Excerpted from LWVUS League Update May 12, 2016
Excerpted from LWVUS League Update May 12, 2016
a) The Constitutional Convention must be transparent and not conducted in secret. The public has a right to know what is being debated and voted on;
b) Representation at the Constitutional Convention must be based on population rather than one State, one vote, and delegates should be elected rather than appointed. The delegates represent citizens, should be elected by them, and must be distributed by U.S. population;
c) Voting at the Constitutional Convention must be by delegate, not by State. Delegates from one State can have varying views and should be able to express them by individual votes;
d) The Constitutional Convention must be limited to a specific topic. It is important to guard against a "runaway convention" which considers multiple issues or topics that were not initiated by the States;
e) Only State resolutions on a single topic count when determining if a Constitutional Convention should be called. Counting State requests by topic ensures that there is sufficient interest in a particular subject to call a Convention and enhances citizen interest and participation in the process; and
f) The validity of State calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention must be determined by the most recent action of the State. If a State has enacted a rescission of its call, that rescission must be respected by Congress.
a) Whether the public policy objective addresses matters of such acute and abiding importance that the fundamental charter of our nation must be changed. Amendments are changes to a document that provides stability to our system and should be undertaken to address extreme problems or long-term needs;
b) Whether the amendment as written would be effective in achieving its policy objective. Amendments that may be unenforceable, miss the objective, or have unintended consequences may not achieve the policy objective;
c) Whether the amendment would either make our political system more democratic or protect individual rights. Most adopted amendments have sought to make our system more representative or to protect the rights of minorities;
d) Whether the public policy objective can be achieved by a legislative or political approach that is less difficult than a Constitutional Amendment. In order to expend resources wisely, it is important to consider whether legislation or political action is more likely to succeed than an amendment; and
e) Whether the public policy objective is more suited to a Constitutional and general approach than to a statutory and detailed approach. It is important to consider whether the goal can best be achieved by an overall value statement, which will be interpreted by the courts, or with specific statutory detail to resolve important issues and reduce ambiguity.
REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT: Promote an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive.
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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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.
Federal Agriculture Policies. Provide financial support to subsidize agriculture in specific instances, enforce federal antitrust laws to ensure competitive agricultural markets and apply clean air and water regulations to all animal and aquaculture production. The federal government should fund basic agricultural research to provide adequate safety of our food supply.
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.
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.
Human Trafficking. Oppose all forms of domestic and international human trafficking of adults and children, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
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.