June 1996 Home   Newsletters

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1996 LWVUS Convention Action (Jean Aoki, Suzanne Meisenzahl & Jackie Parnell)
President's Message (Astrid Monson)
Convention Activities (Jean Aoki, Suzanne Meisenzahl & Jackie Parnell)
Growth or Sustainability (Astrid Monson)
Candidates in Focus
Drive-in Registration
Hawaiian Sovereignty Vote Count (Arlene Ellis)
League Testifies on City Camping Facilities
Action Alert
Voter Participation
Orientation Meeting (Grace Furukawa)
Court Monitoring Project
Voter Hotline
Leaguer Elected to Serve on Violence Prevention Board
Leaguer Cindy Spencer "Expert Witness"

'96 LWVUS Convention Action

The "Initiative to Renew Democracy" as the focus of National League's activities for the '96-98 biennium was adopted, albeit under the new name "Making Democracy Work," after much parliamentary maneuvering and heated debate at the LWVUS Convention in Chicago, June 8-11. The proposed budget was approved with an amendment that may affect League's financial stability in the future unless PMP's are raised or other sources of income are found.

At the first plenary session on Saturday afternoon, the fate of the non-recommended program items hinged on what happened at that session. LWV Martha's Vineyard, MA moved that the order of business be changed to allow consideration of non-recommended program items prior to consideration of the recommended items. This was critical to the non-recommended program advocates because having the IRD come up first for a vote would mean "death" for the other proposals. The IRD advocates favored the agenda as written so as to cut off other considerations. The vote was close, requiring a show of hands, but the motion passed.

Three of the non-recommended program items made it onto the "A list" and were in the running along with the IRD for consideration. The three were "Building Sustainable Communities," a multi-issue advocacy agenda; the "Restudy of League's Position on the United Nations;" and "Finish the Fight," a continuation of work on our Issues for Emphasis, (health care, early intervention for children at risk, crisis in the community, and opening the government to citizens.)

The lobbying for "Building Sustainable Communities" sponsored by at least 10 locals was very intense, before and during the convention, and the debate would have gone on for hours except for the successful motion to limit it to 20 minutes for the proponents and 20 minutes for the opposition with each speaker limited to one minute. With 944 delegates voting, the count was 366 for and 578 against BSC. The motion to continue with last biennium's issues for emphasis nearly made it with 470 votes for and 501 against. The votes for both were close enough that color coded cards were collected and counted while the convention proceeded with other action between votes on the program. The restudy of our position on the United Nations lost on a voice vote.

Amended Budget Adopted

At the last plenary session on Tuesday, delegates voted to shift $100,000 from the membership campaign and direct mail to pay for two additional lobbyists to work on issues not covered by the "Making Democracy Work" program. Late in the session, a motion to reconsider this action was made and lost. As explained by a staff member, the consequence may not be immediate, but it would result in a decrease in the donor base and affect the long term stability of League unless, of course, steps are taken to offset this loss.

Before actions on the budget, Diane Sheridan, Secretary/Treasurer of LWVUS reported that LWVUS will end the year in the black for the fifth straight year. However, the LWV Ed Fund has not been able to make full payment to National for services provided. Paid professional fundraisers have been hired to assist LWVUS in fundraising. In summary, the League is financially stable, but not secure. Proper stewardship of funds is critical as an investment in the future. The budget committee recommended keeping the PMP at $19 until 1998. It was last raised in 1992.

By-Laws Amended

The one amendment to replace Provisional Leagues with MAL's was adopted.

Other Action

Five action motions proposed by the Action Motions Committee were approved by the Convention:

  1. that LWVUS send letters to all Senators, urging them to oppose approval by Congress of waivers for the Wisconsin welfare reform program, and to let the normal state approval procedure prevail,

  2. that LWVUS send a telegram to President Clinton urging him to give top priority to the completion of a comprehensive test ban for nuclear weapons at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva,

  3. that LWVUS send letters to the President, the Senate and the House urging payment of U.S. arrears to the United Nations "which has now reached 1.6 billion dollars) as well as payment of current obligations,

  4. that the LWVUS send letters to appropriate members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees urging them to oppose the bilingual Voting Requirements Repeal Act of 1996, and

  5. that the LWVUS send letters to all Senators to support the Bradley-Specter- Well stone Resolution calling for a Day of National Concern about Young People and Gun Violence.

Delegate Count

According to the Credentials Committee, the final attendance count for Convention '96 was 1,021 voting delegates and 559 non-voting members, special guests, local arrangements and national staff.

Jean Aoki
Suzanne Meisenzahl
Jackie Parnell

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