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.
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.
Raise Up Missouri is leading the effort for an initiated measure on the November ballot. The schedule for increasing the Missouri state minimum wage would be as follows: $7.70 in 2017, $8.60 in 2019, $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.
At $16,000/year or $341/week, the current minimum wage does not align with the cost of living for the state of Missouri. Raising the minimum wage would allow for Missourians to become self-sufficient and not rely on government aid for important needs and services. Minimum wage workers are mostly women with children, however this increase would positively affect 23 percent of Missouri's population.
For more information on the initiative, go to https://www.raiseupmo.org.
Missouri Wins Redistricting Advocacy Grant
LWVMO received a $8,000 grant from the LWVUS Ed Fund to educate voters about the need to have a better system of redistricting to ensure fairness after each U.S. Census.
Sydell Shayer, Linda McDaniel and other Missouri League members have studied the apportionment of Missouri election districts since the early 1960s. As stated in the grant application, "We have a unique opportunity in Missouri to stop political and racial gerrymandering and achieve more representative democracy." The state League plans a statewide campaign to advocate for Section 3 of the CLEAN Missouri Initiative which is expected to be on the November ballot. It says a paid professional demographer should establish districts on the basis of total population and "take into account the rights of racial and language minorities and design districts to achieve both partisan fairness and competitiveness." For more on the ballot measure, go to http://cleanmissouri.org
The last week of the legislative session, Nancy Miller testified in Jefferson City against HJR100, a bill that would have undermined CLEAN MO's redistricting changes. She stressed the LWV position that political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials.
Supreme Court Ruling
The Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford, a case which challenged the state of Wisconsin's assembly map as an example of partisan gerrymandering. The court sent this case back to the district court to give the plaintiffs a chance to demonstrate that they have suffered "concrete and particularized injuries."
"Today's decision is yet another delay in providing voters with the power they deserve in our democracy," said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "Partisan gerrymandering is distorting and undermining our representative democracy, giving politicians the power to choose their voters, instead of giving voters the power to choose their politicians. We are disappointed that the Court failed to set a standard when it comes to partisan gerrymandering."
The League filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that partisan gerrymandering violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Position of League of Women Voters of Missouri on Charter Schools
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 State Program Positions in Brief
Constitutional Revision - Adopted 1941, Updated, 1962
County Home Rule
- 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
- Adopted 01-08-1971
- Support of measures to extend home rule to counties
Conflict of Interest - Adopted 12-1978
- Support of financial disclosure to expose potential conflicts of interest among public officials and candidates
- Adopted 1964, Updated 1967
Presidential Nominee Selection Process
- 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
- Adopted 1970, Updated 1986
- Support of measures to increase the informed participation of Missouri citizens in the selection of presidential nominees
- 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
- 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.
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
- Adopted 1974, Updated 1987
- Support of measures to ensure a coordinated system of juvenile justice which treats children fairly and effectively.
Air Quality - Adopted 2015
Hazardous and Solid Waste
- Promote measures to reduce pollution from mobile and stationary sources
- Adopted 1972, Updated 1987
- Support of strong provisions to fulfill state and local government's responsibility for hazardous and solid waste management
- 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)
- Adopted 1958, Updated 1984
- Support of a comprehensive water policy for Missouri, one that includes the public trust doctrine
Being Considered 2017
- Climate Change is exacerbated my man-made activity and is a threat to humankind.
Education - Adopted 1965, Updated 1970, 1974, 1983
- Support for equal opportunity in education, access to quality programs and adequate financing.
- Adopted 1999, Updated 2007, 2015
WOMEN's HEALTH and Family Planning
- 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.
- Adopted 1988 by Concurrence with Springfield/Green Co.
Supports Public Policy on Reproductive Choices to protect the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make their own reproductive choices.
- Support state family planning programs and educational programs about family planning including funding for these programs.
Mental Health - Adopted 2015
- Support an adequately funded mental health care system, and strengthen families.
- Implement full insurance parity for mental health care.
- Adopted 2015
- Support legislation which allows marijuana for medical treatments.
- Support treating possession as one of the lowest law enforcement priorities
- 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.