Program Planning

Program Overview
Proposed Program

For these other sections, please download the complete Convention workbook (available May 1):
Program Planning Report
Legislative Priorities
Program Resources

Program Overview

Summary

Delegates to LWVC Convention 2019 will adopt the LWVC Program for 2019-2021 as the final step in the program planning process that started last November. The proposed program includes the LWVC Program Positions and the LWVC Issues for Emphasis. A full list of the program ideas submitted by the local Leagues is included on pages 48-51.

LWVC Program Positions. The LWVC board recommends all but one of the current LWVC positions for retention. Position summaries are listed on pages 35-40.

LWVC Studies and Position Updates; New Position and Action Policy. No new study or update study is recommended. All not-recommended items are listed on pages 49-51.

The adoption of two new positions by concurrence is recommended. Four items for concurrence were suggested, with varying levels of support for each from local Leagues.

LWVC Issues for Emphasis. In addition to Making Democracy Work, four issues for emphasis are proposed on pages 40-42 for concerted local and state-level action and community education. As always, the LWVC board’s recommendation reflects League financial and volunteer resources as well as the issues that received the strongest input from local Leagues in program planning activities, the League’s current ongoing activities, and League strength and opportunities to make an impact on issues related to democracy and civic engagement. These issues are broad and reflect our current, rapidly changing environment.

The method used to evaluate the strength of the various local League proposals can be found on pages 49-51.

Process

Members of 47 Leagues participated in the program planning process for 2019-2021. The results were presented to the LWVC board for its consideration and recommendation.

At the convention, the presentation of the proposed program will occur on Friday, and a motion to adopt each recommended item will be made by a member of the LWVC board. No second is necessary. Questions for clarification will be allowed at that time, but there will be no votes or debate.

Motions to consider not-recommended items may be made on Friday following the presentation and motions concerning the proposed program, or on Saturday. These require a second. Only motions pertaining to items proposed in program planning by local Leagues, as indicated in the list on pages 40-47, are appropriate. Motions to consider occur without debate except for a statement by the maker of the motion. Questions for clarification will be allowed.

The votes to allow consideration of not-recommended items will be taken on Saturday after all motions have been made, in the order in which the motions were presented. A majority vote is required to consider a not-recommended item.

Discussion and debate will take place on Saturday on both the LWVC board-recommended program and on all not-recommended program items that have been voted consideration. Final program debate and adoption will occur on Sunday.

A majority vote is required to adopt recommended program items, while a three-fifths vote is required to adopt program items that are not recommended by the board. Adoption of program priorities implies a commitment of time and resources of staff, the LWVC board of directors, and local Leagues.

If you have questions regarding the procedures outlined above, please consult the Convention Rules on pages 96-103 of this workbook or contact Joanne Leavitt, Second Vice President for Advocacy and Program (jleavitt@lwvc.org).

Program Adoption at a Glance

PROPOSED PROGRAM

(RECOMMENDED ITEMS)

NOT-RECOMMENDED ITEMS
Friday, May 31  
Proposed program presented. Board members move adoption of the proposed program (see pages 35-40)

Questions for clarification are allowed. No debate or amendments.

Delegates may move consideration of not-recommended items. (Items must be listed on pages 49-51 to be considered.)

Explanatory statement by maker of motion. Questions for clarification are allowed. No debate or amendments.

Saturday, June 1  
  Delegates may move consideration of not-recommended items. (Items must be listed on pages 49-51 to be considered.)

Explanatory statement by maker of motion. Questions for clarification are allowed. No debate or amendments.

  Vote for consideration of not-recommended items.

Votes are taken in the order items were moved; majority vote required to grant consideration.

Discussion and debate on program proposals. Discussion and debate on program proposals granted consideration.
Sunday, June 2  
Debate and vote on proposed program.

Majority vote required to adopt.

Debate and vote on items granted consideration on Saturday.

Vote in the order granted consideration. Three-fifths (60%) vote required to adopt.

