Ohio League Leader Updates - December 2016
Happy Holidays from our League family to yours!
During this holiday season, the board and staff of the League of Women Voters of Ohio wish to thank you for your commitment to Making Democracy Work.® It is only due to your continued support and activism that we are able to work towards Fair Districts for Congress Too, fair elections, improved government accountability, and many other policies that reflect our shared values. 

Thank you for all you do for League! Best wishes for a lovely holiday season to you and  your loved ones.
1. Ohio General Assembly Lame Duck Session
2. LWV Ohio Primary Election Systems (PES) Study - Consensus Responses due January 31, 2017
3. LWV Ohio State Program Planning - Responses due February 24, 2017
4. MLD Tip of the Month: Leveraging Post-Election Volunteer and Donor Interest
5. January All-Member Conference Call
6. Thank you to all of our 2016 donors!
7. Holiday Office Hours
8. 2017 Save the Dates!
9. LWVO Internship Opportunities
1. Ohio General Assembly Lame Duck Session
State legislators returned to Columbus after the election and moved on a mountain of legislation before adjourning. Thank you to the many League members who took action by contacting legislators and the governor. Here is a summary of what passed and the governor's action on the bills to date.

- Legislators passed not one but two abortion bans, the so-called Heartbeat Bill (HB 493) that would ban abortions before many women even realize they are pregnant and the 20-week ban (SB 127) that would prohibit abortions before many fetal anomalies are detected. Governor Kasich vetoed the Heartbeat bill and signed the 20-week ban.

- Without action by the legislature by year's end, Ohio's renewable energy mandates that have been frozen would kick back in. The legislature passed a bill (HB 554) continuing the freeze by renaming the mandates as "goals" instead of requirements. Governor Kasich has been an outspoken opponent of continuing the freeze, but he has yet to act on HB 554.

- Legislators continued to erode gun control by amending the "Guns Everywhere" bill (HB 48) onto another gun bill, SB 199, that eased requirements for people with a military background. Governor Kasich signed the bill.

- One of the big issues the legislature did not address is Congressional redistricting reform. The Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition, of which LWVO is a lead member, put forward a proposal for public comment and submitted it for consideration by the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.

For those interested in reading more, here is a selection of news stories covering Ohio's lame duck activity and its consequences:

- "Ohio legislature's rushed, messy lame-duck sessions generate opponents," Columbus Dispatch (Dec. 18, 2016) 
- "Ohio's just-ended lame duck session a shameful display of political logrolling: editorial," Cleveland Plain Dealer (Dec. 14, 2016) 
- "The abortion bill John Kasich just signed is a bigger threat than the one he didn't," Washington Post (Dec. 19, 2016)  
- "Ohio Senate approves energy bill making compliance voluntary for two years," Cleveland.com (Dec. 8, 2016) 
- Redistricting: "A solution for fed-up voters," Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial (Dec. 18, 2016)

2. LWV Ohio Primary Election Systems (PES) Study - Consensus Responses due January 31, 2017
The PES Study Guide and Consensus questions were sent to local Leagues in September. Responses are due no later than January 31, 2017. Leagues are asked to submit their responses using this online consensus question response form here. Here is a printable pdf version of the questions for use during your meetings or to send in if you are unable to use the electronic form.

The Primary Election Systems (PES) Study Committee has prepared some additional materials for your membership to consider before your consensus meeting. They include:

1. Three "white papers" summarizing their research - Ohio municipal primaries survey & an addendum related to municipalities with ranked choice voting, Ohio statewide primaries survey, and interviews of experts and other state Leagues. Please note that the sample size in these surveys was not large enough to produce statistically valid generalizations, although they may be used for informational purposes.

2. A sample Power Point presentation of the Pros & Cons. You can also download the presentation in PDF here.

3. A write-up of the Hot Topics talk by Professor Vladimir Kogan of OSU, presented in Cleveland on November 19.

As a reminder, the PES Study Guide and Consensus Questions are available on the LWVO website here, and the new additional resources mentioned above have been added to that page for easy reference.

LWV Greater Cleveland held its consensus meeting on Dec. 3rd and has generously offered that members of the committee would be willing (on a mutually agreeable date) to visit nearby Leagues who may wish to have more extensive help with presenting the material for their consensus process. If your League would like this assistance, please contact PES co-chair Lynda Mayer (email: lbmayer57@gmail.com) to make arrangements.

3. LWV Ohio State Program Planning - Responses due February 24, 2017
2017 is a state convention year which means it is state program planning time. The Program Planning process lets local Leagues review League positions and recommend changes. Program Planning meeting responses will be due back to the state League no later than February 24, 2017.

Program Planning Packets are available on the state League website here. We will be reviewing LWV Ohio positions, which are online here. LWVUS positions are available online here.

We are only reviewing state positions next year, not national positions. However, if your League is contemplating proposing a study or update, you may want to consult LWVUS positions to make sure that topic is not already covered. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the state office at 614-469-1505 or lwvoinfo@lwvohio.org.

4. MLD Tip of the Month: Leveraging Post-Election Volunteer and Donor Interest
Many potential volunteers and donors have expressed interest recently in getting involved in the League's work. LWVUS has two excellent new resources for Leagues that provide tips for reaching out and involving non-members, including sample social media graphics and messages:

5. January All-Member Conference
Our January all-member conference call will be on Tuesday, January 10, 12-1 pm.

Topic: 2017 Advocacy Preview

Join LWVO's lobby corps for a discussion of what issues are likely to see activity in the Statehouse during the first half of 2017, our offensive and defensive priorities, and ways members can take action.

CALL-IN NUMBER: 866-740-1260
PIN NUMBER: 4691505#

The recording of the all-member call will be available following the call until the end of the month. Please note that the podcast is intended for LWV members and guests (just like the calls) and, therefore, should not be shared with anyone outside the League family. Thank you.

6. Thank you to all of our 2016 donors!
A sincere thank you to every one of our donors! We are deeply grateful for each and every gift, large and small, as every gift adds up to making a big difference in the work we do.

During this season of giving, charitable organizations like ours rely on generous holiday donations to sustain our work into the new year. Click here to read about special year-end giving options.

Thank you for taking time to support the League and best wishes for a healthy and happy 2017!

7. Holiday office hours
Please note that the LWVO office will be closed on Monday, December 26 and Friday, December 30, 2016.

8. 2017 Save the Dates!
  • January 31, 2017 League responses due for the Primary Election Systems (PES) Study Consensus questions.
  • February 24, 2017 Deadline to turn in Program Planning forms to LWVO
  • March 2017 LWVO Statehouse Day in Columbus - Date and location will be announced soon. Registration will open in January.
  • May 5-7, 2017 LWV Ohio Convention will be held at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls, near Akron.
9. LWVO Internship Opportunities
LWVO is always on the lookout for bright students eager to gain valuable experience in Making Democracy Work.™ We are accepting applications for Legislative & Public Policy Interns, Voter Service Interns, and Communications & Marketing Interns. For full job descriptions, click here