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.

Statement of Immediate Position on Bill

Position of League of Women Voters of Missouri on HB 634 + Charter Schools

If passed and enacted, HB 634 will allow charter schools to be operated in any school district in which at least one school building has received a score of 60% or less on its annual performance report. The League of Women Voters of Missouri 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 their "fair share" of students who present many challenges such as students with significant disabilities, students who are homeless, and students recently released from juvenile detention programs. This inequity results in higher concentrations of students that require significantly more resources in traditional public schools.

  • Charter schools are governed by boards that are privately appointed, not elected and such boards often employ private for-profit corporations to operate publicly funded charter schools. This significantly weakens accountability and contributes to citizens becoming "disinvested" from their local public schools.

  • There is an unsubstantiated bias that charter schools are superior to traditional public schools and therefore provide parents with an advantageous choice. Studies of charter school academic achievement do not demonstrate that they are better than traditional public schools. Parents expect superior outcomes when placing their children in charter schools. Unfortunately, such is often not the case and all too often charter school outcomes are actually inferior to those of traditional public schools.

  • The charter school "system" in Missouri is very flawed and should not be expanded throughout the state.

League of Women Voters of Missouri 2015-2017 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.

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.

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</1> - 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.