Making Democracy Work



The Local Program Positions for the LWVNYS well as the LWVNYS links and blog.


The ballot in November has a proposal for a constitutional amendment that will establish an independent commission to draw the state legislative and congressional lines. The NY State League is strongly in support of this amendment and has been since first passage. They are supporting this because:
  • It establishes an independent commission to draw the lines, in place of the current process of legislators drawing their own lines
  • The commission is mandated to hold public hearings and make the information upon which it relies available to the public,
  • It establishes concrete criteria for the commission to follow which will eliminate gerrymandering or the drawing of the lines to favor or disfavor incumbents, particular candidates or political parties,
  • It protects communities of interest and racial and language and minority groups by codifying existing Voting Rights Act language in the state constitution, removed them from vulnerability based on changes in federal law.

Some of the other groups with whom the State League has allied in the past are opposed to this amendment. They claim that the commission is not truly independent because legislators have a role in picking its members and that the Legislature will remain the default body for drawing the lines. The State League believes that this interpretation of the amendment is wrong.

The independent commission will be made up of ten persons chosen, in part, by the leaders of the state Assembly and Senate but the members cannot be legislators or other classes of persons who might seem to be under the influence of the members of the legislature (i.e., spouses of legislators, members of congress, etc.). The commission will also contain two members who are not affiliated with the major parties in the state. Under criteria used by the Brennan Center, state redistricting commissions are considered independent even though legislators have a role in picking commission members.

The Legislature can only step in to amend plans should it twice reject the independent Commission's plans. Any changes must be within amendment constraints that prohibit political gerrymandering. We believe that this process is a far cry from allowing the legislators to draw their own lines. The Legislature is not the default redistricting body but instead, in the case of gridlock in the Commission, the courts will draw the lines. The State League also believes that the process, as a whole is a significant improvement on the present system and has the real potential to protect the rights of the voters in this state.

This is not the first time that the State League has advocated for one side of a state constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. In 1997, the League was the lead spokesperson in opposition to the ballot question on a constitutional convention. League leaders fanned out across the state speaking to various groups urging defeat of the ballot proposal. For more information, see Impact on Issues (see

Excerpted from LWVNYS

A forum on the Redistricting Reform Constitutional Amendment will be held on Tuesday, September 30th, 6:30-7:45 PM in the McChesney Room, Schenectady Public Library.

LWVNYS Campaign Finance Reform Press Release

League of Women Voters of NYS Reacts to Failure to Pass Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform in Budget, see the Press Release

League of Women Voters of NYS STATE VOTER July 2014

Read about League of Women Voters news and issues at the State level

2014 NYS Legislative Agenda

The 2014 Legislative Agenda "Making New York State Work" in now available here

League of Women Voters of New York State

League of Women Voters of New York State<>

NYS League Advocacy page<>

Capitol Beat Blog

The League of Women Voters of NYS is pleased to announce the return of "Capitol Beat." This informative and entertaining column, written by the LWVNYS Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti will contain legislative updates about League issues, as well as political gossip. We will also outline the budget and of course, will chronicle the always-lively end of session. We have created a blog page for "Capitol Beat" on our League website (go to, and we welcome your comments posted on this blog page. We have also linked the Legislative Calendar so you have all the dates of the legislative session. So, check out the blog and continue to watch it for updates - we hope to keep it lively and current. Get all the latest legislative info right on our website and blog!

LWVNYS Public Policy Positions in Brief 2011-20113


Support of measures to protect, extend and encourage the use of the franchise, including paperless and Election Day registration, no excuse absentee and in-person early voting. Restore integrity to the election process + specifically support for uniformity in election laws and procedures in their implementation and enforcement; promote measures that ensure the integrity of all ballots.

Support comprehensive campaign finance reform, including public financing of campaigns.

Support ballot access and fair campaign practices.

Opposition to term limits for members of the NYS Legislature.

Opposition to term limits for NYS statewide elected officials.


Support of individual liberties, including reproductive rights; voting rights, gun control.

Support of improved measures to provide representation for legislative districts in case of a vacancy. Support of standards to ensure equitable representation in the State legislature and Congress.

Support of responsive and responsible legislative processes which increase the role of the individual member and the committee system.

Support of effective regulation of lobbying and ethics.

Support of procedural reforms in the constitutional convention process to promote openness and non-partisanship.

Support of the consolidation of government/shared services when it promotes effective and efficient operation of government.


Support of measures to assure a basic level of quality physical and mental health care, including regulatory incentives to encourage development of cost-effective alternative methods of delivery; funding for health promotion and disease prevention programs; provisions for effective citizen participation in health policy decisions.

Support of measures that enable individuals to assume responsibility for their own health and to participate in decisions, including extraordinary life-extending procedures.

Support for uniform eligibility and coverage of basic health care costs through public financing with single payer concept as an acceptable approach to implementing League positions on equitable access and cost containment.


Support of a unified state court system with improved provisions for judicial selection.

Support of statewide guidelines for law enforcement at all levels to prevent racial and economic profiling. Support of measures to improve pretrial procedures in the criminal courts.

Support of measures to promote a fair and efficient jury system.

Support the rights of indigent defendants to representation at public expense.

Support of alternatives to incarceration. Opposition to the death penalty, with life without parole as the primary alternative.


Support for protection and management of New York's natural resources in the public interest, including energy conservation and energy options from renewable sources.

Support for measures to achieve watershed protection including limiting pesticide use and applying Best Management Practices.

Support for a state-established, intergovernmental system for land resource management.

Support for a proactive role for New York State in regional land use planning, containing urban sprawl and protecting sensitive areas.

Support of reconditioning of the New York State Erie/Barge Canal System and its development for recreational uses.


Support for equality of opportunity, meeting basic human needs, child care.

Support measures to meet the needs for affordable and accessible housing through use of state funds and incentives to localities


Support reforms for greater equity in education financing (K-12) for both pupils and taxpayers.

Support raising funds to provide New York's children with a sound basic education through increases in the New York State personal income tax, implemented in a progressive fashion.

Support for the replacement of the existing local residential property tax relief programs in which relief goes to all with programs based on need, with annual cost of living adjustment.

Oppose in principle the use of public funds to support non-public schools (K-12).

Oppose any increase in the maximum number of charter schools without improvements to the Charter School Act.

Support the funding of public higher education and the existing formula for financing the community system, 1/3 tuition, 1/3 state aid, and 1/3 county support. Support a uniform equitable assessment and property tax system.

Support of measures to provide for openness and accountability in the operation of the New York State public authority system.

Support of a timely and responsive state budget.


Support of measures that hold marriage to be an economic partnership with a presumption of equality between the spouses.

Opposition to measures that contain a presumption of joint custody of the children.

Support for equity in employment laws and practices and equal pay for jobs of comparable worth.

Support of measures to reduce the incidence and effects of domestic violence.