Submitted June 14, 2019

OVERVIEW: Twenty-five LWVPBC members attended the LWVFL Convention on June 7 and 8, 2019 in Naples, Florida.  Five members presented during workshops.

 

WORKSHOPS COVERED:

 

Actions to Reduce Poverty in Florida:  League Responsibilities

  • New powerpoint used for the workshop which is added to state web site (lwvfl.org/issue/poverty-action-team)
  • Must advocate to local leagues to increase involvement
  • Similar to PBC efforts on housing

 

Amendment 4

  • Focus on lawyers for registration of returning citizens
  • CLE available and approved by Fl. Bar
  • Unintended consequences include huge administrative burden for courts and state agencies
  • June 15 webinar for attorneys.
  • Hold letter-writing campaigns, LTE’s, TV News (stick to script)

 

Backpack Full of Cash (a documentary on Charter Schools and the New Orleans school system)

  • It was a very clear expose of issues in the development and growth of Charter Schools.  It is well presented with good visuals and cogent arguments.  The basic issues are:
  • Charter Schools were introduced to save money by adapting tools of business
  • Because these schools would be cheaper, the amount of funding for public education overall has been reduced in recent years
  • The only way that Charter Schools have been able to make money is by skimping on educational programs and by “encouraging” kids with disabilities to return to the public schools.
  • With fewer dollars to pay for kids in the traditional public school system, the public school system has languished even though they have more kids with disabilities.
  • The fact that there is no overall management of the traditional public school and Charter School systems was identified as a second major problem.
  • Only 60 minutes of the 90-minute film were presented, no solutions were discussed.

 

Building Influence (ways to cater to Working Professionals)

  • Similar to Young Leaguers
  • Goal to build influence…membership will follow
  • Suggestions included virtual meetings, trying new places, use surveys, have interactive meetings
  • Use collaborative leadership
  • Several ideas presented may be used by Young Leaguers

 

Centennial:  Using Your History to Inspire and Recruit (Ideas for Centennial celebration)

  • Partner with other organizations
  • Videos of older members for posterity
  • Join parades
  • Make sashes
  • Dress representing all decades

 

Civics Education  (Presented by Christene Campbell-Gabor)

  • 38 participants (room size was an issue)
  • Must work together to increase voters
  • More diversity needed
  • Need state Civics Ed Chair

 

Fundraising:  How to Ask for What You Want

  • Connections important (LinkedIn, Facebook)
  • Must ask to get contributions
  • Don’t take rejection personally
  • Ask once, thank five times
  • Customize thank you cards (include picture with donor)

 

Grant Writing

  • Use website, grants.gov
  • Ask for informational interview
  • Ask for review prior to formal submission
  • Need capacity to write, administer, manage, and monitor
  • Partners are good but be aware of % cut
  • Grant Life Cycle: start up, Implement & monitor, evaluate and report
  • WK Kellogg Foundation is a great resource for templates and strategies (wkkf.org)
  • Don’t work alone
  • Have program identified and outline established
  • Identify grant sources based on your purpose
  • Set up Google searches to receive opportunity notices
  • Attend other events for visibility
  • Email funders for information
  • Send unsolicited proposals (unless prohibited)

 

Gun Safety

  • Discussed current FL bills, legislative issues, BAWN (Ban Assault Weapons Now) petition and “Lock It Up”
  • Work in coalitions and with other groups
  • Continue distribution of gun locks
  • Gabby Giffords will attend a fundraiser in Orlando on June 29, 2019

 

Why is Home Rule Under Attack with Preemption Legislation?

  • In 2019 Legislative session, there were 26 preemption bills
  • Bills designed to keep urban centers from passing progressive laws
  • ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a nonprofit conservative organization prepares “draft” bills and promotes model legislation to all state governments.
  • Issues targeted include arming teachers, gun safety, sanctuary cities, LGBTQ rights, affordable housing, expansion of charter schools, citizen initiatives, and health care
  • Need to interface with all political parties to successfully educate the public

 

Juvenile Justice

  • Brains develop when a child is about 24.  Brain changes when a child experiences trauma.  After that, it focuses on survival and learns how to protect self, but not as a normal function.  The mission of Juvenile Justice is to improve outcomes for youth at risk.
  • Civil Citation vs Direct File
  • Civil Citation – youth goes through the juvenile system.
  • Direct File – youth is treated as an adult, no matter what age a child is.
  • Florida prosecutes more children in the adult system than any other state.
  • Does PBC have a detention center for youth or do youth go to prison?
  • Collaborate with faith traditions to eliminate mandatory direct file – HB7125.  Reform the due process so that a youth appears before a judge rather than the attorney general.

League 101

  • History of league presented
  • Advise on ways to stay nonpartisan given

NPV

  • To date, 196 electoral college delegates of 270 needed have pledged
  • To achieve success:
    • Getting as many legislators as possible to serve as co-sponsors for an NPV bill. In Connecticut, 84 percent of the Democratic caucus co-sponsored the NPV bill. Getting legislators to serve as co-sponsors removes any question as to whether they will vote for the bill.
    • Encouraging advocates to attend hearings. Jonathan said that having a large number of advocates in attendance at public hearings helps to put NPV on the map.
    • Canvassing donors. Going door-to-door to talk to people who donated money to legislators you are trying to sway can be effective. If you can convince the donors that NPV is a good idea, the legislators may listen to their donors.
    • Recruit prominent journalists, leaders, etc. to speak on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to reach out to big names on Twitter or Facebook. It might work!
    • Get legislators on the record. Ask them to commit to supporting NPV.
    • Work to understand the opposition. When people tell you they don’t support NPV, work on understanding their reasons. This will help you address their concerns, which others may share.

Sex-Ed in the Sunshine State

  • FL ranks 20th in STD, 16th in teen pregnancy, 4th highest abortion & high HIV rate
  • Abstinence does not keep kids safe
  • Broward County only Fl. county with sex ed

Speaker’s Bureau: Presentations that Inspire

  • Ways to set up a speakers bureau, access files on LWVF web site, train speakers, and find audiences discussed
  • Make presentations interactive

Vote 411 and the Election of 2020

  • online voter guide located at https://www.vote411.org. The site uses a software called e.thePeople, which LWVUS owns.
  • Nationwide, there were over 5.5 million sessions on VOTE411 between January 1 and Election Day in 2018. This was the most number of visits VOTE411 has ever had in an election year.
  • remind candidates number of voters reached to encourage participation.
  • VOTE411 was featured on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which airs on Sunday nights. The Sunday that John Oliver mentioned VOTE411 on his show, the website crashed because it received so many visits. (This was part of the LWVUS’s media strategy to reach out to late night hosts and mention that they could refer viewers to VOTE411 for nonpartisan election information.)
  • Amy Schumer and America Ferrera, two celebrities who mentioned VOTE411 on social media.
  • LWVUS will populate VOTE411 in advance of the presidential preference primary in March 2020. LWVUS will also cover U.S. House and Senate races. LWVFL will cover Florida House and Senate races.
  • In advance of the 2020 election, some updates are being made to VOTE411, but these are all updates that will affect the user interface rather than the back-end pages that local leagues use to input information.
  • Local leagues can expect to receive access to their VOTE411 page in November or December of this year to start updating information for 2020.
  • Only one Republican statewide candidate in Florida, candidate for Agri. Comm. responded to LWVFL’s VOTE411 questions for statewide candidates.
  • LWVUS has guidance, including sample text for posts, for advertising VOTE411 on social media.
  • Suggestions for updating our VOTE411 pages in advance of the 2020 General Election:
  1. Identify your core VOTE411 tech team.
  2. Train your tech team and learn the lingo.
  3. Create an account in VOTE411.
  4. Add district maps/GIS data.
  5. Add candidate questions.
  6. Add candidate information at the filing deadline.
  7. Invite candidates to respond to our questions by a deadline we set. 8. Followup with at least 3 emails and at least 1 phone call to the candidate. (Note: Some attendees thought at least 1 email and at least 3 phone calls would be a better approach.) 9. Add referenda synopses.
  8. Publish and advertise the guide!
  • The VOTE411 logo is undergoing an overhaul, so we should ensure we use the new logo in our materials.
  • Megan Brown of LWVUS provides formal training and support to participating local leagues. She is who we should contact with questions.