Taking Action: Guidelines for Local Leagues

Taking Action: Guidelines for Local Leagues

A definition of League action

Action is our League effort to bring about governmental change based on the positions we derive through member study and consensus. Because we are a multi-level organization with positions at each level, we must:

  • Coordinate our action efforts in order to speak with one voice
  • Choose issues for priority attention at all levels in order to allocate resources effectively
  • and maximize political impact.
 

These action guidelines apply to all Leagues

  • Leagues only act when we have a local, state, or national position or are acting under League principles.
  • Leagues never lobby in opposition to a League position.
  • Elected officials respond best to their own constituents. Therefore, lobby only your own representatives unless otherwise directed.
  • Local Leagues may use any local, state, or national position to lobby at the local governmental level only without asking for authorization from state or national.
  • For guidance and background information read Fundamentals for Local League Boards (LWV-TX,) Impact on Issues (LWVUS,) and Program Perspectives (LWVTX.)
 

Before taking action on an issue, ask yourself

  • Under what position do you wish to act--local, state, national, or principles?
  • What do you wish to accomplish?
  • Who is authorized to act for your League? (Check your local Policy Guide.)
  • Will state or national or other local Leagues be affected by this action?
  • Is authorization needed from LWV-TX, LWVUS, or other local Leagues before you act? (See chart at bottom)
  • Who must receive copies of your letter, testimony, etc.? (See chart at bottom)
 

When you receive action requests

There are three kinds of action requests: Action Alerts from LWVUS, LWV-TX or your local League. Action in response to these requests is expected and does not require authorization.

  • An Action Alert means your League's help is critically needed. Local Leagues are expected to respond to LWVUS and LWV-TX Action Alerts or explain to the appropriate board (national or state) why they are not responding. Action Alerts provide specific instructions.
  • LWV-TX Action Alerts are sent from the state office to all local League members by email. Action Alerts contain information on legislation or governmental action/s and suggestions for action/s to be taken. The President of the local League will answer the Alert in the name of the local League and return the Action Alert Response form to the state office. Indicate on the response form the action taken or why action was not taken.
  • All other local League members are strongly requested to take action as private citizens on LWVUS and LWV-TX Action Alerts.
 

When you initiate action

Action you initiate often requires contacting officials shared with other Leagues. Occasionally, you may wish to contact officials other than your own. For these reasons, authorization from other local Leagues is often necessary when you initiate action.

Examples:

  • LWV-Houston wants to testify before a state legislative committee holding a hearing in Houston on land use and critical areas protection. Houston members believe this is a good opportunity to advocate the League's state land use positions. After authorization by LWV-TX, they are ready to act.
  • LWV-Tarrant County wants to appear before the North Central Texas Council of Governments on a regional issue. After consulting other Leagues in the region they speak at the COG meeting. When your League wants to initiate action on its own behalf, use the following chart. If you do not find your needs addressed, call the appropriate program chair or the state office.
 

What to do when your League initiates action before a:

local government or official in your League area only
(Examples: city council, mayor, planning commission, school board, etc.) 
A
regional agency or official which is shared with other local Leagues
(Examples: common city government or special purpose district, council of 
governments, regional task force, etc.)
A, B, C
state government or official
(Examples: state representatives, senator, governor, state agency, etc.) 
A, B
federal government or official
(Examples: Member of Congress, federal agency, the president, etc.) 
A, B, D

Key

A local board decision; copy to local League files
B authorization from LWV-TX; copy to the state office
C authorization by local Leagues affected by this action; copy to these local Leagues
D authorization by LWVUS (sometimes LWV-TX can authorize); copy to national office