Minutes for SPAC
Legislative Training Day
Carter Mayo House
Junior League of Richmond
Junior League of Lynchburg
Junior League of Northern VA (1)
Junior League of Norfolk/VA Beach (3)
Junior League of Hampton Rhodes (1)
Junior League of Richmond (3)
Junior League of Lynchburg (4)
-Jane Helfrich, the Executive Director of the JLR, presented an over view on the history of the Carter Mayo House.
-Mary Catherine Kolbert, President of the JLR welcomed all. Everyone received a Conference Notebook. Introductions were made around the table.
-Melissa Waugh, SPAC chair presented an overview of S/PAC. Jane Massie, former SPAC chair presented an overview of the history of S/PAC in the Commonwealth and introduced L. Preston Bryant, Secretary of Natural Resources & Former Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates representing Lynchburg, VA.
-Mr. Bryant spoke about his history and background in politics. He explained the process of a bill becoming a law. He presented details what committees, sub-committees and lobbyists do. He clarified the difference between the state senate and the state house of delegates and how each work. He discussed the difficulties in having legislation passed and he explained how to approach a delegate. He explained the why it is not good to come while they are in session, and stated that the legislation presented needed to be, "Clear, Concise, and Simple". He said that when presenting legislation, one needs to have both sides of the story, have a comeback, and recognize the arguments against legislation. He recommended going to see your local constituents in their district office prior to the session and to be sure that you do your preliminary work. He advised that this be sometime in the fall. He also suggested limiting the number of bills you present. He explained what a Grass Roots Organization does, and presented several examples. He also suggested several that help get the bill passed.
1. Know your mission
2. Be able to communicate how your legislation fits your mission
3. Identify natural allies
4. Talk to those who will be affected
5. Utilize Town Hall meetings
6. Get involved in campaigns
7. When you visit legislatures, come in groups
8. Allow the person who might know the constituent take the lead.
9. Try to find a patron
10. Try to have a coalition
11. Have one clear message
12. If funds allow and your organization is big enough, hire a lobbyist
He ended his presentation with Q & A over lunch.
-A conference call was received from Adrianna Sqarlata, Miss VA, 2006. She discussed how she was able to pass two pieces of legislation last session. She talked about what one does in the planning phase all the way to having the legislation passed. She sited the contacts that she made, the organizations with which she made a coalition, how she presented her case to her legislation, how to get one's foot in the door by going to the sub-committee, and how the process can repeat itself. She answered several questions before hanging up the phone.
-Michael Edwards, Deputy Director for legislative Affairs and Mary Jo Fields then presented. Mr. Edwards gave all a handout and discussed the role of a lobbyist. (Info on handout) He also stated that Dec. 11, is the deadline for submitting legislation and that one needs to register to be a lobbyist. Ms. Fields, Director of Research also gave the group a handout, and presented how to track a bill through the legislation via the Internet. (Information on handout) (Lobbyist in a Box & Legal Information System)
-Stella Edwards, Legislation Chairperson of the VA PTA provided a presentation on grassroots efforts by non-profit organizations to promote Safety in Schools. She shared how the PTA is requesting standards for criteria required to graduate from high school and discussed that VA does not base their position on, "No Child Left Behind". She shared proposed legislation; "The Harvard Family Initiative" which is legislation that promotes all local schools to offer state funded Pre-K programs. She also shared that they were working on legislation for childhood obesity that would require students to receive unstructured daily recess that promotes physical activities and social interaction and this time could not be used as a means of discipline without parental consent. She then discussed legislation to promote that each child in school has the proper materials provided so they could be at equal standing with their peers. This would maximize the potential for the child. She briefly touched upon the increase in the drop out rate in VA and the bullying issue.
-Melissa Waugh and Jane Massie presented a more specific history and over view of SPAC. The following topics were discussed:
SPAC started in VA
There are nine leagues in VA (and DC) that are eligible to participate. Historically we have had eight participate (DC has declined). Currently we have five or six.
The members of S/PAC are the chair and asst. chair of PAC from the eight leagues. The chair is the voting member, and the asst. chair is the non- voting member. The non-voting member can vote in the absence of the chair.
In order for your league to be a member of S/PAC, your league must pay yearly dues.
