Our Advocacy Work
Making Democracy Work
The LWV of Delaware is active in Dover, the state capital. See the summer 2016 Delaware Voter for a summary report of the 148th Session of the Delaware General Assembly.
The Advocacy Corps (AC), chaired by Sandy Spence, is comprised of our nine volunteer registered lobbyists, other portfolio (committee) chairs, and additional League members who participate on a regular basis in the AC's deliberations. They monitor all bills related to League issues.
In 2014, the AC addressed 144 bills, deciding on which ones to support, oppose, or simply monitor. You can read a report summarizing that work here.
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 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
Supporting minimum wage legislation, February 6, 2016.
To read President Jill Fuch's letter detailing the League's argument, click here
Bill of Rights Day, December 16. In recognition of Bill of Rights Day, December 15, LWVDE President Jill Fuchs has issued a call for action to protect our rights. This special day was first declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt just 10 days before the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941. He proclaimed this historic document, "the great American charter of personal liberty and human dignity." See her statement here.
Wilmington Education Improvement Plan statement, December 2015 is found here.
Access to Justice Commission. Sandy Spence testified at a hearing of the Access to Justice Commission in Georgetown on December 1. The Commission was established by Chief Justice Leo Strine to identify causes of racial disparity in the criminal justice system and propose ways to reduce those disparities. The statement is here.
Joint Statement of LWVDE and S. DE Alliance for Racial Justice. Charlotte King presented a joint statement of the LWVDE and the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice at a hearing of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council at a hearing in Georgetown on October 22, 2015. It outines priority criminal justice issues of concern to both organizatons. The statement is here.
LWVUS National Convention 2016 - Climate Change Activities
. The caucus Promoting a Price on Carbon was held by members of the Delaware, California, Illinois and Massachusetts Leagues. Chad Tolman discussed the Delaware "Price on Carbon Study" and others spoke about League actions around the country. The delegates nearly unanimously passed the following three resolutions proposed by the Oregon League:
- Therefore be it resolved, the LWVUS consider signing onto an Amicus Brief with the 21 youth plaintiffs from Our Children's Trust.
- Therefore be it resolved, LWVUS support the United States ratification of the UN COP 21 Paris Agreement.
- Therefore be it resolved, that the LWVUS continue working for full implementation of the EPA Clean Power Plan, especially at the state level, as a first step, and should call on the White House to implement an updated science-based Climate Action Plan that stabilizes global warming by bringing CO2 levels down to no more than 350 ppm by 2100. For Tolman's complete notes, see Climate Change caucus.
League Day in Dover 2015
League Day in Dover is held annually in late March. A record number of members and friends attended League Day 2015. Traditionally, we have focused in-depth on a single issue of priority interest. We took a different approach in 2015, addressing five priority issues with expert speakers covering each topic in half-hour segments, including questions and answers.
- Voting and Elections (Elaine Manlove, DE Commission of Elections)
- Campaign Finance(John Flaherty, President, DE Coalition for Open Government)
- Housing (Susan Starrett, Senior Program Manager, CSH)
- Justice (Joanna Champney, Chief of Planning, DE Department of Correction)
- Environment/Land Use - the Coastal Zone (Richard Fleming, Ph.D., Delaware Nature Society)
We met at Christ Episcopal Church, just three blocks from Legislative Hall for the informative morning session, enjoyed a catered lunch, and then visited Legislative Hall.
The afternoon was full of activity. Here, members gathered in the lobby waiting for the House of Representatives to go into session to adopt House Concurrent Resolution 14 commemorating the 95th Anniversary of the League's founding in 1920, the same year as adoption of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.
Later, the Senate unanimously concurred in HCR 14. Seen here is Senator Bethany Hall-Long, presiding as President Pro Tem Patricia Blevin introduced the House Concurrent Resolution and Senator David McBride, Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, expressed special appreciation of the LWVDE's years of work seeking enactment of the "bottle bill" that required a refundable deposit on certain recyclable beverage containers and our later support for replacing that law with universal recycling.
Governor Markell met with us in his office at Legislative Hall. Look for him in the back row. He commented on growing up under the influence of his mother who remains a member of the League in New Castle County. He engaged with us in a discussion of funding concerns and the League's work on several issues, and urged us to continue to "stand up to power." At the conclusion of our meeting, he presented a Proclamation honoring our 95th Anniversary. President Charlotte King is holding it in the front row.
In addition to observing the House and Senate Sessions, meeting with the Governor and attending some Committee hearings on important topics such as Repeal of the Death Penalty, members delivered folders with our new Position Papers to every legislator's office. See links to Position Papers below.
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 issues that were addressed at League Day in Dover 2015, plus a few on other current topics. Members delivered folders with these papers to the office of every legislator on the afternoon of League Day and they will be 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 post additional papers.
- Coastal Zone Act The League of Women Voters Supports
Strengthening Regulations Implementing the Coastal Zone Act of 1971.
- Death Penalty Repeal We support Repeal of Delaware's Death Sentence.
- DMOST We support Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment.
- Homeless Bill of Rights We support Adoption of a Homeless Bill of Rights.
- Manufactured Housing. 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
- Minimum Wage LWVDE supports a minimum wage of up to $10.25 adopted in at least two steps, indexing future increases to inflation, and raising the minimum wage for tipped
workers beyond its current level of $2.23 per hour.
- Open Space and Agricultural Preservation We support full funding of $9 million for open space and $10
million for farmland preservation.
- Same Day Registration We support Same Day Registration legislation to allow all eligible Delawareans to register to vote and
cast a ballot at their polling places on Election Day.
- Source of Income LWVDE supports "Source of Income" legislation making it unlawful to discriminate based on any source of lawful income for the purpose of determining income eligibility
for real property rental or home ownership.
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. 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.
The Lobby Handbook has been published by the Delaware Commission for Women where you can request paper copies by calling 302-577-7113 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.