League of Women Voters of NYS


           LWVNYS Convention Summary 

June 2013

President's Message

Thank you to all 40 local leagues, ILOs and MALs  represented by 99 delegates along with  23  guests  who participated in  our 55th  Biennial Convention.    This represented an increase in attendance and representation from the 2011 Convention and I see it as a very positive sign for the future of the New York State League and that of our local leagues.

Attendees had a tour of the Capitol on Friday afternoon, a dine around Friday evening at local restaurants, workshops on Saturday morning, plenary Saturday afternoon, dinner, awards for local leagues and a very interesting talk from former Congressman Mickey Edwards  on Saturday evening, and finishing plenary on Sunday morning.

Delegates made a number of important decisions for the next two years.
  • approved a budget for 2013-2015
  • elected officers and directors   
  • recommended a change to the bylaws
  • recommended concurrence on Human Trafficking,  a study on Term Limits for members of the Legislature and statewide office, a study on "Getting on the ballot in New York State," and an update on our position on Constitutional Convention
  • voted to retain all our remaining positions as part of  2013-2015 program.
As you can see, it is going to be a busy two years.  Please contact laura@lwvny.org or me at robintwins@gmail.com, or call the state office at 518-465-4162 if you want to participate in the study committee for the update or either Study. 

For a full summary of Convention, click here. Everything is also posted on the state League website under Conventions & Council (click on left side of homepage). See sections below for more details on each of the studies, handouts and presentations from the many workshops and information sessions, and other Convention activities.

Sally Robinson, President


Human Trafficking Concurrence
Study on Term Limits
Study on Primary System
Update on Constitutional Convention
2013-15 Board of Directors
Outgoing Board Members
Convention Workshops
Local League Award Winners
Big League Raffle
Silent Auction
Photos from Convention

LWVNYS Takes Stand on Human Trafficking

The League of Women Voters of New York State has just taken this stand on human trafficking:

Human forced labor and sex trafficking should be stopped through legislation and changes in public policy.  Those who have been commercially sexually exploited or coerced into slave labor, or who are minors, should be considered as victims of human trafficking.  Victims of human trafficking should be provided with services to facilitate integration into the community.

The impetus to develop a position on human trafficking came because Governor Cuomo's  Women's Equality Act, which the League supports, included a section on human trafficking. The League was unable to speak to that particular point because it had no position, either way, on human trafficking.  Furthermore, several local Leagues wanted to work in area coalitions to deal with human trafficking - which this position now makes possible.

At the biennial LWVNY  Convention on June 9, 2013 delegates authorized conducting a concurrence with the above position, which is based on a study and position developed by the LWV of Ohio.  With unprecedented speed and enthusiasm enough NYS local Leagues have now held meetings and concurred, so that that wording becomes the official LWVNY position on human trafficking.


Study on Term Limits
Study on Term Limits for members of the State Legislature and Statewide Office

 The state Board recommended, and the delegates approved a study on term limits for members of the state legislature and statewide officials.  The state League currently has a position against term limits for these offices.  This is considered a new study, not an update, because our original state position was based on a national position not a state study. The 1992 LWVUS Convention authorized state and local Leagues to use national positions and principles to take action against term limits for state or local office holders. State and local Leagues may apply the national position in opposition to term limits at other levels, but it does not require opposition to term limits at other levels if a different position has been arrived at through study or concurrence.   As approved by the delegates, this study will not go forward unless a chair and a working committee are found.  Please contact laura@lwvny.org or  Sally Robinson at robintwins@gmail.com, or call the office at 518-465-4162 if you are interested in participating.
Study on the Primary System in NYS
Study on the Primary System in New York State

 Delegates also approved a non-recommended study to determine if another form of primary would be beneficial to the democratic process in New York State.  The study is limited to the ballot for state legislative and statewide offices, but it will consider the entire process by which individuals get on the ballot for the general election, including the issue of being endorsed by more than one political party. 

We anticipate much of the background research for the study will be done by the state office but we need to have a committee of local League members to help prepare materials, review the materials and work on developing consensus questions. Please contact laura@lwvny.org or  Sally Robinson at robintwins@gmail.com, or call the office at 518-465-4162 if you are interested in participating.
Update on Constitutional Convention
Update on Constitutional Convention