 

Proposed Program 2019-2021

Summary

The recommended program for 2019-2021 is:

  • Retain all existing positions (see Proposed Program Positions in Brief, below)
  • No new study or update study for 2019-2021
  • Adopt as Issues for Emphasis for 2019-2021: (see pages 40-42)
  1. Making Democracy Work in California, with a focus on election reform, voting rights, expanding the electorate, redistricting, and money in politics
  2. Schools & Communities First Campaign (Prop 13 reform), a campaign to pass a commercial property tax reform measure on the November 2020 ballot.
  3. Climate Change
  4. Housing and Homelessness
  5. Criminal Justice Reform, expanding our education and advocacy on policing and criminal justice reform.
  • Adopt a new position on Criminal Justice via concurrence (see pages 42-46)
  • Replace the current Election Systems position with a new position on Electoral Process via concurrence (see pages 46-47)

Proposed Program Positions in Brief

Government

CAMPAIGN FINANCING: adopted 1973; updated 1976
Support state campaign finance practices for candidates and advocates of ballot measure positions that will ensure full disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures and enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office.

CONSTITUTION: adopted 1957; updated 1965-67
Support measures to secure an orderly and simplified State Constitution; provisions that enable the legislature to deal with state problems efficiently, flexibly, and with responsibility clearly fixed; and constitutional guarantee of equal representation of all citizens in both houses of the state legislature.

ELECTION SYSTEMS: adopted 2001; amended in 2003 and 2011
Support election systems for executive and other single seat offices, both at the state and local levels, that require the winner to receive a majority of the votes, as long as the majority is achieved using a voting method such as Instant Runoff Voting, rather than a second, separate runoff election.

INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM PROCESS: adopted 1984; updated 1999 and 2013
Support citizens’ right of direct legislation through the initiative and referendum process.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS: adopted 1981
Support an efficient, effective, and equitable balance of responsibility and authority among the levels of government with accountability to the public.

PUBLIC LIBRARIES: adopted 1998
Support a public library system as a basic community service with a long-term, assured, stable and adequate funding source.

Support access by all persons to public library services as a major source of knowledge and information necessary for informed, active participation in a democratic society.

REDISTRICTING: adopted 1988; amended 2007
Support a state redistricting process and standards that promote fair and effective representation in the state legislature and in the House of Representatives with maximum opportunity for public scrutiny.

Support an independent commission as the preferred redistricting body.

STATE AND LOCAL FINANCES: adopted 1969; updated 1975; new positions 1976, 1977, 1981, 1995
Support measures to ensure revenues both sufficient and flexible enough to meet changing needs for state and local government services; that contribute to a system of public finance that emphasizes equity and fair sharing of the tax burden as well as adequacy; that include long range finance methods that meet current and future needs while taking into account the cumulative impact of public debt.

Support a process that maintains statutory authority over tax sources, rates and tax expenditures; that makes limited use of direct voting by the public on revenue measures; and that allows adoption of revenue and finance measures by a simple majority vote.

Support the distribution of revenue sources between state and local governments in a manner to ensure adequate, equitable and flexible funding of public programs based on the responsibilities and requirements of each and that emphasizes accountability.

Support an equitable, broad-based local property tax, easy and economical to administer, producing adequate revenue, with limitations on the types of services it funds.

Support assessment practices and policies that are equitable, accurate, easy to understand and well publicized, with like properties treated uniformly.

VOTING RIGHTS: adopted 1972; reviewed 1986
Support measures that will protect every citizen’s right to vote and ensure government’s responsibility to protect this right through regulations and procedures that encourage an informed and active electorate.

 Natural Resources

AGRICULTURE: adopted 1983; amended 20155000
Support policies that recognize agricultural land as a limited resource that must be preserved for the economic and physical well-being of California and the nation. Appropriate agricultural land should be identified and its long-term protection should be based on regulatory and incentive programs that include comprehensive planning, zoning measures, and other preservation techniques. State policy that affects agriculture should ensure the conservation of soil and water resources through incentives coupled with penalties for noncompliance.

AIR QUALITY: adopted 1971; updated 1973
Support measures to establish air quality standards that will protect the public health and welfare, and the development of effective enforcement and implementation procedures at each level of government to attain these standards.

