Ohio League Leader Updates - December 2017
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.
a. Welcome LWVO Interim Executive Director Beth Taggart
b. New Address
c. Holiday Hours
a. Membership Surge Continues Statewide
b. Introducing LWVO Organizational Membership
c. Reminder** It's Time to Update Your Membership Roster!
d. Gift Membership
one1. LWVO Office Updates
a. Welcome LWVO Interim Executive Director Beth Taggart
With the departure of our Executive Director Carrie Davis, we are excited to welcome longtime League member and former Lobby Corps coordinator Beth Taggart as interim Executive Director until a permanent ED can be hired. The position description is available here, so please share with your networks.
b. New Address
The LWVO office has moved as of December 5 to 100 E Broad St, Suite 1310, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Please update your records accordingly.
c. Holiday Hours
The LWVO state office will be shut down for the upcoming holidays on the following days:
  • Monday, December 25
  • Monday, January 1
Additionally, our office will not be open Tuesday, December 26 to Friday, December 29, but staff will be working remotely if you need assistance. We will be on email between 9am and 5pm and checking the office voicemail daily.
two2. Fair Districts Campaign
The latest signature totals are in, and we are excited to announce we now have over 188,000 valid signatures and an impressive 27 counties over the 5 percent threshold.  Click here to view the map with county-level information .
As the end of the year approaches and many of us make year-end charitable gifts, please consider making a donation to the Fair Districts campaign. Donations to campaigns are not tax deductible, but they make a big difference towards a fairer Ohio. All donations made through December 31st will be reported at the next campaign finance reporting deadline in January -- and opponents and potential supporters alike will be watching closely to see how formidable our campaign really is.
  Donate online  or by mail to: 
Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio 
c/o League of Women Voters of Ohio 
100 E. Broad St., Suite 1310 
Columbus, OH 43215 
Reports have surfaced that  legislative leaders may be nearing agreement on a redistricting reform proposal  that could be passed by the legislature in January in order to appear before voters at the May primary election. However, with a deadline of February 7 for the legislature to place an issue on the primary ballot and both chambers likely on holiday recess until January 17, they are left with little time to pass a plan.
It is essential that any legislative proposal puts forward real reform, has strong bipartisan support, and that legislative hearings are held on the proposal before a vote - after all, we don't want gerrymandering reform to be drawn as a back-room deal, since that's how we ended up with such unfair districts. Given those uncertainties, it is critical to keep collecting signatures so our plan serves as a backstop and a reminder that we know what real reform looks like and will accept nothing less.
Find more information in our recent comprehensive Fair Districts update !
three3. State Legislature Update
The Ohio General Assembly adjourned until 2018 on December 13, but not before making some consequential moves and setting up even more activity for when they return. Here's a rundown of some important news:

