Studies and Program Adoption
League program arises from the suggestions of members. At every level of the League, the board of directors is responsible for reviewing and discussing these suggestions, formulating them in appropriate language, and recommending all or some of them for adoption.
A local League's "action" or advocacy program is determined by members at its annual meeting; state and national programs are voted upon by delegates at state and national League conventions. In the course of the program adoption discussion, members often give suggestions to the board on scope of inquiry, timing, emphasis and ways to handle the study and/or action phases.
Reaching Member Agreement
Before the League can take action, members must agree in broad terms on what they think about various aspects of the policy issue. The nature of the issue will affect how it is studied and how positions are reached. The board usually selects the method to be used: consensus (where agreement is reached using League responses to specific questions) or concurrence (where agreement or a vote is required on a pre-stated position such as one developed by a different League based on its own study).
The technique most often used in the League for reaching member agreement is consensus by group discussion. It is not a simple majority, nor is it unanimity; rather it is the overall sense of the group as expressed through the exchange of ideas and opinions, whether in a meeting of the full membership or a series of smaller discussion meetings.
Regardless of the method used, it is essential that members have an opportunity to become informed before being asked to make decisions on the issue under consideration. It is through this process that League members become educated on a given issue, and this is what makes subsequent League action on that issue uniquely credible and respected.
During the study phase, the study committee prepares background information, there may be public forums to educate the public and seek input, and members have an opportunity to examine the facts and key pro/con points. They are encouraged to discuss the political realities of action and to contribute ideas for the board to consider when it formulates an action strategy after a position is reached.
If the League has a position on a given issue, action can be taken as appropriate. The issue does not need to be studied each time action is thought to be necessary.
Energy Study. The Energy Committee of the LWV NCC initiated the two-year statewide study described below.
Land Use/Transportation Study The Land Use/Transportation Committee of the LWV NCC initiated the Land Use/Transportation study described below under "LWVDE Studies." This was a two-year study.
Climate Change Study
In March of 2011 the blue ribbon Climate Change Subcommittee of the Energy Committee presented informational materials and led consensus discussions in the three counties. Chad Tolman chaired this effort. Following the State Board's approval of the consensus positions Chad received support from state leaders in the environmental community to support this consensus in a request to the Governor to establish by Executive Order a carbon dioxide reduction plan and a target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This request is still pending. See this document for background information on the Climate Change study. The consensus included the following positions: The League of Women Voters of Delaware supports an aggressive and comprehensive energy use/climate change plan for Delaware. Some key points that should be included:
Energy Study. In 2009 the statewide Energy Committee traveled to the three Delaware counties with information on energy issues, followed by a series of meetings the next year to gather consensus on the issues. Here you see Brian Kramer talking to the group in New Castle County in 2009. Mary Anne Edwards introduced each speaker. You can see her in the background, while Chad Tolman is taking notes in the foreground. Click here for the final positions which now help to direct League energy lobbying efforts before the State Legislature. Positions resulting from the study include:
Land Use/Transportation Study In the spring of 2011 the Land Use/Transportation Committee--with active participation from two Sussex County members--presented to all three counties a powerpoint summary of their findings on the relation of carbon dioxide emissions to land use and transportation. These consensus meetings followed two years of study which included interviews with county and metropolitan planning organization planners, elected officials from all three counties and the Director of the Office of State Planning Coordination. The consensus resulted in support for the following positions:
1) current technology issues in agriculture including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), herbicides, pesticides, agriculture water pollution, aquifer depletion, antibiotics in livestock, and accurate food labeling; and
2) current agriculture finance issues including consolidation in agriculture industries, crop subsidies and the federal agricultural regulatory process.
To view a timeline and for more information, please click here.
Two studies were completed in 2012:
The Federal Role in Education The LWVUS Board approved a new Education position at the March 2012 (March 25, 2012) Board meeting. Click here for more information.
Privatization A second study identified parameters and policy issues to be considered in connection with proposals to transfer federal, state or local government services, assets and/or functions to the private sector. Click here for more information.
"Government Privatization: History, Examples, and Issues,"< prepared by the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (2006)
Paul Starr, The Meaning of Privatization, Yale Law and Policy Review 6 (1988): 6-41.
General Accounting Office, Privatization: Lessons Learned by State & Local Governments (1997). Includes a glossary of terms.
Privatization: A Seattle League Study. (2009)