ENERGY: adopted 1978; updated 1980 and 2006, amended 2007
Support development of a state energy policy that will ensure reliability of energy resources and protection of the environment and public health and safety, at reasonable customer rates, giving primary consideration to conservation and energy efficiency. State government should provide an efficient, coordinated energy administrative structure with open transparent procedures.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: adopted 1986 and 1987
Support comprehensive measures to provide maximum protection to human health and the environment from the adverse effects of hazardous materials, including pesticides. An integrated approach should be taken to prevent harmful exposures through soil, surface and groundwater contamination, bio-accumulation, air pollution and direct contact. Hazardous materials planning should promote pollution prevention. All levels of government share responsibility for preventing exposures.

LAND USE: adopted 1975
Support state land use planning that recognizes land as a resource as well as a commodity. The state should establish guidelines and standards for land areas of more than local concern. Decisions for these areas should be made at the lowest level of government feasible, but should be subject to state review. Citizens must have a meaningful participation in land use planning and regulation.

SOLID WASTE: adopted 1973
Support measures to assure environmentally sound and efficient solid waste management, to reduce the generations of wastes, to encourage resource recovery, and to increase the demand for secondary materials.

TRANSPORTATION: adopted 1981; revised 1985; new position 1991
Support a transportation system to move people and goods that: includes a variety of transportation modes, with emphasis on increased public transportation services and other viable alternatives to reduce vehicle miles traveled; is efficient, convenient, and cost-effective; is safe and secure; serves all segments of the population and diverse geographic needs; minimizes harmful effects on the environment; is integrated with land use; and is supported by extensive public education.

WATER: adopted 1959; updated 1961, 1967, 1971, 1979
Support measures that promote the management and development of water resources in ways that are beneficial to the environment with emphasis on conservation and high standards of water quality that are appropriate for the intended use.

 Social Policy

CHILDREN AND FAMILY ISSUES: adopted 1995
Support for the principles that all children are entitled to safe, nurturing care and that caring for children is a societal as well as a family responsibility.

Support programs and policies that would effectively coordinate and integrate services that meet basic human needs, prevent or reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families.

CHILD CARE: adopted 1989
Support state and local policies, legislation and programs that meet the need for accessible, affordable, and quality childcare.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM: adopted 2003
Support a statewide community college system with sufficient resources to fulfill its overall goal: to offer all Californians access to a quality higher education.

Resources should be stable, accommodate all enrolling students, be fairly distributed among the college districts, and provide opportunities for long-range planning.

Governance should allow greater authority within the system itself with local districts making key decisions about mission priorities to meet community needs.

EDUCATION: PRE-KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 12: adopted 1973; updated 1985 and 2005
Support a comprehensive pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade public education system that meets the needs of each individual student; challenges all students to reach their highest potential; and develops patterns of lifelong learning and responsible citizenship.

Support improvements in public education, based on access with both equitable and sufficient opportunities to learn for all students.

Support a system of public education funding that is adequate, flexible, equitable, reliable and sustainable; derived from a combination of revenue sources; and distributed fairly to support access and equitable opportunities for all students.

Support formulating broad general guidelines at the state level, with flexibility at the local level for developing and implementing program.

HOUSING: adopted 1970; updated 1973, 1993
Support equal opportunity in housing.

Support measures to provide state programs to increase the supply of safe, decent, and adequate housing for all Californians.

Support action at all levels of government for the provision of affordable housing for all Californians.

JUVENILE JUSTICE/DEPENDENCY: adopted 1997 and 1999; amended 2011
Support a juvenile justice/dependency system that works to prevent child abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency, that serves foster children and their families and status offenders, and that rehabilitates juvenile offenders, by promoting the safety and well-being of children and helping to prepare them for productive participation in society.

Support early identification of at-risk children and families followed by appropriate referrals to services that work with children, youth, families and schools.

Support community efforts to provide safe supportive environments for children and their families and institutions that respect them and promote non-violent solutions to problems.

Support the rights and best interests of the child in preference to those of any other individual.

LEGAL AID: adopted 1971; revised 1983
Support measures that will enable the judicial system of the state to provide for all citizens adequate access to legal services. Support adequately funded, government supported legal assistance programs that provide legal aid to those unable to pay.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE: adopted 1998
Support an adequately funded mental health care system that provides comprehensive services to the acutely, chronically and seriously mentally ill of all ages; maintains optimal mental health services for all clients; places emphasis on meeting the needs of children; offers mental health services for the homeless; seeks additional funds for preventive services; implements a master plan to integrate services; raises awareness of critical unmet needs; and emphasizes case management.

PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION: adopted 2016
Support a comprehensive system of public higher education that serves the personal, professional, and occupational goals of all adult Californians and advances the social, economic, and civic needs of the state. To achieve these objectives, public higher education must prioritize access, affordability, equity, and excellence. These priorities require state funding, including student financial aid, that is stable, predictable, sustainable, and timely.

Proposed Issues for Emphasis 2019-2021

In each of the three issues recommended for education and advocacy in the 2019-2021 biennium, we have opportunities in three areas. We may:

  • Advocate: Each of these items is based on positions adopted after League study and member agreement. Unlike single-issue organizations, we can bring to the table a balanced view, not that of a special constituency, but one based on the overall public good. Advocacy can be at the local and regional levels as well as at the legislature and state agencies.
  • Educate: One of the League’s strengths is providing nonpartisan information and helping people understand the decisions that need to be made and the consequences of these decisions. We can help our fellow Californians understand their options and weigh them in civil discourse.
  • Empower Community Leadership: Along with educating community members about decisions we are making as communities and as a society at large, we can give them the tools for making their voices heard, understanding how the decisions being made will affect them, and where the venues for speaking out are. How do we come together to make the best decisions for all of us?

Making Democracy Work in California

This is a broad area that aligns with national priorities and includes core issues for the League at all levels. It includes League priorities such as election reform, voting rights, expanding the electorate, money in politics, and redistricting. For this biennium, we are adding the 2020 census.

Election Reform: Major changes in elections continue to be made in California, and Leagues will have many opportunities for community outreach and education as well as for monitoring the implementation of new systems. Election-day registration, and changes in the voter registration process at the DMV promise to greatly expand the voter rolls. The LWVC and Leagues in affected counties will be working to implement the new Voters Choice Act which uses a combination of vote-by-mail balloting, ballot drop-off locations, and vote centers. Finding ways to provide increased, stable funding for elections is another area for work at the state level.

We benefit from our active membership in the Future of California Elections (FOCE), a collaboration among election administrators, civil rights organizations, and election reform advocates. FOCE constitutes a powerful force for improving the election process in California.

Voting Rights and Expanding the Electorate: While Californians are not threatened by the various voter suppression tactics seen in other states, we must remain vigilant. We realize there is always room for improvement and outreach to underserved persons in our communities, including those who have disabilities or do not speak English as a primary language. In addition to we supporting measures to restore voting rights to those on parole, there is a continuing need for grassroots efforts to inform and assist those serving time in county jails or on probation, who often believe they are disenfranchised. We will support legislation to improve voting services and seize opportunities to extend voting rights protections that have been curtailed by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

As we examine voter turnout rates across the state we can see many opportunities to make the electorate in California more representative of the population as a whole. Voter service work to prepare materials in plain language and address the language needs of our newer voters is a primary effort in this area, as is an expanded Voter’s Edge. Expanding awareness of the ease of online registration, preregistration for youth 16 and older, and ease of voting by mail are just some ways we can help inform our communities.

Money in Politics: This continues to be a high priority for League members. A bill allowing local government bodies to establish public campaign funding systems is still in limbo, awaiting the outcome of a court challenge. We will continue to work for state legislation to establish default limits on the size of campaign contributions to local candidates, and Leagues can push their cities, counties, and districts that do not have contribution limits to establish limits appropriate to their communities. At the state level, we have been, and will continue to, monitor the implementation of the Cal-Access replacement system (CARS) for online disclosure system. We continue to support legislation requiring campaign finance transparency.

Redistricting: We will soon be immersed in redistricting all over the state. We can educate our communities and encourage full participation in the 2020 census, and then ensure that the redistricting, whether at the state, county, regional, or local level, is accomplished with the maximum public input. The LWVC will work to ensure adequate funding for the statewide Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Schools & Communities First Campaign

The League of Women Voters of California is one of the proponents of the first commercial property tax reform measure to qualify for the ballot since the passage of Prop 13 in 1978. We are now part of a powerful and growing statewide coalition of over 280 organizations working to ensure that this measure wins in November 2020. League members were indefatigable in gathering signatures leading to the measure’s qualification. We expect to be equally energetic in campaigning for the measure’s passage.

