After careful study and discussion with the membership, LWVN develops positions regarding important public policy issues on the local, state and national level. These positions become the basis for advocacy work with the public and their elected representatives. The national organization of LWV frequently takes legal action when states or the federal government have infringed on the rights of citizens to have access to the ballot or to run a free and fair election.
Once topics have been researched and members polled to develop a consensus, the LWVN begins advocacy activities when appropriate.
Concerns about the future of Metro Schools prompted the LWVN to develop positions opposing public funding of private school vouchers as well as opposition to the authorization of for-profit charter schools in the state.
The LWVN also volunteers, in collaboration with Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), to assist as “citizenship coaches” for Nashville residents applying for U.S. naturalization citizenship. As one of the founding member groups for the Coalition for Education on Immigration, LWVN supports local policies that make Nashville a “welcoming city” for immigrants and refugees, including those fleeing Middle Eastern countries for crisis.
“Citizenship is about being well informed on the current and historical issues. The League has proven itself to be a solid resource for this information. I look forward to the annual kickoff session with our lobbyist Stewart Clifton. The preview of the TN General Assembly is such an insight into the actual messy and inspiring ‘business’ of democracy.”
League members communicate frequently with the Davidson County delegation in the state legislature to advocate for the priorities adopted by the state league, LWVTN. Policies that promote expanded voting access, preserve sunshine laws, and maintain open government are perennial issues.
Additionally, the League supports good government policies that protect the rights of citizens, maintain a social safety net for our most vulnerable, ensures quality public education, and is fiscally responsible. During the legislative session, LWV members receive weekly action alerts from LWV lobbyist, Stewart Clifton. Members who are not receiving the alerts should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In keeping with the League’s national election reform agenda, LWVTN continues to advocate steps that Tennessee can take to increase voting accessibility including:
- Permanent and portable statewide voter registration
- Expanded early voting sites and dates
- Permission for college/ university students to use college ID’s for voting identification.
LWVTN successfully promoted legislation to allow online voter registration beginning in fall 2017.
Through coalitions and collaboration with other organizations, League volunteers amplify their voice.
- LWVTN representation on the board of Tennessee Coalition on Open Government, www.tcog.info reflects the organization’s commitment to transparency in government.
- A member of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign http://www.thcc2.org/, the League is a strong advocate for expanding Medicaid and other programs that promote healthy outcomes for all citizens.
- As an organizational member of Tennessee Conservation Voters http://www.tnconservationvoters.org, the League advocates for standards to preserve water and air quality. Inadequate regulations of fracking and ridgetop removal are major concerns.
- LWVTN supports public funding for quality voluntary pre-K programs as well as full state funding of the Basic Education Program (BEP) to address K-12 educational needs for all students in the state.
The national LWV keeps a sharp focus on fundamental issues that threaten our democracy. Access to the polls and the maintenance of a fair and free election system are paramount. The LWV advocates for the promotion of the For the People Act, a bill that will make elections fairer and put power back in the hands of the American people .
In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the impact of federal, state, and local efforts to suppress access to the polls. The LWV works vigorously to oppose intentional and unintentional procedures that limit access to voting for all eligible citizens.
Using a broad, research-focused process for building consensus among members nationwide, the LWV has developed position statements on a number of issues, such as:
- Campaign finance reform
- Creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions
- Procedures for amending the U.S. constitution
- Access to quality health care
- Enforcement of air and water quality standards
“Our democratic process is in jeopardy. Throughout all levels of government, our liberties are being threatened; we must protect our rights and fight to ensure our elections are free, fair, and accessible to all.”