Making Democracy Work

Advocacy and Action

Happening Now

  • HR1, the For the People Act, passed in the U.S. House on Friday, March 8! This landmark legislation is the biggest improvement to our democracy since the Voting Rights Act. The National League is now focused on advocacy efforts in the U.S. Senate.

  • On January 10, 2019, the League co-sponsored a public informational meeting with the Scarsdale Forum on "Where Your Scarsdale Property Tax Dollars Go". Click on this link to view the slide presentation from the meeting.

  • LWV of NC v. Rucho is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in March, along with companion cases Common Cause v. Rucho and Maryland redistricting case Benisek v. Lamone. The addition of Benisek v. Lamone gives the Court an opportunity to review cases where both political parties gerrymandered districts--Republicans were the party in power in North Carolina and in the Maryland case, Democrats--and could lead to the Court setting a partisan gerrymandering standard for the whole country, curtailing this undemocratic practice nationwide.

  • In a speech on 12/17/2018, Governor Cuomo unveiled a 20 point agenda for the first 100 days of the upcoming legislative session. Read the 20 points here

  • The New York State Legislature released its session calendar on 12/12/2018. Click this link to the NYS Legislative Session Calendar January-June 2019

Voting Rights

After more than three decades of advocating by the LWVNY, on January 14, 2019 the New York State legislature finally passed a package of comprehensive voting reforms that will totally transform New York's election operations! This package includes:

- Early voting
- Same day voter registration
- No-excuse absentee voting
- Pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds
- Primary consolidation
- State-wide voter registration transfer
- Closure of the LLC loophole

The LWV of New York now will begin advocating for state funding to implement these proposals. The State League will be reviewing any proposed regulations to the policies and giving input when necessary. In the case of no-excuse absentee voting and same day voter registration, LWVNY will continue its advocacy work in 2021 as these reforms are Constitutional amendments that require passage in two legislative sessions.

On January 15, 2019, the Governor released his executive budget plan for fiscal year 2019. The Governor highlighted his Democracy Agenda which includes voting reforms such as making Election Day a state holiday, automatic voter registration, and his own early voting proposal. Unfortunately, his budget does not include funding for any of these reforms nor the reforms passed by the legislature. You can find his full budget proposal at budget.ny.gov.

The State League will once again lobby the legislature to ensure funding is allocated for these reforms. Last session the Governor added $7 million for early voting in his 30-day amendments. The funding was not included in the one-house budgets of the Senate and Assembly.

June 25 marked the fifth anniversary of the decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Join the League and tell your Senators and Representatives that it is time to modernize and repair the VRA! As a preconvention activity, League members from around the country lobbied their members of Congress on legislation that would repair the VRA to its full powers. This legislation, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, will level the playing field and ensure that all Americans have fair and equal access to the voting booth. Members of the League who attended Lobby Day may also wish to use our template press release to spread the word about the lobbying activities with their local media.

Reproductive Rights

On January 22, 2019 the State legislature passed two more of the League's priority reforms: the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act.

  • The Reproductive Health Act codifies Roe v. Wade in New York State law and takes reproductive choice out of the criminal code and move it into the health code.
  • The Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act legislation mandates insurers to cover all forms of birth control, and the "BOSS Bill", which will prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on the employees' or dependent's reproductive health decisions.

Gun Control

On January 29, 2019, the New York State legislature passed new gun control legislation that includes prohibitions against: selling or manufacturing bump stocks in the state; and anyone, other than the police or security personnel carrying firearms on any school property. The law also extends the waiting period for purchasing a gun from three days to 30 days after an inconclusive background check, and authorizes law enforcement, parents, teachers and school administrators to ask a judge to evaluate a child who they believe poses a threat to him/herself or others-- a so-called "red flag" law.

Climate Change

"Green New Deal" Letter LWVUS Talking Points - LWVUS joined a January 10th letter with more than 600 organizations urging Congress to hold hearings and openly debate legislation about climate change in response to the momentum across the country to address this important issue. LWVUS provides these talking points to Leagues about our engagement with a possible "Green New Deal" and climate change policy more generally. These points are meant to inform Leagues of the activities of LWVUS and can be used by individual Leagues in their messaging on this subject.

The LWVUS Board approved the following position on climate change:

The League believes that climate change is a serious threat facing our nation and planet. The League believes that an interrelated approach to combating climate change--including through energy conservation, air pollution controls, building resilience, and promotion of renewable resources--is necessary to protect public health and defend the overall integrity of the global ecosystem. The League supports climate goals and policies that are consistent with the best available climate science and that will ensure a stable climate system for future generations. Individuals, communities, and governments must continue to address this issue, while considering the ramifications of their decision, at all levels--local, state, regional, national, and global.

This position will be included in the next version of Impact on Issues when it is published later this Spring.