League of Women Voters of NYS


January 2018

From the State President
    In real estate the mantra may be "Location, location, location," but for the League and for most organizations, nonprofit or otherwise, it's "relationships, relationships, relationships."  Whether you need to get a bill passed (or blocked), recruit or retain members, raise money, or simply re-energize your inner Concerned Citizen, you definitely won't get far without building relationships. 

     You know this.  You've probably learned the hard way that a written request often needs a phone call follow-up,  a gift of time or money is less likely to be repeated without a personalized thank you, a member will find it easier to fade away when s/he's never personally engaged in at least some form.

   That's why even in the midst of stress over dysfunctional government here and in DC, I feel buoyed by a very lively state board, assorted happy conversations with local League members here at home and across the state, and state League staff that "fights above its weight" even when its ranks are temporarily down. 

    Even when things are crazy, when a local League member calls, the office makes you a priority. We were all so worried about the loss of Barb Bartoletti's connections and quotability at the Capitol, but just as Barb predicted, "Jennifer is ready," and it's exciting to see Jennifer come into her own in the Legislature and among the press and advocacy groups. She is building on Barbara's training and relationships and growing her own.  We are hearing from many of you that you also feel more connected than ever to your state government thanks to her regular updates to the field.  Relationships!

     Meanwhile a new state board member, Betty Ann King (LWV North Country), has reached out to all of you who are interested in sharing ideas about ways to engage young people and build the voters of the future. Another new member, Suzanne Stassevitch (LWV NYC), is helping figure out ways to make our electronic communications (websites, social media, etc) more effective.  And both joined our recent conversation with our LWVUS Shur Fellow, Melissa Currence (a former member of the Young People's Task Force at LWVUS, on the Ohio and Cincinnati League boards, and Interactive Media Manager at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation). Among other things, the call generated some new ways for all of us to be more connected with YOU. "Stay tuned!"

    The above is all in addition to the regional meetings that are being planned across the state for March and April.  Please plan to attend one near you! It is so clear from where I sit how greatly our relationships with our local League members strengthen everything we do at the state and national levels. It will be so good to see you there.

Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
darethompson@gmail.comTel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
Regional Workshops for All Members!
LWVNYS Advocacy Training Day
First Call to LWVUS Convention in June 2018
LWVUS CEO Resigned
Travel with the League
Click here  for trips and itineraries.
Photos from Women's Marches
January 20, 2018 





Legislative Updates
Sally Robinson, sally.s.robinson@gmail.com, and 
Jennifer Wilson, jennifer@lwvny.org
Current Legislative Action
At the moment our legislative activity is focusing primarily on voting and ethics. Governor Cuomo once again included early voting in his state budget proposals but without funding. We will be submitting testimony to the Public Protection Budget Committee advocating for funding to support early voting. We will also be submitting testimony to the Local Government Budget Committee urging them to pass the Governor's proposed Article VII legislation on ethics and campaign finance, including closing the LLC loophole, limiting outside income and more.  

Rally on Early Voting
On Tuesday, January 23rd, the League participated in a rally to advocate for including funding for early voting in the state budget. The rally was organized by the coalition LetNYVote. LetNYVote is a coalition of grassroots organizations, unions, and other advocacy groups. The rally was a huge success with over 100 attendees including nearly 30 League members. After the rally, some League members lobbied their Senators and Assembly Members on this issue. We were very happy to see so much energy and enthusiasm surrounding early voting. Look at more photos on the League's Facebook page!

Weekly Legislative Newsletter
This year the League has launched a new initiative to help keep members up-to-date on what's going on in Albany. Our weekly legislative newsletter includes what's happening at the Capitol, upcoming events surrounding advocacy, weekly legislative committee agendas, and weekly League news clips. The newsletter is sent to all members every Friday. If you haven't been receiving the newsletter, check your Spam or Junk folder or email Jennifer at Jennifer@lwvny.org to make sure you're on the list.
Pre Budget Legislative Packet and Meetings: Early Voting                    
A pre-budget lobby packet is in the mail to the President and one Co-President of each local League; it was also emailed to all Presidents on Wed, Click here to view the packet of info.  We are asking local Leagues to schedule lobby visits with their state Assemblymembers and Senators for the February break between February 14th and 26th  to urge them to pass early voting and include funding for it in the state budget. The packet includes a support memo that can be given to the legislator, as well as background materials and FAQs on early voting. There will be a conference call on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 pm for any interested in discussing this topic more, answer any questions before you lobby, etc.; email Jennifer@lwvny.org if you'd like to join the call. Please talk with your local League President or Advocacy Chair to join League members for these visits.
Advocacy Training and Lobby Day
The state League's annual Advocacy Training and Lobby Day has been scheduled for April 24th in the NYS Museum (we'll make sure you have time to view the special exhibit at the Museum on women's suffrage history, too). Any member is welcome to attend. Come learn about our advocacy agenda, hear directly from the Issue Specialists about our expected action for the 2018 Legislative Session and lobby your own legislators.  Click here to print out and mail a registration form. Click here to register online.  The topics on which we will be lobbying will depend on how the budget negotiations turn out. 

