New Member FAQ

When does the League of Women Voters of Newton meet?

The LWVN has member meetings every month from September until April or May.  Most of the time, these are called “topic” (formerly called “unit”) meetings, because we will be learning about or discussing a particular topic (see our Topic Meeting Archives). Members of the public are welcome to attend. In May or June, we have our Annual Meeting, and besides having a nice dinner and a speech from someone interesting, we vote in a new board and decide where we will focus our efforts during the next year.

We also meet in subcommittee. We have subcommittees working on the environment, housing, elections and voter service (both voter education and voter registration). We also hope to have new committees this year for a civics bee, student scholarships, and social justice.  These meetings are usually at a member’s home and are listed on our calendar. Other subcommittees are formed as the interest and need arises.

Our board meetings happen every month. All members are welcome to come and participate! Check the calendar for dates.

We also hold occasional public forums for the wider community. These are usually educational.

What does the Newton League support?

The League only works on issues that have been adopted as official “positions.”  Once we have a position, we can act on it.  For instance, our position endorsing recycling means that we can lobby for more or better recycling programs. (To learn more about the League’s use of “position” and other League terms, see Glossary of League Lingo.)

Your Member Handbook (published every other year) includes the Newton League’s current positions, and they are also posted on our Local Positions page. There are also state and national positions that we support.

We vote on any proposed changes to our local positions, as well as on our focus for the coming year’s work, at our Annual Meeting, held each spring.  Changes to the state and national positions are made at their respective conventions; the Newton League is entitled to send voting delegates to both.

How does the Newton League make decisions?

The League makes decisions carefully, following procedures established over many decades on the national, state, and local levels. While this means that the League can take longer than other organizations to come to a decision, most League members believe that this approach ensures thoughtful and meaningful action.

Issues or requests for action usually come through one of our subcommittees, although individual members (or groups that aren’t formal committees) are welcome to propose actions as well.  For example, a committee might decide that it wants to write a letter to the City Council or the Newton TAB to lobby in support of, or opposition to, a particular item. (Note that such letters are always signed by the current League president(s), not by the person who actually writes it.)

Proposals for action must be presented to the board for approval. When an action falls under one of our existing positions, the proposal cites the position the action supports and the reasons action is needed.   The board then votes to decide whether to take a particular action.

When the action does not fall under an existing position, however, the process is a bit more complicated. Before taking action on something new, League procedures require that a formal study process be undertaken.  The result of a formal study is a written document that proposes a new position for the League to adopt.  The study and proposal are presented to the membership at the next Annual Meeting, and the whole membership votes on whether to adopt the new position.

What is the Newton League working on?

Each subcommittee has its own agenda for the year, as outlined in the Annual Meeting Workbook.  Please click here to see our plan:  Annual Meeting Workbook 2018

Where can I find out what League jargon means?

Become an instant expert! Check out LWV National’s Glossary of League Lingo.

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