Making Democracy Work

Our Advocacy Work

Making Democracy Work

The LWV of Delaware is active in Dover, the state capital, working primarily through our 11 volunteer, registered lobbyists and other members of the Advocacy Corps who support our advocacy work in many ways.

Advocacy Corps

The Advocacy Corps (AC), chaired by Sandy Spence, is comprised of our 16 volunteer registered lobbyists, other portfolio (committee) chairs, and additional League members who participate on a regular basis in the AC's deliberations and support the work of the lobbyists by researching, writing testimony, letters to the editor, op eds. The AC monitors all bills related to League issues.

Our volunteer lobbyists advocate on those bills where we have a relevant state or national position that has been developed after study and consensus at the national and/or state level.

A summary of our state positions, developed after study and consensus, appears below. Positions developed by LWVUS can also be used as a basis for League action. Go here for our Positions.

The AC is also responsible for organizing our annual League Day in Dover, held in late March or early April each year.

The Corps meets in Dover monthly during legislative sessions and most months in between. For more information contact Sandy Spence, Advocacy Chair.

Current and Recent Advocacy Actions

Since the end of the 149th Session of the General Assemblyon June 30, 2018, the LWVDE Advocacy Corps has been meeting monthly to review successes and disappointments, plan for the 150th Session that opened in January 2019, set priorities, increase our numbers, and initiate a new approach to League Day in Dover.

With a large number of retirees this past spring, we are also reviewing backgrounds on new legislators, and plan to do our best to get to know all of them as soon as possible. If you have a new Senator or Representative, we'd love to hear from you to give us some background on their issues.

League Day is set for Thursday, March 28, 2019. We will focus on a four key issues to educate attendees in preparation for visits to legislative offices in the afternoon, accompanied by at least one of our experienced lobbyists: Early Voting, National Popular Vote, Clean Water and Renewal Energy.

Our top priority legislation for 2019 is Early Voting. Clean Water is another important one. Details and additional key issues will be announced as we agree on them.

We testified at several budget hearings held by the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in November. At these public hearings state agencies present their budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year budget (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020).

Following the hearings, OMB prepared the Governor's draft budget which he unveiled to the General Assembly in January 2019. From late January until early March, we are testifying at the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) hearings on the budget requests and the Capital Improvement Committee, typically called the Bond Bill Committee, which hears requests for capital expenditures.

Both Committee prepare their proposed bills for general appropriations, capital expenditures and grants in aid to non-profits to be voted on by June 30, the last day of the General Assembly session.

In the first three weeks of the 150th Session beginning January 8, the House and Senate introduced a total of over 60 bills, not including numerous resolutions. Our Advocacy Corps has already identified 36 that we are supporting, opposing or monitoring.

Some testimony we presented either last year or already this year can be accessed below.

We are always looking for additional volunteers to work with us, studying issues, preparing position papers, letters to the editor, op eds, etc.

And we hope YOU will TAKE ACTION whenever we send an Action Alert on important bills! We plan to do more of those in 2019.

LWVDE Position Papers

Based on state and/or national League policy positions, the Advocacy Corps has prepared a set of Position Papers on specific bills or current issues. Members deliver folders with these papers to the office of every legislator on the afternoon of League Day and they are used throughout the year as we advocate at public hearings, write letters to the editor and take other actions to support our positions.

View the papers on each topic by clicking on the header below. Check back later as we update these and post additional papers.

  • Absentee Voting HB 73, the first leg of a Constitution amendment, was introduced on March 12, 2019 and was reported out of the House Committee on March 20.

  • Clean Water Position Paper 2019 We support legislation in 2019 to repair existing and prevent any new contamination by funding water supply systems, sewage systems and water treatment processing facilities.

  • Coastal Zone Act (2017) We support Strengthening Regulations Implementing the Coastal Zone Act of 1971. Unfortunately, the bill we strongly opposed was enacted on August 2, 2017.