Since the passage of Prop 13, California has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from commercial property, leading to chronic underfunding of schools and local communities. Schools and Communities First will restore over $11 billion every year for schools, community colleges, health clines, and other vital local services, while maintaining Prop 13 protection for all residential property.

 Climate Change

Climate change affects nearly everything – threatening forests, agriculture, infrastructure, public health, and indeed, our democracy. Climate change is a key focus for Leagues across our state. More than half of California local Leagues have, or are building, local League climate action teams in both urban and rural areas. In 2017-2018 we saw legislation in California that extended cap and trade, a requirement to reach 100% zero carbon sources of electricity by 2045, and many other measures to limit or adapt to climate change. And our California League was there to support these advances.

The LWVC Climate Change Task Force was formed in the past two years and is helping link Leagues across the state working on similar climate efforts, holding regional forums to combine League efforts, advocating for legislation, and providing resources and ideas to local Leagues. Check out the Task Force website by entering “LWVC climate change” in your browser or connect by emailing climatechange@lwvc.org.

 Housing and Homelessness

The need for housing, of different types and to meet different needs, was included in the largest number of Program Planning responses.  From Meeting Basic Human Needs (everyone should have a safe place to live) to land use and transportation to climate change, this is an issue that affects all parts of the state and a large number of our positions.  Needs are different in different areas. Some have a greater need for permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless while others need homelessness prevention — family housing or senior housing or…, but all areas need state (and federal) support to meet unmet needs. This is recommended as an area for education as well as advocacy during the next biennium.

 Criminal Justice Reform

For almost 100 years the League has remained vital and relevant by striving for an equitable society, studying its profound injustices and advocating for effective remedies. One of the most compelling issues of our time is criminal justice reform.

Policing, sentencing, and incarceration are too often failing to serve justice or improve public safety. We currently spend billions of dollars at a state, county, and local level on a system that sustains significant inequalities – a system which disproportionally incarcerates and victimizes the poor and people of color.

At the 2017 LWVC Convention, a small group gathered to discuss potential work on policing and criminal justice reform. The group continued to meet, growing to include League members from all over the state. The result of their work is the proposed Criminal Justice position, recommended to be adopted via concurrence.

Using the new Criminal Justice position, the LWVC will be able to act on an expanded number of bills and ballot measures. Local Leagues are encouraged to use the position to engage in education and advocacy in their communities on issues related to policing, pre-trial diversion, sentencing, incarceration, and re-entry to make our criminal justice system more equitable.

Adopt a new position on Criminal Justice via Concurrence

The role of the criminal justice system is to prevent crime and promote public safety. Current research indicates successful systems focus on rehabilitation and support to prevent recidivism. However, some communities experience excessive force and surveillance by the police; other individuals waste away in prisons serving sentences far out of proportion to their offenses. The LWVC has already established a Juvenile Justice position based on these principals. (see pp. 42-45).

A growing national bipartisan consensus exists that the current criminal justice system needs reform to ensure its constitutionality and cost effectiveness.  A League of Women Voters of California task force reviewed criminal justice positions from state and local Leagues across the state. Based on that research, they drafted this Criminal Justice position so that local Leagues can educate their communities on best practices that will ensure safety and justice for all, and so that LWVC can advocate for/against proposed criminal justice legislation at the state level.

The position is annotated to show the source of the recommended language.

Position on Criminal Justice

POSITION IN BRIEF:

The LWV California supports:

  • a criminal justice system that is just, effective, equitable, transparent, and that fosters public trust at all stages, including policing practices, pre-trial procedures, sentencing, incarceration, and re-entry;
  • the elimination of systemic bias, including the disproportionate policing and incarceration of marginalized communities;
  • policing practices that promote safety for both law enforcement officers and the communities they serve;
  • collaboration between government and community throughout every stage of the criminal justice system;
  • a focus on humane treatment and rehabilitation with the goal of promoting the successful re-entry into communities of those who have been incarcerated; and
  • reliance on evidence-based research in decision-making about law-enforcement programs and policies (including scheduled, periodic audits of program and policy effectiveness).

