Adopted January 2002
The LWVUS board adopts annually a set of legislative priorities to guide its advocacy work in Congress. The goals are:
- to enhance the League's effectiveness by concentrating resources on priority issues.
- to build the League's credibility and visibility by projecting a focused and consistent image.
- to ensure that the League has sufficient issue and political expertise to act knowledgeably.
- to enable the League to manage resources effectively.
In setting legislative priorities, the board considers the following:
- Opportunities for the League to make an impact.
- Program decisions made at convention and/or council.
- Member interest.
- Resources available to manage effectively.
The board regularly reviews the legislative priorities and is prepared to make adjustments should new opportunities for effective action emerge.
Requests from State/Local Leagues for Permission to Act at the Federal Level
All action at the federal level must be authorized by the LWVUS board. This includes any effort aimed at influencing the decision on a federal issue, such as communicating with an elected or appointed official, joining a coalition, taking part in a press conference or rally, or writing a letter-to-the-editor. A state or local League wishing to work in this way on an issue that is not an LWVUS legislative priority must consult with the LWVUS about the intended action.
As part of this consultation process, the state/local League is asked to provide the following information in writing:
- the proposed action and the message to be conveyed.
- the LWVUS position on which the action is based.
- evidence that the issue is a priority for that state/local League.
If a local League is requesting permission to contact its U.S. Senator(s), it should also provide evidence that the action has been authorized by its state League.
The consultation process is designed to help make League action as effective as possible, to ensure that the League speaks with one voice, and to coordinate and reinforce the League's advocacy messages. LWVUS board and staff will review the action request to determine that it is consistent with League positions and that it will not interfere with LWVUS action on a priority issue.
Requests from State/Local Leagues for LWVUS Action on Non-Priority Issues
When a priority issue of a state/local League requires action at the federal level that goes beyond contacting its own member(s) of Congress, the League may request lobbying assistance from the LWVUS. The request will be evaluated using the following criteria:
- The issue is a high priority for the requesting League.
- The requesting League is very knowledgeable about the issue.
- The requesting League has worked on the issue for some time.
- There is no objection to the action from any affected League(s).
- The proposed action is consistent with LWVUS positions.
- There is adequate lead time for LWVUS staff to determine the most appropriate opportunities for action and for the LWVUS board to make necessary policy decisions.
- The proposed action will not interfere with LWVUS action on legislative priorities or work on other organizational priorities.
- The proposed action is limited in scope and in its demands on LWVUS resources.
Requests for permission to urge other Leagues/members to act on a national issue
The LWVUS has sole responsibility for contacting state/local Leagues and League members about national issues.
Requests for Endorsement of Initiatives Sponsored by Other Organizations
If the issue is national or international in scope, the LWVUS is the appropriate level to endorse the initiative. If the LWVUS declines to endorse the initiative, endorsement by state or local Leagues will not be appropriate.
The LWVUS will endorse such an initiative if
- the action will further a current LWVUS advocacy priority and/or
- LWVUS endorsement would enhance an important relationship with the organization making the request, and
- resource demands associated with the endorsement are compatible with efforts to achieve current LWVUS advocacy goals.
(In evaluating the impact of the endorsement on League resources, the LWVUS will consider implications for the national office, the LWVUS board and state/local Leagues.)