The study of governmental issues is one of the basic functions of the League of Women Voters. Study is undertaken at all three levels: national, state, and local, and leads to both education and advocacy, two of the basic missions of the organization. The League's process for study has acquired a solid reputation for its in-depth and unbiased exploration of an issue submitted to its grassroots membership for informed discussion.
During this exploration, members draw on balanced, pro/con materials, develop their own resources, turn to technical experts and public officials for information, and reach out to the community through public meetings, surveys, and media coverage. This is all part of the study and consensus process upon which League position is based.
Once a position is reached, the League uses its grassroots strength to influence the shape of public policy. Work is focused on priority issues every year, in order to channel the League's citizen power for the greatest effect.
Studies are conducted and funded by the League of Women Voters of Texas Education Fund, the 501(c)3 organization.
New Study for 2012-2014
Human Trafficking in Texas
Focus: Study the issue of human trafficking in Texas to understand state and local policies as well as the publicís role in abating human trafficking.
- Understand the nature and definition of human trafficking;
- Consider its extent in Texas;
- Explore how to reduce its occurrence, including considering state and local laws and their enforcement;
- Assess the components of social services for victims to rescue and restore their lives.
Explanation: This study was recommended by the LWV-Houston Area and six other Leagues. In 2011, LWV-Houston Area completed a study on human trafficking, defined as exploiting persons through force, fraud, or coercion, for the purposes of sex, labor or other involuntary acts. Other local Leagues are also studying this issue. Texas is a part of a national and international problem, and it is an issue that all Leagues need to understand so we can act with one voice as we advocate on state laws pertaining to this issue.
Study Committee: Penny Milbouer (Houston Area), Co-Chair; Ann Herbage (Houston Area),Co-Chair; Meg Scott Johnson (Kerrville Area), Peggy Downing (Tyler/Smith County), Janice Schieffer (LWV-TX Program VP, ex-officio).
- 2012-2013: Research by the committee. Local Leagues may hold forums to educate members and the public about human trafficking issues.
- Summer 2013: Facts & Issues published and consensus questions approved by LWV-TX.
- Fall 2013: Local Leagues reach consensus and report to LWV-TX Board.
- Winter 2014: Position statement announced and adopted at Convention 2014.
- Resources for local League study and forums, click here
- Trafficking in Persons Report from the U.S. State Department, click here
- Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report 2012 to the Texas Legislature, click here
- Polaris Project, click here
Texas Water Resources as a Commodity
Focus: An update of our Water position to consider the competition for water in Texas, including governmental policy, public interest rights, and water resource protection concerns.
- Analyze current state regulations which govern the sale or transfer of water rights
- Consider ramifications if Texas were to classify water as a commodity rather than a natural resource
- Explore options such as a state-run water marketing administration
- Assess laws that would be needed for interstate or international water transfers
- Assess the best use of our water (i.e., public interest concerns, environmental factors, effect on third parties, future water requirements)
Study Committee: Mina Johnson (Amarillo), Chair, Miriam Foshay (Dallas), Deanna Frisk (Comal Area), Karen Haschke (Austin Area), Sandra Heatherley (Corpus Christi), Tonya Kleuskens (Amarillo), Mary Vogelson (Dallas)
2010-2011: Research by the committee. Local Leagues may hold Regional Water Forums to educate members and the public about their areaís water resource issues.
Summer 2011: Facts and Issues published and consensus questions approved by LWV-TX.
Fall 2011: Local Leagues reach consensus and report to LWV-TX Board.
Winter 2012: Position statement announced and adopted at Convention 2012.
- Facts and Issues: Should Water be a Commodity?
- Leaders Guide
- Consensus Report Form
- New LWV-TX Water Position
Voting Procedures to Increase Voter Participation
This study resulted in member consensus for an addition to our Election Laws and Voting Procedures position statement, to include the support of
- unlimited access to vote-by-mail with no restrictions
- a permanent vote-by-mail list on which any voter may request to be placed
- the establishment of guidelines which would allow jurisdictions to conduct all vote-by-mail elections
- election day registration
- election day centralized voting, with applicable safeguards
- poll-site Internet voting for military/overseas voters
- Facts and Issues on Vote by Mail
- Facts and Issues on Election Day Registration
- Facts and Issues on Election Day Centralized Voting
- Facts and Issues on Instant Runoff Voting
- Facts and Issues on Internet Voting
- Brief Summary on Vote by Mail
- Brief Summary on Election Day Registration
- Brief Summary on Election Day Centralized Voting
- Brief Summary on Instant Runoff Voting
- Brief Summary on Internet Voting
Mandated Testing in the Public Schools of Texas
- Criminal Justice: Capital Punishment
- Judicial Selection
-Texas Judicial System (brochure)
-El sistema judicial de Texas
- Elections Process in Texas (2002)
Copies of these studies and brochures are available upon request.