POSITIONS – Support for the following measures and principles:

Policing Practices – constitutional policies and procedures established by law enforcement with input from the communities they serve

  • Ensure that crime prevention and promotion of public safety are the primary roles of state and local law enforcement agencies. [LWVs of Los Angeles City and San Francisco]
  • Build public trust and positive community relationships through police engagement with community members. [LWVs of Los Angeles City, San Francisco, and Seattle/King County WA]
  • Encourage community participation in the development of policing policy. [California SB 1421 Peace Officers: Release of Records; LWV-US Citizen’s Right to Know/Citizen Participation position; LWV-CA Intergovernmental Relationships position; LWVs of Los Angeles City, San Francisco, Roseville Area MN, and Seattle/King Co. WA]
  • Provide police accountability via independent citizen oversight of law enforcement and publicly available data on officer conduct. [California SB 1421 Peace Officers: Release of Records; LWV-US Citizen’s Right to Know/Citizen Participation position; LWV-CA Intergovernmental Relationships position; LWVs of Los Angeles City, San Francisco, Roseville Area MN, and Seattle/King Co. WA]
  • Disseminate information to the public about policing policies, recruitment, procedures for complaint/commendation, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens and officers in interactions with each other. [LWVs of Long Beach CA and Seattle/King County WA]
  • Provide sufficient psychological services and counseling to meet stress-related needs of police personnel. [LWV-Long Beach]
  • Staff police departments to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and establish recruitment efforts that reflect this principle. [LWV- Long Beach, LWV-US Policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Governing the States and Localities, “Diversity on the Force”]
  • Train police to identify individuals with mental health conditions, disabilities, or substance abuse/addiction, so that officers will request support from appropriate medical and mental health professionals, with the goal of diverting those individuals into treatment instead of jail. [Brennan Center for Justice; Disability Rights and Criminal Justice]
  • Require all officers to render first aid to people who have been injured as a result of police action. [LAPD Inspector General’s Review of Best Practices; Police Executive Research Forum “Guiding Principles on Use of Force”; PoliceOne.com “Why all cops need first aid training and CPR”]
  • Conduct comprehensive background checks, to include such history as PTSD, domestic violence, sex offenses and affiliations with domestic terrorist groups, for all applicants to law enforcement positions. [LWV-Long Beach]
  • Establish de-escalation (the use of time, distance, communications and available resources whenever it is safe to do so) and anti-bias training, and ensure that all staff are provided with this training. [LWVs of San Francisco, Los Angeles City, Roseville MN, and Seattle/King Co. WA; Peel’s Principles of Policing 1829; LAPD Office of Inspector General Reports on Use of Force; President’s Task Force on 21st Century]
  • Authorize minimal use force during police encounters with the public, and consider deadly force only when necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. [LWVC Letter of Support for AB 931; California DOJ, “Sacramento Police Department Report & Recommendations 2019”; San Francisco Police Department Use of Force Policy; Peel’s Principles of Policing 1829]

Pre-trial Procedures – actions taken after an individual has been arrested, which embody the constitutional presumption of innocence

  • Ensure no person suffers discrimination before the law due to their economic status nor is subject to risk assessment tools which can produce biased outcomes. [LWVs of DC, DE, IN and MA]
  • Provide adequate numbers of public defenders to defend indigent accused. [LWV of PA]
  • Provide prosecutors, defense attorneys, court counselors and judges with regular training on alternatives to incarceration, including pre-trial diversion and restorative justice practices. [LWVs of IA, PA, and VA]
  • Recognize that mental health conditions and substance abuse/addictions are public health issues, not crimes. [LWVs of AR, ID, IA, IL, KS, LA, MA, OR, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, and DC]
  • Implement the use of specialty courts, e.g. drug treatment courts and restorative justice programs. [LWVs of AR, ID, IA, IL, KS, LA, MA, OR, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, and DC]
  • Consider community-based treatment programs and other alternatives to incarceration when appropriate. [LWVs of AR, ID, IA, IL, KS, LA, MA, OR, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, and DC]

Sentencing – judgment made after an individual has been declared to be guilty

  • Consider the individual circumstances of the person charged and nature of the crime, rather than mandatory minimum sentences. [LWV-IL and LWV-US Sentencing position]
  • Consider split sentencing and/or alternatives to incarceration when appropriate. [LWVs of CO, DE, LA, MA, MT, NE, WA, and Los Angeles County]

Incarceration – policies and procedures that apply to employees of and incarcerated individuals in local jails and state prisons

  • Ensure that all correctional systems provide humane, dignified, non-discriminatory treatment of inmates and personnel, including appropriate healthcare and access to community-based rehabilitation programs. [LWVs of AR, DE, ID, IL, MA, MT, NY, PA, VA, RI, WI, Los Angeles County, and No/Central San Mateo County]
  • Eliminate the practice of solitary confinement. [LWVs of PA and Long Beach CA and Scientific American, “A Case Against Solitary Confinement”]
  • Ensure that inmates and corrections officers have clear, safe and accessible ways to report abuse. [LWV-PA; National Commission on Correctional Healthcare; Prison Rape Elimination Act]
  • Address recidivism by instituting programs that focus on rehabilitation, education, mental health treatment, substance abuse recovery, and transitional programs. [LWVs of ID, PA, and WI]
  • Adapt case management services to match education, behavior, job training, work, and mental health programs with the needs of incarcerated individuals. [LWVs of DE, IA, IL, KS, LA, MA, NY, PA, RI, TX, VA, WA, WI, DC, and Los Angeles County]
  • Provide sufficient psychological services, including training and evaluation, to meet the needs of corrections officers. [LWV-PA]
  • Encourage family and community visitations and ways to maintain contact. [LWVs of FL, MI, and NH]
  • Eliminate private prisons. Until space in public prisons is available, ensure that private prisons comply with all of the standards for state-run jails and prisons. [LWV-US Privatization position]

Re-entry – programs in place during and after incarceration to help individuals become successful members of their communities

  • Collaborate with community-based organizations to facilitate reintegration of people released from prison. [LWVs of AR, DE, IL, LA, MA, MT, PA, TX, VA, SC, WI, and Los Angeles County; California AB 1008 Ban the Box]
  • Provide pre- and post-release programs, inclusive of probation services, to prepare as well as assess and address the needs of people re-entering the community. [LWV-MI]
  • Remove technical violations of parole as a reason to return an individual to prison. [LWV-PA]

General – statements which apply to some or all of the above categories

  • Standardize data and setting up systems so that information can be easily shared among criminal justice [LWV-ID, Measures for Justice]
  • Rely on evidence-based research in decision making about criminal justice programs and policies. [LWVs of DC, ID, FL, IL, LA, and MN]

Replace the current Election Systems position with a new position on Electoral Process via concurrence

League studies of electoral systems generally find that all systems have flaws; no system is perfect. However, the League does have certain requirements of any system – verifiable, auditable, and encouraging greater voter participation. This recommended position provides a clear and flexible set of principles by which the LWVC and local Leagues in California can evaluate reforms to the electoral process.

The proposed concurrence is a compilation of positions from Leagues in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the LWVUS Principles.

The position is annotated to show the source of the recommended language.

Position on Electoral Process

Position in Brief:

Support electoral systems at each level of government that encourage participation, are verifiable and auditable and enhance representation for all voters.

Position in Full: 

LWVC promotes an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive. (LWVUS)* We encourage electoral methods that provide the broadest voter representation possible. Whether for single or multiple winner contests, the League supports electoral methods that:

  • Encourage voter participation and voter engagement
  • Encourage those with minority opinions to participate, including under-represented communities
  • Are verifiable and auditable
  • Promote access to voting
  • Maximize effective votes/minimize “wasted” votes
  • Promote sincere voting over strategic voting
  • Require the winner to receive a majority of the votes for executive and single seat offices
  • Are compatible with acceptable ballot-casting methods, including vote-by-mail

(LWVUS, ME, OR, CA, MN, MA, FL, NC, OK, SC, VT, WA, Santa Monica) *

The LWVC believes in representative government. The League supports electoral systems that elect policy-making bodies–-legislatures, councils, commissions, and boards—that proportionally reflect the people they represent. We support systems that inhibit political manipulation (e.g. gerrymandering).

The LWVC supports enabling legislation to allow local jurisdictions to explore alternative electoral methods, as well as supporting state election laws allowing for more options at both the state and local levels. With the adoption of any electoral system, the League believes that education of the voting public is important and funding for startup and voter education should be available. We encourage a concerted voter education process.  

(LWVUS, AZ, CA, OR, SC, WA) *

End of Statement

* All language from LWVUS Principles and multiple State positions