 The state Board recommended, and the delegates approved an update of our position on the Constitutional Convention with an emphasis on the method of delegate selection. Our current position was adopted in 1993. The issue of a Constitutional Convention will come up again in 2017, the mandatory every 20 year referendum on the subject. There has been some interest expressed both inside and outside the League in supporting a constitutional convention as a way of fixing Albany. However, the conditions of our current position on delegate selection make it unlikely that we could support a Constitutional Convention.  This update will be very limited in scope and background research will be done primarily by the state office.  We are looking for interested League members to volunteer to be part of the update committee to review materials and work on consensus question. .  Please contact laura@lwvny.org or Sally Robinson at robintwins@gmail.com, or call the office at 518-465-4162 if you are interested in participating
2013-15 LWVNYS Board of Directors
2013-2015 Board of Directors of theLeague of Women Voters of New York State
(see photos and biographies here)
    President                                            Sally Robinson/ LWV of NYC 
    1st Vice President                             Barb Thomas/ LWV of Saratoga County
    Vice President/Member Services   Dare Thompson/LWV of Mid-Hudson
    Vice President/Development           Susan Wilson/LWV of the Hamptons
    Secretary                                              Kay Sharp/Tompkins LWV
    Treasurer                                            Judy Middelkoop/ LWV of Schenectady Co.
    Citizen Education/Youth Program    Judie Gorenstein/ LWV of Huntington
    Regional Director Coordinator         Terri Parks/ LWV of Buffalo/Niagara
    Grassroots Director                            Carol Mellor/LWV of the Hamptons
    At-Large Member                                 Kathy Stein/MAL Unit of St. Lawrence Co.
    At-Large Member                                   Marianna Stout/LWV of New Castle
   Nominating Committee
    Chair                               Lisa Scott/ Smithtown LWV
    Committee Member    Mary Lou Classen/Saratoga LWV
    Committee Member    Georgia DeGregorio/LWV of Rochester Metro Area
Outgoing Board Members

A BIG thank you to our members of the 2011-2013 LWVNYS Board of Directors who are leaving the Board. We greatly appreciate their work these past years - we couldn't have accomplished all that we did without them.

Georgia DeGregorio, Vice President for Membership
Susan Multer, Vice President for Voter Services
Cheryl Feldman, Regional Director Coordinator
Arlene Hinkemeyer, Public Relations Director
Polly Kuhn, Member At Large

Thank you to ALL!
Workshops and Information Sessions

Click on the links for presentation materials and hand-outs from the many workshops and information sessions held during Convention; these materials are also linked on the state League website - click on Conventions & Council.


Workshops and Information Sessions:    


Local League Award Winners

At the banquet on Saturday night, local Leagues were presented with awards as follows:

Citizen Engagement: Nassau County ILO
    Honorable Mention: LWV of Saratoga County

Audrey Price Memorial Cup for outstanding membership growth in Leagues with membership under 50 members: LWV of Bedford/Lewisboro/No. Salem
    Honorable Mention: LWV of Plattsburgh, LWV of Cortland, LWV of Long Beach, LWV of Saugerties,
               LWV of Shelter Island, LWV of Orleans County, LWV of Steuben County

Pewter Platter Award for outstanding growth in Leagues with membership between 50-150: LWV of Syracuse Metropolitan Area
    Honorable Mention: LWV of the Rivertowns, LWV of Port Washington-Manhasset, LWV of White
             Plains, LWV of Rockland, LWV of Utica/Rome Metro Area, LWV of     Mid-Hudson

Fundraising Campaign: LWV of the Hamptons

Membership: LWV of New York City and LWV of Rochester 
    Honorable Mention: LWV of Syracuse Metro Area

Thinking Out of the Box: LWV of Huntington
    Honorable Mention: LWV of Schenectady County, LWV of Saratoga
          County, LWV of Mid-Hudson

Visibility: LWV of the Hamptons
    Honorable Mention: LWV of White Plains, LWV of Rensselaer

Voter Services: LWV of Utica/Rome Metro Area and Suffolk County ILO
    Honorable Mention: LWV of Saratoga County, LWV of New Rochelle, LWV of New York City, LWV of
            the Hamptons

Youth Programs: LWV of Chautauqua County
    Honorable Mention: LWV of Smithtown

Congratulations to all Leagues for their successful programs! Feel free to contact the local League to learn more about their successful programs!

Big League Raffle
The State League's Big League Raffle was once again a big success! With 52 local Leagues, MAL Units and ILOs participating, the State League's Education Foundation will receive over $5,000.

The winner of the Raffle is Nada Barry from LWV of the Hamptons. Nada will receive over $2,600. The participating local Leagues will share over $2,000 based on the number of tickets sold by your local League. LWV of the Hamptons also receives an additional $500 because a member of their League has the winning ticket.

Checks to the local Leagues are being processed now and should be received this week.