  • Death Penalty Reinstatement (2017) We oppose Reinstatement of Delaware's Death Penalty. This bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Committee.

  • Dental Care for Medicaid Recipients (2017) Dental Care is important to overall health. To date, this funding has not been added to Delaware's budget.

  • DIMER (2017) Funding to secure slots for Delaware students at out-of-state Medical School supports availability of medical personnel since we have no medical schools in Delaware. Partial funding has been provided.

  • Early Voting HB 38 was introduced on January 16, 2019 and passed the House on March 19. It provides for 10 days of early voting including the Saturday and Sunday before election day.

  • Education Funding Inequity (2018) The current equalization formula results in inequity. There is no consideration of poverty or the number of students needing ESL. Property assessments have not been updated for decades in all three counties.

  • Homeless Bill of Rights We support Adoption of a Homeless Bill of Rights. No bill has been introduced in the current legislative session.

  • LLC VotingThe LWV position is that only citizens should be allowed to vote in municipal elections and every municipality should, at a minimum, allow any resident citizen who is state registered to cast a vote in municipal elections. We are seeking legislators to sponsor a bill that would implement this position.

  • Manufactured Housing (2015). Based on our support for affordable housing and "tenants" rights, we support legislation to improve the plight of manufactured homeowners on leased land.

  • Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Let's eliminate minimum mandatory sentences and adjust drug sentencing laws to fit the seriousness of the crime. Some progress was made on this subject in various bills in the current session.

  • Minimum Wage (2017) LWVDE supports a minimum wage of up to $10.25 adopted in annual steps, indexing future increases to inflation, and raising the minimum wage for tipped workers beyond its current level of $2.23 per hour. SB 10 was released from the Senate Labor Committee on June 7, 2017. No further action to date.

  • National Popular Vote Interstate Compact 2019 The League supported the NPVIC, which was enacted in Delaware on March 28, 2019.

  • Open Space and Agricultural Preservation (2017) We support full funding of $9 million for open space and $10 million for farmland preservation. The Governor's budget for the Fiscal Year ending on June 30, 2019 includes $10 million for each of these programs.

  • Renewable Energy Position Paper 2019 With persistent attention to energy efficiency and adoption of new technologies for production of renewable energy, Delaware can do its part in averting an existential global crisis.

  • Same Day Registration HB 39 was introduced on Jan 16, 2019. It was released from Committee in the House on March 13.

  • Transit Funding (2017 We support increased funding for public transportation.

  • Voting Machines and Paper Trail (2017) Delaware should adopt a system that leaves a paper trail to ensure that voters can see and have confidence in the integrity of the state's elections. A Request for Proposal is pending. Funding for new machines is critical in the FY 2019 budget.

  • Wilmington Eduction Improvement Recommendations (2017) We support the Recommendations of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission addressing the urgent need for property tax reassessment and correction of the inequities in the school funding formula. This proposal died in the House.

League Testimonies on Specific Bills

League Lobbyists testify frequently at legislative hearings in Dover. Some of the statements we have mde in the 149th and 150th Session. Note, we are in process of updating this section to include outcome of bills listed below on which we testified.

LWVUS Advocacy Focus

To learn about the priority national issues with which LWVUS is involved, go to LWV-Our Work.

If you would like to advocate on LWVUS positions at the national level, consider joining the LWVUS Grassroots Lobby Corps to receive email action alerts from the LWVUS and respond by sending quick, targeted, and sometimes last-minute, messages to members of Congress on priority issues before key votes. To get involved in this network, go to the League's website here. Provide your contact information and check Grassroots Lobby Corps.

The Lobby Handbook

The LWVDE produced The Lobby Handbook as a guide on how to conduct effective advocacy. An updated version (April 2018) can be found here. It was written to give you a short course on the legislative process in Delaware and to offer practical information about influencing it. We encourage you to take advantage of our state's "uniqueness" and to become knowledgeable about and involved in your government.