Making Democracy Work

LWV National Positions

National Positions

League Urges Democratic Governors to Withdraw Challenge to Connecticut's Campaign Finance Law

The League joined reform groups in urging the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) to drop its legal challenge to a Connecticut law restricting political campaign spending. The letter, sent to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, head of the DGA, asserts that the lawsuit filed by the DGA put the governors in league with efforts "by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to eviscerate campaign finance laws."

Excerpted from LWVUS League Update 5/8/14

Voting Rights Winning Streak Continues with a Court Victory in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley denied the Governor's request to reconsider his January ruling that overturned the state's voter ID law. The administration has 30 days to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. This decision is yet another recent win for voting rights in the states. In the past two weeks we have seen three other positive actions in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Minnesota.
Excerpted from LWVUS League Update 5/8/14

U.S. House Passes H.R. 863

Yesterday by a vote of 383-33 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 863, legislation to create a commission to study the potential creation of a National Women's History Museum in Washington, DC. The League is a longtime supporter of the creation of a women's history museum in DC.

Excerpted from LWVUS League Update 5/8/14

White House Summit on Working Families

Leading up to a June 2014 Summit on Working Families to focus on creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans, The White House, the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Center for American Progress (CAP) are holding meetings in select cities to hear from citizens about issues that impact their working lives. The issues include: Family and Medical Leave, Paycheck Fairness and Work-Family Balance. Leagues that are working on these issues or interested in doing so, can go to http://www.dol.gov/wb/workingfamilies/ for more information.

Excerpt from LWVUS Leaders' Update 4/10/14

Supreme Court Sides with Big Money over Citizens' Voices

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The court ruled that aggregate campaign contribution limits are invalid and opened a loophole allowing political parties to be further corrupted by big-money contributions from special interests. The League called the decision "irresponsible" saying the court "continues to dismantle the wall of protection against corruption."

Excerpted from LWVUS Leaders' Update 4/3/14

LWVUS Redistricting Task Force to Be Appointed

Based on a decision of the LWVUS Board, a Redistricting Task Force will be appointed to: (1) review the various methods and criteria that have been used in the states and the positions of state Leagues on redistricting; (2) consider how well the methods and criteria have worked; (3) develop materials to educate Leagues and communities; and (4) make recommendations on next steps. In 2020 there will be another census and consequently another redistricting. The League needs to be ready for these events and now is not too early to start. The League needs to be a more effective force on this issue. For additional details on this issue, go to: http://forum.lwv.org/member-resources/article/league-work-redistricting-and-apportionment?utm_source=LeadersUpdate&utm_medium =email&utm_campaign=LU20140313. We plan on appointing the task force as soon as possible; we would like to finish the work of the task force at least by Council 2015.

Excerpt from LWVUS Leader's Update 3/13/14

National Public Policy Positions 07, 2013

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT Promote an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive.

Voting Rights Citizen's Right to Vote. Protect the right of all citizens to vote; encourage all citizens to vote. DC Self-Government and Full Voting Representation. Secure for the citizens of the District of Columbia the rights of self-government and full voting representation in both houses of Congress.

Election Process Apportionment. Support apportionment of congressional districts and elected legislative bodies at all levels of government based substantially on population.

Campaign Finance. Improve methods of financing political campaigns in order to ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office and promote citizen participation in the political process.

Selection of the President. Promote the election of the President and Vice-President by direct-popular-vote. Support uniform national voting qualifications and procedures for presidential elections. Support efforts to provide voters with sufficient information about candidates.

Citizen Rights Citizen's Right to Know/Citizen Participation. Protect the citizen's right to know and facilitate citizen participation in government decision-making.

Individual Liberties. Oppose major threats to basic constitutional rights.

Public Policy on Reproductive Choices. Protect the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.

Congress and the Presidency Congress. Support responsive legislative processes characterized by accountability, representativeness, decision making capability and effective performance.

The Presidency. Promote a dynamic balance of power between the executive and legislative branches within the framework set by the Constitution.

Privatization Ensure transparency, accountability, positive community impact and preservation of the common good when considering the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Promote peace in an interdependent world by working cooperatively with other nations and strengthening international organizations.