Reproductive rights
  • House Bill 214 to ban abortion in cases of a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, a measure which has already been ruled unconstitutional in Indiana, passed the Senate and now goes to Governor Kasich's desk. Advocates for choice are asking him to veto this misguided legislation before December 27; email the Governor's office, or call him at (614) 466-3555.
  • The so-called "Heartbeat Bill," which would ban all abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable around six weeks into a pregnancy, has passed out of committee in the House. While the clearly-unconstitutional House Bill 258 did not come up for a vote this month as was expected, it is worth watching in 2018. A similar measure earned a veto from Governor Kasich last year.
Juvenile justice
Gun control
  • Senate Bill 180 and House Bill 228, so-called "Stand-Your-Ground" proposals that broaden the circumstances in which a person is legally permitted to use deadly force in public places, have each seen multiple hearings in their respective committees.
four4. LWVO Membership
a. Membership Surge Continues Statewide
This has been a great year for membership growth at the League of Women Voters of Ohio. We are thrilled to report that since February 2017, we have seen a 23.5% increase in overall state membership. On the heels of announcing our new At-Large Unit (ALU) procedures at state Convention this May, the LWV Ohio currently has two ALUs in Licking and Hancock Counties. Both units are doing fantastically well in new member recruitment and accomplishing their goals and activities. The state office is also working with a group interested in forming an ALU in Mercer County, so LWVO will be growing again soon!
Members wishing to form either an At-Large Chapter or At-Large Group must petition the LWV Ohio office for recognition using the At-Large Unit application form. To request an application and for more information contact the state League office at 614-469-1505 or email at mmostafa@lwvohio.org.
b. Introducing LWVO Organizational Membership
While the membership surge continues statewide, at the December 2 state board meeting, the board approved a new membership category of "Organizational Membership". To become an organizational member of the LWVO, your organization must be a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that shares our goals.  Organizational members are non-voting members at LWVO Convention. Dues for organizational members are $100. 
c. Reminder** It's Time to Update Your Membership Roster!
Please update your membership roster with LWVUS for an accurate member count. Your member count will freeze on January 31, 2018 and it determines the amount your League must pay in PMP for fiscal year 2018-19 and LWVUS Convention delegate representation in 2018. To update your League's member count, you must update your roster online - including the expiration date and status of each member record.
To access your League's database on the LWVUS website, visit the login page here  .  If your League doesn't have a password, you will need to set up a login. Once you log in, you will have full access to update your League's membership information. For help, here are some links to instructional materials from the LWVUS:  written instructions , or a  YouTube channel with clips . You can email LWVUS at rostersupport@lwv.org with any questions. 
If you are still having difficulty accessing the LWVUS database, please contact Munia Mostafa at 614-469-1505 or by email at mmostafa@lwvohio.org. 
d. Gift Membership 
A membership to the League is a great holiday gift for the committed Leaguer or other engaged citizen in your life! Find information on membership with LWVO here , or contact  mmostafa@lwvohio.org  with any questions.
five5. Year-end Giving 
As this year wraps up and you consider your charitable contributions, don't forget LWVO and your local League. There are lots of ways to support our work, many with great tax benefits if you act before December 31.

If you plan to do any holiday shopping on Amazon, consider purchasing through AmazonSmile. Operated by Amazon and offering the same great prices and services, beginning your transaction through smile.amazon.com and selecting to support LWVO allows a percentage to be donated to LWVO at no cost to you.

There are many other ways to support LWVO through the end of the year, including:
  • Gifts of stock or other securities. Avoid capital gains taxes and get a charitable tax deduction at the same time by making a donation of matured securities. Donors wishing to make such gifts should contact LWVO/EF's investment manager, Joe Trocchio at Merrill Lynch.
  • IRA/retirement distributions. For those who have minimum distribution requirements from retirement or investment accounts, it is possible to have payments made to LWVO/EF to reduce your personal taxes while also receiving charitable giving tax benefits.
  • See if your employer offers matching gifts. Double your donation! Many companies offer to match donations made by current and retired employees. See if your donation qualifies for a matching gift.
  • Make a Donation in Honor of Someone Special! Donations can be made in honor of someone special or in memory of a loved one. Please let us know if your gift is made in someone's honor and provide their mailing address so that we can inform them of your generosity.
six6. Update from LWVUS - Countdown to Convention 2018: 7 months to go  
We hope to see you June 28-July 1 in Chicago for Convention 2018. To help you plan we've continued to update our website with helpful information and links. Recent updates include: For more key dates between now and next June, see the full Countdown article , and be sure to read future League Updates for emerging Convention news.
seven7. January All-Member Conference
Since the first Tuesday of January falls so close to the New Year's holiday, please join us for our RESCHEDULED January all-member conference call on Tuesday, January 9, 12-1 pm.

Topic: Meet LWVO Interim Executive Director, Latest on League activities, and plans for Statehouse Day
Join us to chat with our new interim Executive Director Beth Taggart, hear the latest on League activities, and discuss what speakers and topics you would like to see at Statehouse Day.

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.

eight8. Fundraising Tip of the Month - Corporate Matching
At this time of year,  nonprofit organizations are working diligently to reach their end of year development goals. Organizations like LWVO and local Leagues are taking full advantage of the season of giving!  Encourage your donors to also take full advantage of the giving season by asking their company to match their donation. Your donors are not the only ones who can take advantage of the end of the year tax benefits realized when donating to a charity...their employer can too. A great place to start is by asking family and friends who are making a donation to check into their companies' matching gift programs.
Happy Fundraising! Here's to reaching your 2017 development goals!
For any questions or support, please contact LWVO Development Director Sherry Rose at srose@lwvohio.org.