elected officials, and political parties, frequently without revealing the names of the donors.
In 1996 the New York State Board of Elections decided to treat LLCs as "individuals" under the state's campaign finance laws, with spectacular results. When considered as a corporation, as under federal law, an LLC could contribute up to $5,000 to an elected official, political party, or a candidate running for office; but when considered as an individual under NYS law, an LLC could contribute up to $60,800! If this was not a sufficient pot of campaign money to make recipients happy, corporations and businesses could create any number of LLCs, each with the same outrageously high contribution limit. Each additional LLC is then given a different name and the names of the original donors remain hidden.
LLCs are equal opportunity donors. All political parties, candidates and elected officials benefit from the seemingly endless generosity of LLCs.
In 2015 Glenwood Management, a huge real estate company that figured prominently in the criminal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, created 22 separate LLCs, each with the ability to contribute the maximum amount to favored candidates and political parties. Another state corruption investigation that originated almost a decade ago, involving the Buffalo Billion, is unfolding now and demonstrates again how the LLC loophole works to benefit both donors and recipients at the public's expense.
We know from our Money In Politics study that quid pro quo corruption is difficult to prove. A wink and a nod can convey the intended message when money changes hands. Citizens are rightly suspicious when legislative favors are granted to certain interests and when constituent-supported legislation is defeated over and over or not even discussed in committee. The LLC loophole exemplifies a government failure in both fairness and transparency. Closing it is the goal of the League, of other reform groups and of many government officials.
Closing the LLC loophole through state legislation. In 2015 the New York State Assembly, with broad bipartisan support, passed legislation to close the loophole but the bill died in the Senate Corporations Committee chaired by Michael Ranzenhofer (Amherst).
This year the legislation has been reintroduced. The League strongly supports A.9758A (Simon) and S.27149 (Kavanagh) which will lower contribution limits to the federal level of $5,000 and require donor disclosure. The League urges members to call and write their legislators in support of the legislation + better still, come with us when we visit legislators in March and April 2018. Passage will occur only when enough citizens are alert to the problem and determined to correct it.
NY State League President Dare Thompson wrote, "Closing the LLC loophole is an obvious and long overdue fix to limit contributions by special interests and help end `dark money' in our electoral system. This one small step is just one of many reforms needed to reduce corruption in Albany."
Janet Massaro, Chair
The League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation is the educational and fund-raising arm of The League of Women Voters of New York State which derives its strength from the energy and commitment of the women and men in about 60 local Leagues throughout the state. It is strictly nonpartisan, and works primarily on projects that enlighten the electorate i.e., empower through education.
The charitable support of individual people, corporations and foundations throughout New York State help us accomplish three central missions: