News from State League convention in Kerrville
By GLENDA WOLIN
The last convention of the League of Women Voters of Texas before its second century begins was full of new ideas, a new culture that promotes change, and a new urgency to “just do it,” as U.S. League president Chris Carson put it in her address to the delegates.
The convention, held in Kerrville April 27-29, was attended by about 140, including 95 delegates from 21 Leagues and 8 Leagues-at-Large from throughout Texas.
501 (c) (3) conversion
Perhaps the most important move the convention made was to vote unanimously to combine LWVTX (currently a 501 (c) (4)) and the LWVTX Education Fund into a single 501 (c) (3), Then any local Leagues who want to become a 501 (c) (3) can do so much more easily and inexpensively.
The San Antonio League plans to take advantage of the opportunity to convert. The most obvious benefit to members is that dues and donations will be tax-deductible.
The IRS has not taken up the matter yet, but as soon as it does, the conversion will take place.
Two other member benefits coming out of the convention were:
- The state portion of student dues were reduced to $0 for the next two years. (National dues were already reduced to $0.) The local portion has not yet been determined.
- The Minnie Fisher Cunningham Legacy Society. This is actually several years old but is being newly publicized. It is a way to donate to the Texas League’s Education Fund (or, after the consolidation, the LWVTX) by leaving it a portion of your will. Or even better, if you are over 70½, you can donate now from your IRA and escape the taxes you would otherwise pay on the withdrawal of the money. To learn more, contact the LWVTX at 512-472-1100 or email LWVTexas@lwvtexas.org.
Local member elected
Our own Phyllis Ingram, a long-long-time member, was elected to the state board of directors. Grace Chimene, from LWV-Austin, who was tireless in starring in and creating videos and Action Alerts during the legislative session last year, was elected president.
Thanks to almost $10,000 donated during the convention, soon we will be seeing Fund A Need, a text-based service that can be integrated into One-Click Politics and just about any other outreach effort. It’s not just for fundraising – we can send people on our mailing list information like their polling site, reminders about events, and other useful things.
Madhu Sridhar invites delegates to hold the 2020 convention in San Antonio.
And, to top things off, LWV-San Antonio Area President Madhu Sridhar invited convention-goers to San Antonio for the 2020 State Convention, the first of the State League’s second century.
The following resolutions, which express the will of the convention, were passed:
No. 1: LWVTX write a letter to the governor and all Texas senators and representatives recommending that the Education Code be modified to include a required, robust social and emotional learning curriculum at every grade level in order to reduce societal violence by ensuring that every student learn interaction skills such as empathy and calm conflict resolution.
No. 2: LWVTX write a letter to the Senate Public Education and House Education Committee recommending that a bill be passed prohibiting the use of state funding (whether as tax credits, education savings accounts, or any other form of vouchers) for private and religious schools.
No. 3: LWVTX write a letter to the Senate Public Education and House Education Committee recommending that a bill be passed supporting the teaching of age-appropriate, comprehensive, science-based sex education in Texas public schools and to eliminate the “no promo homo” law that currently exists in Texas sex ed so that sex education can be fully comprehensive.
No. 4: LWVTX write a letter to the Texas State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency’s Social Studies Department recommending that (a) coverage of voting responsibilities and the practical aspects of voting are included in the Government TEKS in curriculum and (b) a minimum of 5% of the questions in mandatory or discretionary end of course government tests address voting and election.