Voter Services
Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@aol.com
One more important thing for local Leagues to do in the next few months is to call your county BOE and set up a meeting with them.  Several Leagues hold these meetings, but all Leagues are now being urged to do so.  If you'd like to join your League members on these visits, contact your local League President or Voter Services Chair. According to Election Law, the County BOEs are supposed to provide educational programs for high school students and register them to vote.  While several of the BOEs do this, others do not.  Find out if your County BOE is providing this service, what their program consists of and if not, offer to help them bring a program to the schools. Also, during meeting with the BOE, discuss the Election Law reforms that laws.  If enacted, they are ones who will need to comply.  Asking their opinions is a good way to develop a strong working relationship. These should be non-confrontational conversations; the goal is to get their feedback on how these programs could be implemented effectively, and what their major concerns are.
Youth Programs
Betty Ann King, bking8213@charter.net
We have a new vision for engaging youth participation in the democratic process! You are invited to share your ideas, to ask questions, and to brag about your experiences with youth and government.
Amidst all of this political chaos our country is experiencing exists passion and a desire for activism - to become involved! There also exists a high level of ignorance regarding how government functions and astonishment that changes at all levels require consistent  active participation . Without youth interest and involvement who will carry on the tenets and the energy to protect the integrity of our democracy?  Right now, we have the attention of people from all age groups. We cannot afford to squander this chance to educate others regarding civic participation.
Youth programs are also fun and blessed with the spirit of "let each become all that one is capable of being."  We see that every year in the Students Inside Albany program. Surely we all know that this program is motivational often life changing It makes a difference in these lives.
Smaller scale local League youth programs are also inspiring and fun and garner great community respect.  Not all Leagues have the resources for a daunting large scale event but we ALL have dynamic ideas.
Vision for 2018:
That each League participates in a youth program that encourages civic responsibility at any level. Some steps along the way:
  • Identify persons in each League interested in working with youth
  • Investigate a partnership with other groups, organizations, schools that share vision; partnerships help to maintain enthusiasm, create new ideas and share the work burden
  • Encourage brainstorming! Often the smallest and most "out of the box" idea gleans wonderful results
  • Share! Share ideas, share any action, big or small with other Leagues
Please share your ideas for any programs/ projects that Leagues may access. No idea or project is too big or too small. There is a goldmine of amazing youth programs out there as well as innovative ideas for new ones. Soon we will have a mechanism for a sharing program that will be user friendly!
The state website has many descriptions of youth programs, but most are not current. Anyone interested in working on League youth programs should contact me. Kudos and thank you to all of our League members who work tirelessly in  educating and fostering active participation in government .
Local League News
The LWV of the Hamptons sponsored or co-sponsored 11 events during 2017 to commemorate, and to educate the public about, the 100th anniversary of women winning the vote in New York State. (see photo on right)
The LWV of Tompkins County is hosting a program entitled "Housing Needed: Affordable for People - Friendly for the Environment, It Can be Done!" Speakers will be Megan McDonald, Associate Planner, Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability; and Joe Bowes, Director of Real Estate Development, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. The focus of the program will be on the need for more affordable housing and how we can succeed in increasing the supply while also keeping in mind climate change, land use, and other environmental concerns.
Following the passage of women's suffrage in November 1917, the first election in NYS in which women could vote was held in Lisle on January 5, 1918, to determine whether the Town should allow the sale of alcohol. Despite protest from the owner of a local bar, at 6:10 the "Ladies of Lisle" became the first women in NYS to vote. After casting her historic first ballot, Florence Chauncey made the following statement to the local press: "I am very proud of the distinction of being the first woman to cast a vote in an election in this state. I know all former suffragists, now citizens, feel just as jubilant as I do. I prize my privilege most because it is a privilege shared by all my sisters in this State." The LWV of Broome Tioga joined other organizations to celebrate this anniversary.
Nancy Marr, VP of the LWV of Suffolk County, had a powerful article in the TBR Media about making your voice heard in the Legislature entitled, Making Democracy Work: Make change through the NYS Legislature in 2018. Read the article here: http://tbrnewsmedia.com/making-democracy-work-make-change-nys-legislature-2018/
In February, the LWV of Buffalo/Niagara will join AAUW as a co-sponsor to present  Women in Politics: Challenges Women Face When Running for Public Office. The panel discussion will be moderated by Diana Cihak, founder of WEPac/Electing Women into Office.
LWV of Cortland celebrated the women's suffrage centennial with a panel discussion by women in public office, past and present.
The Long Island Herald announced its 2017 Person of the Year: Tammie Williams, Member of LWV of SW Nassau. Congratulations, Tammie, and keep up the great work!
The LWV of NYC ushered in its newest initiative focused on working alongside college students and young working professionals to build new interest in the organization. The initiative aims to draw in students and working professionals who are committed to either supporting voter registration efforts on their campus in collaboration with LWVNYC support or learning more about what we do through sponsored projects or social events. The goal of the Ambassador Project is for young people to find ways to contribute to the League's organizational growth while working to build a presence for the LWVNYC throughout the city. The project is looking to host a monthly reading and discussion series in the spring of 2018, focusing on votes for women honoring the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in New York State.
Chautauqua County Leaguers Judi Lutz Woods and Lisa Mertz attended Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Pittsburgh, October 2017. An international network of activists and educators, the Climate Reality Leadership Corps is committed to spreading awareness of the climate crisis and working for solutions to the greatest challenge of our time. The Climate Reality Project offers on-going training in climate science, communications, and organizing to build a 21st century movement to create the sustainable and prosperous future we all want.

League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162;  FAX: 518-465-0812
Website: www.lwvny.org
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS