Advocacy.Leading up to the August recess, LWVUS LWVUS League of Women Voters of the United States President Mary Wilson, the LWVUS Advocacy staff and the Lobby Corps worked with the Congress on priorities set by the LWVUS Board.
On the campaign finance reform Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns. front, Wilson submitted a statement in support of the bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act for a Senate Rules Committee hearing in late June. The legislation would set up a system for public financing of Senate elections and allow qualified candidates to receive funds from the Senate Fair Elections Fund instead of relying upon money from private interests.
In its late June, 5-4 decision on Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC See forward error correction.
FEC - Forward Error Correction , the Supreme Court said that corporate funding for some "issue ads" that mention candidates in the key period right before elections may not be prohibited by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA, McCain–Feingold Act, Pub.L. 107-155, 116 Stat. 81, enacted 2002-03-27) is United States federal law that amended the Federal Election Campaign Act, which regulates the financing of political campaigns. (BCRA BCRA Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
BCRA Banco Central de la Republica Argentina
BCRA British Cave Research Association (UK)
BCRA Bay Cities Racing Association
BCRA British Columbia Reining Association ), because those ads are free speech protected by the First Amendment. The League's response made the front page of The Washington Post. "Chief Justice Roberts has reopened the door to corruption." We, and other advocates of clean elections, were disappointed by the Court's ruling, which appeared to reopen the door to a flood of corporate and union-sponsored advertising for the 2008 election that would have the practical effect of supporting candidates. We are concerned that the FEC might interpret the Court's decision to allow most advertising of this type. The LWVUS amicus brief had argued that BCRA properly applied to the ads in question and that the Court's previous ruling upholding BCRA should be followed.
In late July, the League wrote letters to House members urging opposition to an amendment that would "defund de·fund
tr.v. de·fund·ed, de·fund·ing, de·funds
To stop the flow of funds to: "Some days, they wake up with a burning desire to defund the Public Broadcasting System and the National Endowment for the " FEC enforcement of the ban on corporate and union funding of sham issue advertising.
In civil liberties, we saw success in July with Senate passage of the OPEN Government Act, sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D VT) and John Cornyn (R TX). After the summer recess, the House will take up the Senate bill and, hopefully, send it on to the President for his signature. The legislation will strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and make information more readily available to the public.
After success in the House, the DC Voting Rights Act Voting Rights Act
Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1965 to ensure the voting rights of African Americans. Though the Constitution's 15th Amendment (passed 1870) had guaranteed the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” was stalled in the Senate and had to wait until after the summer recess for action. In July, the Advocacy staff worked on the national Senate call-in day for the bill and participated with LWVUS President Mary Wilson in a demonstration at the Hart Senate Office Building The Hart Senate Office Building, the third U.S. Senate office building, was built in the 1970s. First occupied in November 1982, the Hart Building is the largest of the Senate office buildings. It is named for Philip A. Hart, long-time senator from Michigan. , chanting "No vacation without representation." The League, together with others, received an award from DC Appleseed for its work on DC voting rights Voting rights
The right to vote on matters that are put to a vote of security holders. For example the right to vote for directors.
The type of voting and the amount of control held by the owners of a class of stock. .
We continued to emphasize the League's five key issues in election administration (see June 2007 issue, p. 17). The LWVUS denounced and worked hard to defeat the amendment to the immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. bill proposed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R KY) that would require photo ID at the polls in 2008. In late July, President Mary Wilson testified on essential elements in election administration reform before the Senate Rules Committee at its hearing on the Ballot Integrity Act, S. 1487. Wilson emphasized the importance of protections for voter registration drives, poll worker training, equitable allocation of polling place resources, protections against erroneous purges and requirements to count provisional ballots of eligible voters. (See Hill Bulletin, p. 13.)
The LWVUS also saw success with veto-proof passage in both houses of historic lobbying and ethics reform legislation containing key bundling and other reforms. The League kept up the pressure and it bore fruit. The League urged support in the House for Rep. Chris Van Hollen's (D MD) amendment to require disclosure of bundled campaign contributions from lobbyists. And we wrote letters and met with congressional leadership urging strong disclosure provisions for bundled contributions as the two houses resolved the differences between their bills. Finally, the League pushed hard for cloture The procedure by which debate is formally ended in a meeting or legislature so that a vote may be taken.
Cloture is a means of terminating a filibuster, which is a prolonged speech on the floor of the Senate designed to forestall legislative action. in the Senate so the bill could proceed to final passage over objections from a small minority. On another ethics front, the Advocacy staff met with members of the House ethics taskforce to discuss the four key elements for establishing a nonpartisan and professional ethics professional ethics,
n the rules governing the conduct, transactions, and relationships within a profession and among its publics.
professional ethics liability,
n 1. enforcement process in the House.
On global climate change, the LWVUS taskforce continues its work on a range of issues, including overall direction, renewable energy performance standards and carbon sequestration sequestration
In law, a writ authorizing a law-enforcement official to take into custody the property of a defendant in order to enforce a judgment or to preserve the property until a judgment is rendered. proposals.
In the healthcare reform arena, the LWVUS celebrated another success before the summer recess. The State Children's Health Children's Health Definition
Children's health encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of children from infancy through adolescence. Insurance Program (SCHIP SCHIP State Children's Health Insurance Program ) legislation passed in both houses of Congress. Differences still need to be reconciled in conference (see Hill Bulletin, p. 13). The Advocacy staff also continues to monitor and address other issues of concern as they arise.
The dedicated LWVUS Lobby Corps visited targeted Members of Congress over the past few months on lobbying and ethics reform in the House, Senate public financing, the DC Voting Rights Act in the Senate and SCHIP in both houses. Their hard work bore fruit!
The growing Grassroots Lobby Corps responded to action alerts on the DC Voting Rights Act in the House and the Senate, lobbying reform in the House, Voter ID in the Senate and the National Call-In Day for the DC Voting Rights Act in the Senate. Their actions also had significant impact.
Thanks to all of you who take a few minutes to respond to our action alerts. To keep flooding Congress with our concerns, forward the next action alert you receive to people you know with a personal note asking them to sign up to receive e-mailed alerts. To learn more about how you can take action on the League's priority issues, see Hill Bulletin on page 13. Also visit Take Action at www.lwv.org and sign up for the Grassroots Lobby Corps to receive action alerts by e-mail.