Making Democracy Work

Our Positions

Our positions are where we stand on issues, new and old. Positions are reviewed, updated, or removed based on member input and consensus.

League Positions are a result of research, study, and the evaluation process. Usually a state committee of local League members is formed which researches the study subject. It formulates the consensus questions. It provides the local Leagues with a Study Guide which includes resource materials and the consensus questions.

The study material includes comprehensive background information which covers all sides of an issue.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

Local Leagues use the state resource material to study issues particular to the state. After in-depth study and discussion among the members, each local League arrives at its own consensus on the issue. The state committee compiles the consensus results and formulates a state consensus which is then approved by the state board. It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular state issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot officially be taken on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Missouri. For more comprehensive information, and to view our Guide to State Action visit LWVMO Guide

Local Leagues may study local issues following the same procedure and arrive at positions on local issues.

Charter Schools

Position of League of Women Voters of Missouri on Charter Schools

The League encourages members to oppose legislation to expand charter schools. HCS/HB 581 (Roeber) could come up for a vote on March 14. SCS/SB 292 (Eigel) is on the Senate calendar and could also be taken up soon. The two bills are substantially the same and would allow charter schools to be sponsored by outside entities (other than the local school board) and operate in districts around the state.

The League opposes expansion of charter schools in the state for the following reasons.

  • Charter schools are not held to the same standards as traditional public schools. They are "freed" from having to comply with most state regulations that are designed to ensure a minimum level of adequacy. For instance, 100% of faculty in traditional public schools must meet state certification standards, while only 80% of charter school faculty members must be appropriately certificated.

  • Charter schools are not required to serve students with significant disabilities, students who are homeless, and students recently released from juvenile detention programs. As a result, public schools have a higher concentration of students that require significantly more resources.

  • Charter schools lack accountability since they are governed by boards that are privately appointed, not elected. Such boards often employ private for-profit corporations to operate publicly funded charter schools.

  • There is an unsubstantiated bias that charter schools are superior to traditional public schools and therefore provide parents with a better choice. The 10 worst-performing school systems in the state in 2017-18 were charter schools, according to 2017-18 APR data compiled by DESE.

  • Charter schools take state dollars away from traditional public schools.

Equal Rights Amendment

The League supports the ERA, which states in 24 simple words, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in May 2018. Supporters in Missouri should connect with state legislators and/or raise awareness through social media.

Two ERA bills have been introduced in the current session:

  • SCR7 in the Missouri Senate, introduced by Senator Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur), was referred to the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee. That committee held a hearing in 2018.

  • HCR12 in the Missouri House, introduced by Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City), was not assigned to a committee.

Redistricting

Respect Missouri Voters on Amendment 1 Reforms
The League supported Amendment 1 which passed with a majority of the vote in every State Senate district in 2018. This constitutional amendment includes many reforms to clean up Missouri politics, including a better system of redistricting to ensure fairness after each U.S. Census.

The League opposes efforts by incumbent politicians to block Amendment 1's provisions to increase transparency and fairness.

Minimum Wage

The League of Women Voters believes that one of the goals of social policy in the United States should be to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families and the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty. Promoting a minimum wage of at least $12 per hour in Missouri aligns with the League's goals to advance self-sufficiency among individuals and families. A living wage would allow anyone working full item to stay above the federal poverty line and avoid homelessness. The living wage would not improve quality of life for families and individuals or account for emergencies, such as affording health insurance; these families would still live paycheck to paycheck.

Voters resoundingly approved Raise Up Missouri's initiated measure on the November ballot. Missouri's state minimum wage just went up from 7.70 to $8.60. It will increase to $9.45 in 2020, $10.30 in 2021, $11.15 in 2022 and $12.00 in 2023.

Evidence has shown that raising the minimum wage can have a positive effect on both the local and state economy. A higher minimum wage increases job retention and productivity and does not result in a loss of jobs. At the same time, there is no significant evidence that shows it will lead to price increases among goods and services. Small businesses grow faster in areas where the minimum wage has increased; workers whose pay increases usually spend their extra earnings locally.

The increase is expected to positively affect 23 percent of Missouri's population.

Here is a LWV Minimum Wage Fact Sheet.

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

The League's NPV Committee is meeting frequently. Our main objective is to get a bipartisan bill introduced in both houses of the legislature to have Missouri join other states in pledging to give all its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

In a 2015 survey, 75 % of Missourians supported electing the presidential candidate who received the most votes nationwide. The Electoral College does not work that way. In fact in the history of the United States, five US presidents who won the most votes nationwide, lost the election, in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016.

