We have officially kicked off the 2017 Legislative Session!
Since the 2016 election, we have welcomed dozens of new members to the League. Many of these new members have expressed interest in the League’s involvement with policy at the state level. As our long time members know, the New York State League lobbies and advocates for many state issues. Those of you who are new to the League should take a look at our Impact of Issues document. Our Impact on Issues contains all of our positions, how we came to those positions, and the actions we have taken since those positions were adopted.
The state League lobbies and advocates on many different issues – everything from education to the environment. Some of our biggest issue areas include election law, government reform and ethics, health care, transportation, judicial issues, women’s issues including pay equity and reproductive choice environmental issues pertaining to clean air, water, and energy, and K through 12 education. We are very lucky to have some amazing Issues Specialists that help the League stay on target on these issues.
The League works with several different issue based coalitions that help us to multitask during the legislative session. There is certainly never a dull moment at the Capitol and some days we find ourselves starting the morning with a press conference on ethics, attending a committee meeting on the environment in the afternoon, and later meeting with members to lobby them on education. Every week we post a blog called The Capitol Beat. The blog is more than just an overview of our week – it includes photos, insider information, and some snark and wit curtesy of our very own Barbara Bartoletti. If you are interested in the reading the blog subscribe via email (the box is on the right side of the page) and you will never miss a beat.
If you’re on twitter be sure to follow us @LWVNYS and like us on Facebook! We post pictures, articles, and advocacy action alerts daily. Our twitter account is the best way to stay up to date on what we are doing daily at the Capitol.
Finally to our newest endeavor – our NEW Advocacy Google Groups!! Francine Rodgers of our Saratoga League had an amazing idea to create issues-based Google Groups where League members interested in similar advocacy areas could talk to each other via email and hold monthly conference calls. The groups will be headed by the state office but members of the groups can share their ideas, articles, statewide bills of interest, and whatever else they feel is appropriate. The conference calls will be an opportunity to share ideas and to hear what we are doing at the state level. The most exciting part of these groups is it will be an excellent opportunity for the League to use its membership to lobby on pertinent legislation. We will send out action alerts on specific bills in real time so that those interested in calling their legislators can do so exactly when the time is right.
We are very excited about this new project. For now we will be kicking off with 2 groups – the first is a General Advocacy Group that will be headed by myself and Barbara. We will use this group to keep you all up to date on the general happenings at the Capital (but be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on twitter too!) The second kick off group will focus on Education issues. This group will be headed by our Education Finance Specialist, Marian Bott. Education is always a major advocacy area of the League and we spend a lot of our time fighting to keep bad education policy from being passed at the state level.
If you are interested in either of these groups please email me at Jennifer@lwvny.org. I will add you to whichever group you would like to join – feel free to sign up for both! Once we get these two groups up and running we will being setting up other groups. We are thinking of setting up groups focused on Environmental Issues, Women’s Issues, and Health Care. If you have interest in joining any of those groups please let me know and I will add you to the list.
As a reminder: our Vice President of Voter Service, Judie Gorenstein also heads a Voter Service Google Group: firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in being included in that group email Judie at: email@example.com
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to working with you all in 2017!
Program and Policy Director
The League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street
Albany NY 12207