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Leagues in action.

LWV of South Carolina reports a major success--the first South Carolina campaign finance reform legislation since 1991! In June 2003, LWVSC President Laurel Suggs and LWVSC Board Member Sarah Leverette (a 50-year Leaguer) witnessed the signing by Governor Mark Sanford (R), who along with other legislators recognized the League and Common Cause for their help.

In 2001, then Governor Jim Hodges (D), appointed Suggs to a five-person campaign finance reform task force that helped develop the legislation. League members lobbied continuously for two years to achieve passage of this bill.

The law does not include everything the League wanted, but it contains very important provisions:

* Independent groups and political parties will have to disclose soft money contributions--the money that for years has influenced elections without being reported in detail.

* Lobbyists won't be able to give to political action committees (PACs) and PACs can't transfer money for state campaigns among themselves.

* Statewide and legislative candidates will have to file campaign finance reports in an electronic format as soon as the money is appropriated. The LWVSC fought particularly hard for this provision as disclosure without easy access to the information is rather meaningless. The League will continue to work for funding of this provision.

* Lobbyists won't be able to drop their registration in order to raise money for campaigns. If they drop their registration, they can't register again until the following year.

The new law is an improvement, but it does not address the corrupting influence of campaign contributions to candidates. A public financing option is needed more than ever.

--Laurel M. Suggs,

LWVSC president,

lsuggs@imgsc.com, phone:

803- 799- 7050

LWV of North Carolina also reports campaign finance reform success after working for over five years with 50 national and local organizations. In October 2003, Governor Easley signed the North Carolina Judicial Campaign Reform Act.

The law provides a public financing option to qualifying candidates for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals as well as a Judicial Voter Guide and removes party labels from judicial candidates. The law also created a Public Campaign Financing Fund that will be funded by a $3.00 voluntary check-off on the state income tax form, $50 voluntary contribution from attorneys when they send iii their privilege license fee and voluntary contributions.

With the help of local Leagues, LWVNC organized 18 skill-building grassroots education workshops across the state. As follow-up, local Leagues organized legislative meetings locally or in Raleigh, wrote letters to newspapers, contacted their legislators during critical times in the legislative process, passed out flyers, had house-parties and attended legislative days. Also, the Leagues work in local clusters that are educating citizens about the new law and organizing fundraisers in support of the Public Campaign Financing Fund.

--Peg Chapin, Co-President

LWVNC, Campaign

Finance Reform Chair,

ehchapin@aol.com,

phone: 704-846-2540.

LWV of Lackawanna County, PA President AndreaMulrine, reports: "The Leagues of Lackawanna County and Wilkes Barre (PA) had a great time participating in Smackdown Your Vote! We went to the Wachovia Arena to the World Wrestling Entertainment's "RAW in Wilkes Barre" show on October 20th and conducted a voter registration drive. We worked the long lines of people waiting to enter the Arena and manned a table inside. We registered 26 new voters from seven Pennsylvania counties and gave out additional voter registration forms.

While this was definitely an unusual venue for us, it provided great publicity for the LWV. We received coverage on the local morning and noon news shows on NBC and CBS. I did a live interview for the local 6 o'clock news and there was additional coverage on the 11 o'clock news. (1 might add that my live interview was conducted while a hundred screaming, sign waving, time painted fans were immediately behind me!) In addition, as part of the Youth Empowerment Strategy (YES) for Democracy, State Rep. Jim Wansacz did a radio interview with a wrestler on WBI IT radio in the afternoon. Rep.

Wansacz has agreed to serve as the PA Democratic chairmian for the YES for Democracy campaign. Finally, I was contacted by Electric City, our weekly entertainment newspaper, to do an 'Up Close & Personal' interview with them for November 6. The great thing about Electric City is that it's widely read by our younger residents.

One woman made me very conscious of how much information I take for granted. She drove down to the Arena with her 19-year-old son and his 18-year-old girlfriend after seeing me on the 6 o'clock news ... not to attend the event, but just to register them to vote. She said that she didn't know how else to do it, so when she saw the news, they drove right down. They filled out the forms, handed the clipboards back to me and went right back to their ear. Those of us who are involved with the League understand how voter registration works, and I tend to foolishly assume that everyone knows how to do it, but they, perhaps, choose not to register. The lesson learned for me is that we have to find creative ways and partnerships, like Smackdown Your Vote!, to reach those who may otherwise be left out of the system."

LWV of Ashland, Bayfield, Cable, WI is in two of the least populated counties in Wisconsin. Still it now has over 90 members as a result of getting involved in controversial issues AND partnering with other organizations. Since 1992-93, membership has increased by 102%. They've gotten small grants ($2-3K) for informational meetings on how unchecked development can destroy inland lakes and how land use planning can help. They have partnered with Indian tribes to start a watershed organization and worked with a local college on regional trends.

--Kathy Allen, LWV of

Ashland, Bayfield, Cable,

dandkallen@ncis.net

LWV of California was named one of the 25 laureates for the prestigious 2003 Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity. The League was selected a laureate for the Knight Ridder Equality Award in recognition for their Web site Smartvoter.org.
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Title Annotation:League News
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:999
Previous Article:Engaging the nation.
Next Article:The 411 on e-Mailing Lists.
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