The League of Women Voters supports abolishing the Electoral College which would require a constitutional amendment. The local League is educating the public about NPV and the political ramifications for the various options for electing the president.

For more information, see the op-ed at http://www.stlamerican.com/news/columnists/guest_columnists/there-is-a-way-around-the-electoral-college/article_eb25a4ec-f8e3-11e8-a356-df58d15d6c96.html.

League of Women Voters of Missouri State Program Positions in Brief

GOVERNMENT

Constitutional Revision - Adopted 1941, Updated, 1962

  • Support of a permanent constitutional commission in addition to other methods for initiating constitutional change -BEING AMENDED AS OF 4/28/2017

  • Support of specific constitutional revisions to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of state government

County Home Rule - Adopted 01-08-1971

  • Support of measures to extend home rule to counties

Election Process

Conflict of Interest - Adopted 12-1978

  • Support of financial disclosure to expose potential conflicts of interest among public officials and candidates

Legislative Reform - Adopted 1964, Updated 1967

  • Support of measures to improve the organization and powers of the Missouri General Assembly

  • Support of standards for apportionment to make congressional and legislative districts as compact, contiguous, and as nearly equal in population as possible

Presidential Nominee Selection Process - Adopted 1970, Updated 1986

  • Support of measures to increase the informed participation of Missouri citizens in the selection of presidential nominees

Voting Rights - Adopted 1919, Updated 1966, 1970

  • Support of an accurate, efficient, accessible, accountable, and uniform election process

  • Support of measures to ensure a secret ballot

  • Support of absentee voting, advance voting and measures that facilitate participation in the election process - Adopted 2010

  • Support the fundamental right of every citizen to vote - Adopted 2015

Fiscal Policy - Adopted 1940, Updated 1973, 2003 Support of a balanced and progressive tax system to finance necessary governmental services

  • Opposition to revenue and expenditure limits to control the growth of state government.

  • Fiscal policy should be in state statutes, rather than the Constitution.

JUSTICE

Judicial System - Adopted 1940, Updated 2007

  • Support of a flexible unified system of courts under the Supreme Court

  • Support of the Nonpartisan Court Plan and an improved system of selection, tenure and retirement of judges

Juvenile Justice - Adopted 1974, Updated 1987

  • Support of measures to ensure a coordinated system of juvenile justice which treats children fairly and effectively.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Air Quality - Adopted 2015

  • Promote measures to reduce pollution from mobile and stationary sources

Hazardous and Solid Waste - Adopted 1972, Updated 1987

  • Support of strong provisions to fulfill state and local government's responsibility for hazardous and solid waste management

Land Use - Adopted 1976 Based on National Positions
  • Support for the adoption and implementation of long range land use plans and regulations by state, county and municipal governments which incorporate sound policy development based upon the goals, needs and resources of each locale. Effective land use management requires adequate financing, involvement of professional planners and increased public information and participation. (LWV Washington)

Water - Adopted 1958, Updated 1984
  • Support of a comprehensive water policy for Missouri, one that includes the public trust doctrine

Climate Change Being Considered 2017

  • Climate Change is exacerbated my man-made activity and is a threat to humankind.

SOCIAL POLICY

Education - Adopted 1965, Updated 1970, 1974, 1983

  • Support for equal opportunity in education, access to quality programs and adequate financing.

Charter Schools - Adopted 1999, Updated 2007, 2015
  • The League does not support or oppose charter schools. Since Missouri law permits
  • Charter schools, the League supports criteria for governance and operations similar to those of traditional public schools but accountability and accreditation same as those of traditional public schools.

WOMEN's HEALTH and Family Planning - Adopted 1988 by Concurrence with Springfield/Green Co.

  • Support state family planning programs and educational programs about family planning including funding for these programs.

Supports Public Policy on Reproductive Choices to protect the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make their own reproductive choices.

HEALTH

Mental Health - Adopted 2015

  • Support an adequately funded mental health care system, and strengthen families.

  • Implement full insurance parity for mental health care.

Medical Marijuana - Adopted 2015
  • Support legislation which allows marijuana for medical treatments.

  • Support treating possession as one of the lowest law enforcement priorities

Public Libraries - Adopted 2007, Amended 2013
  • Support of a public library system as a basic community service, including internet access, with a long-term assured, stable and adequate funding source.

  • Support of 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.