Thanks to everyone who participated! 
2013 Silent Auction
2013 Convention Silent Auction a Success!
Thank you to all of the following Leagues and members who donated items to our silent auction:
LWV of Albany County LWV of Rensselaer County
Barbara Bartoletti LWV of Rochester
Marian and Richard Bott LWV of Rockland County
LWV of Buffalo/Niagara LWV of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester
LWV of Cazenovia MAL Unit of St. Lawrence County
LWV of Chautauqua County LWV of Saratoga
LWV of Cortland LWV of Schenectady County
Judie Gorenstein Lisa Scott
LWV of the Hamptons LWV of Smithtown
LWV of Huntington LWV of Southwest Nassau
Bo Lipari LWV of Suffolk County
Marcia Merrins LWV of Syracuse
LWV of Mid-Hudson Barbara Thomas
LWV of New Castle LWV of Tompkins County
LWV of the City of New York Barbara Traynor
LWV of Plattsburgh LWV of Utica-Rome Metro Area
LWV of Port Washington-Manhassett MAL Unit of Wayne County

Thanks to your donations, and the enthusiastic response of our bidders, we raised $3,255 for the LWV of New York State Education Foundation.


2013 President's Remarks at End of Convention
Sally Robinson

  First, I would like to thank everyone on the League staff.  They have all worked incredibly hard to put together this convention. I also have a small token of appreciation for the outgoing members of the board who have served so well.   Could you please come up to the front and be recognized one more time.  Can we just give all of them some well-deserved round of applause!

I have had the privilege of serving as the President of the League of Women Voters of New York State for the past year. It was a year in which we took a serious look at the direction of the State League and made some significant positive changes. After years of cutting expenses despite concern over membership numbers and our effectiveness, the Board of the State League decided to stop this trend and revitalize our commitment to being a strong statewide presence as well as a resource for our local Leagues, and to do this without raising PMP.

You have seen the results of that this weekend.  Thanks to a reinvigorated development effort, you saw the  increase in our donations reflected in our financial statements.  Thank you to all the board members and League supporters across the state who responded so generously to our reaching out to them with our plans for strengthening the League for the future.   

You see concrete results in the 37 local leagues who have signed up for Vote 411.  You see the concrete results in the presence of the hard-working new members of our staff and our shared goal to make us the strongest state league in the country. I am inspired by this new energy and commitment to our mission and I hope all of you are too.  I look forward to working with you for the next two years to make us even stronger.

Another very exciting part as always of what is happening at the state League is advocacy.  Effective advocacy has been an important part of League activity since its founding.  Our advocacy at the state level is one of the things that keeps us visible and a strong presence statewide.  People know our name.  Now more than ever, our continuing work as one of the four core good government groups in New York State is critical.  New Yorkers are frustrated by the sorry condition of our state's campaign finance system.  They are frustrated by the difficulty in getting their voices heard on things that matter to them, be they environmental issues, health care reform, or simpler taxes. They are frustrated by the apparent culture of corruption in our state government.  Twenty-one state legislators have left office since 1999 because of criminal or ethical issues, several very recently.   You could say a few bad apples, but there are only 213 members of the state legislature, many of whom get re-elected year after year. Members of the state legislature are more likely to leave office because of ethical misconduct than other more typical reasons.    Our work is more needed than ever.

Ending on a more positive note, there are reasons for optimism in the voter education and engagement work your local leagues do so well on a day-to-day basis.  As some of you are aware, I had a graduation in my family this week.  Speaking to this audience of young graduates, the commencement speaker stated that she had faith in them to become engaged citizens and work for a better future.  She noted that, young voters were a greater share of the electorate in 2008 than 2012. Today's 18-29 year olds are more likely to vote now than their counterparts in the 1990s.  Let's hope these young voters are part of a future that gets us past partisan rhetoric and cynicism and towards practical policy solutions favored by most of the citizens of this country.

 I know a speaker is typically supposed to begin with a little joke, but I am going to end with one related to the League's relevance for these young voters.    When I became president of the League of women voters of Scarsdale 13 years ago, I have to admit I told the same story.  One of my sons, who was then about 9 or 10  became very frustrated with how much time I was using our one desk top computer.  I tried to explain that I was doing my League of Women Voters work and it was very important.  Finally he said, Mom I am sure women already have the right to vote.

 I hope he has a better understanding of what we do now.  The good work that you do every day in your local communities in registering voters, holding candidate forums, engaging citizens in local issues, is a vital part of moving to a better future.  Thank you again for all you do and for participating in this convention.


LWVNYS President Sally Robinson with LWVUS Board Member Linda Wassenich and Saturday Banquet Speaker, Mickey Edwards (VP of Aspen Institute and former US Congressman from OK) 

League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162;   FAX: 518-465-0812
Email: lwvny@lwvny.org
website: www.lwvny.org