United Nations Support a strong, effective United Nations to promote international peace and security and to address the social, economic and humanitarian needs of all people.

Trade Support U.S. trade policies that reduce trade barriers, expand international trade and advance the achievement of humanitarian, environmental and social goals.

U.S. Relations with Developing Countries. Promote U.S. policies that meet long-term social and economic needs of developing countries.

Arms Control Reduce the risk of war through support of arms control measures.

Military Policy and Defense Spending Work to limit reliance on military force. Examine defense spending in the context of total national needs.

NATURAL RESOURCES Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest.

Natural Resources Promote the management of natural resources as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems.

Resource Management Promote resource conservation, stewardship and long-range planning, with the responsibility for managing natural resources shared by all levels of government.

Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem, with maximum protection of public health and the environment. Air Quality. Promote measures to reduce pollution from mobile and stationary sources.

Energy. Support environmentally sound policies that reduce energy growth rates, emphasize energy conservation and encourage the use of renewable resources.

Land Use. Promote policies that manage land as a finite resource and that incorporate principles of stewardship.

Water Resources. Support measures to reduce pollution in order to protect surface water, groundwater and drinking water.

Waste Management. Promote policies to reduce the generation and promote the reuse and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes.

Nuclear Issues. Promote the maximum protection of public health and safety and the environment.

Public Participation Promote public understanding and participation in decision making as essential elements of responsible and responsive management of our natural resources.

Agriculture Policy Promote adequate supplies of food and fiber at reasonable prices to consumers and support economically viable farms, environmentally sound farm practices and increased reliance on the free market.

SOCIAL POLICY Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. Promote social and economic justice and the health and safety of all Americans.

Equality of Opportunity Equal Rights. Support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and efforts to bring laws into compliance with the goals of the ERA.

Education, Employment and Housing. Support equal access to education, employment and housing.

Federal Role in Public Education. Support federal policies that provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12.

Fiscal Policy Tax Policy. Support adequate and flexible funding of federal government programs through an equitable tax system that is progressive overall and that relies primarily on a broad-based income tax.

Federal Deficit. Promote responsible deficit policies.

Funding of Entitlements. Support a federal role in providing mandatory, universal, old-age, survivors, disability and health insurance.

Health Care Promote a health care system for the United States that provides access to a basic level of quality care for all U.S. residents and controls health care costs.

Immigration Promote reunification of immediate families; meet the economic, business and employment needs of the United States; be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises; and provide for student visas. Ensure fair treatment under the law for all persons. In transition to a reformed system, support provisions for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status.

Meeting Basic Human Needs Support programs and policies to prevent or reduce poverty and to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families.

Income Assistance. Support income assistance programs, based on need, that provide decent, adequate standards for food, clothing and shelter.

Support Services. Provide essential support services.

Housing Supply. Support policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.

Child Care Support programs and policies to expand the supply of affordable, quality child care for all who need it.

Early Intervention for Children at Risk Support policies and programs that promote the well-being, development and safety of all children.

Violence Prevention Support violence prevention programs in communities.

Gun Control Protect the health and safety of citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Support regulation of firearms for consumer safety.

Urban Policy Promote the economic health of cities and improve the quality of urban life.

Death Penalty The LWVUS supports abolition of the death penalty.

Sentencing Policy The LWVUS believes alternatives to imprisonment should be explored and utilized, taking into consideration the circumstances and nature of the crime. The LWVUS opposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.

Whatever the issue, the League believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibilities, adequate financing, coordination among levels of government, effective enforcement and well defined channels for citizen input and review.

Summary of League Position Statement on Gun Control

The League of Women Voters believes that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens.

  • The League supports strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of these weapons by private citizens.
  • The League supports regulating firearms for consumer safety.
  • The League supports licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for a background check, personal identity verification, gun safety education, and annual license renewal.
  • The League supports a ban on "Saturday night specials", enforcement of strict penalties for the improper possession of and crimes committed with handguns and assault weapons and allocation of resources to better regulate and monitor gun dealers.

Excerpted from LWVUS Impact on Issues, 2010-2012, LWVUS, page 77