Fall 2008 Edition
Published February 22, 2008
© 2008 League of Women Voters of Alabama

President's Paragraphs

The odds are good that if you are reading this, you are either reading it online or you just downloaded it from the LWVAL website.  Most of our members now get the Voter electronically.  Please take a few minutes right now to explore what else is available on our website, and through our website via links to other helpful sites.  It’s easy to use and our technology director, Jean Johnson, is constantly updating it.  If you haven’t looked lately, chances are there is something new you should see.  Just go to www.lwval.org.  Most of our site is available to the public without a user name or password.  If you need help accessing the Members Only Section, you can contact Jean…as instructed on the site’s home page.

One of the things on the website is a list of the League’s priorities for the 2008 Legislative Session, currently underway, that were adopted at the December State Board meeting.  They are essentially the same as last year’s and include a focus on constitutional reform, election campaign finance reform, ethics law reform, voting issues, judicial selection reform, natural resources and government accountability.  You will notice a theme.  As has been the case throughout its history, the League’s priority is working to protect and strengthen the democratic basis for our government---whether by working for a new constitution to facilitate fairer, more democratic and more efficient governing processes or addressing issues of undisclosed (and therefore potentially damaging) influence on elections or legislators.    

We will be following legislative proposals on these and other issues of interest to the League throughout the Legislative Session.  Occasionally, the State League may issue action alerts to request that you contact legislators in support of some bill.  For matters of  particular interest to the League, bill numbers, summaries, the reasons the League is supporting or opposing the specific bill, and current status of the bill are posted on our website, as well as links to the government sites where the full text of the bill and other relevant information are available.  You are encouraged to take the time to understand a bill before taking action to support it.  You don’t need to wait for an action alert to contact your legislators.  Speaking in your name, not the League’s, tell them about your support for important bills.

As the State League we will devote most of our resources to the priorities we have identified.  Our procedure is to rely on the Advocacy Committee to review relevant bills and make recommendations, but your input can make a difference. If you see a problem with a bill the League has decided to support or believe that the League needs to support one it is opposing or on which it has not focused, let the Advocacy Committee know. 

In January, LWVAL sent letters to all members of the Legislature, encouraging them to work together for the good of the State in the 2008 Legislative session and noting that, in the recent past, procedures in the House had been more conducive to civil discourse and cooperation than had procedures in the Senate.  We again reminded legislators of the availability of our legislative study.

This is a great time to tell people about the League and invite them to join.  Between the Presidential primaries and the Legislative session, government and politics are being discussed everywhere.  Let’s use these conversations to inform others that they have the opportunity to positively affect elections (by facilitating the process) and public policy in a nonpartisan way through League membership.  While doing the important League work of Voter Service, let’s also use it to increase our visibility.  Visibility grows membership, so we can do more service!

Speaking of visibility--a series of public service television spots sponsored by the LWVAL and including the LWVAL website were aired in the Birmingham area in January encouraging voter registration and participation.  Local stations, Channel 21 WTTO and Channel 68 WABM, offered to make the spots and air them without charge to the League.  Linda Verin, a Birmingham League member and marketing professional, wrote the spots which were approved by the LWVAL Board.  Linda has offered to revise the spots for the June primary.  We anticipate that they can be made available to other stations around the State.  Please consider contacting media in your area and let us know if they would be interested in airing the spots.

-- Mary Lynn Bates

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