The necessity of getting leagues to work together was raised by Mary Catherine Kolbert
The purpose of PAC is to promote change, educate membership on legislation and the legislative process, encourage and take an active part in the community, advocate for legislation at the local, state, national level that affects leagues.
Why legislators would listen to members of the JL (educated, usually are voters, are concerned citizens, well informed women who have connections, influence and are well connected in the community to network)
The importance of advocacy and education and how that goes back to the fundamental purpose of the JL
The community service wheel means, direct service, public awareness and advocacy
Individual leagues can provide the direct service
SPAC is owned by the JL of Virginia and is not a separate entity
SPACs primary purpose is to advocate for legislation that coincides with its position statements
SPAC is a training ground to teach other people how to advocate
AJLI does not support SPAC anymore in the manner it was previously supported, such as bi-annual training conferences known as the AJLI Public Policy Institute
The importance of getting the JL's President and President-Elect involved by inviting them to meetings
The January / February meeting is always held in Richmond during the General Assembly session. This is the primary purpose of SPAC's hard work where advocacy takes place
The importance of creating an executive committee to nominate the chair, assistant chair, secretary, and treasurer
Question about dissolving the secretary position
You represent your leagues point of view
PAC is the local league's support and SPAC focuses on the mission of VA
There are times that your league will not support the legislation that you present
There was question as to which set of by-laws is current as there are two different copies (minor differences in each set)
We can support anything in the realm of our position statements that the local leagues' board approves each year
Once the local board approves the SPAC position statements, the local league president must sign it, and then it is returned to the PAC Chair in order to communicate what we are focusing on locally. The PAC Chair then forwards to the SPAC chair
Focus areas are not required, but there is an importance of narrowing SPAC's proposed legislation to be more effective in Richmond. IE. Kids in the Kitchen
SPAC needs to focus on the mission when choosing legislation
When all eight leagues are participating in SPAC, SPAC represents approximately 60,000 women
The difficulties of helping your league understand PAC and SPAC
Another concern about the by-laws was raised
Methods of procedure need to be revised
Historically there are four meetings a year. The first is in June or July where there is an overview of methods and procedure. There is a history of inviting the president and the president-elect from your local league. There is usually a meeting with all in the am, then after lunch the presidents and the president-elects branch off to have their own networking sessions
The second meeting is usually held in the fall as training. This is when we focus on the ins and outs of meeting, contacting your legislators, a potential focus area, have speakers, choose SPAC's focus area, work on the calendar year. Some year's SPAC has hosted a cocktail party or a breakfast for the legislators
The third meeting is the General Assembly meeting. This meeting is where final legislation is voted on and approved by the board, then advocated for to our legislators. This meeting can either take place before or after cross-over.
This meeting we also work on the budget, make a slate to choose the incoming vacant positions
The fourth meeting is in March or April. This one can be a conference call. There is a vote on the budget; the chair passes over to the assist chair.
You can only serve on a committee for 2 years
Parliamentary procedure is what is used in SPAC as well as Robert's Rules of Order
We can not advocate for anything unless it has been approved
Another question about the review of policy and procedure for SPAC was raised
Question about future plans for SPAC
Question about June/July meeting
Question about what is a quorum/ only five leagues represented today. One set of by-laws stated a quorum is three while the other stated a quorum is five
The bill for SPAC this year should be sent to your league May 15 or June 15
The dues are $500.00
Question about raising or lowering dues was brought up for discussion
Jan, Feb, March- encourage other leagues to participate
We need a time line
Remarks by others present:
Suggested that we create an e-mail blast to keep S/PAC members connected
"SPAC is Back" was suggested to be the new slogan by Mary Catherine
Get a subscription for a, "list serve". Julianna Sarr agreed to check into this
- There was a vote for agreement to meet in January 07 all conceded
- There was a vote to focus on one issue, all conceded
- Discussion on making focus on welfare of children
- Agreed to table the idea for welfare of children due to lack of representation of all leagues. It was stated that since their were not enough present and that not all leagues had had their local boards approve the SPAC position statements that they return to their leagues and do the following before the January 18, 2007 meeting: 1) Have local league approve SPAC position statements 2) Via conference call or email have SPAC voting delegates vote on a common focus area that coincides with our position statements 3) Once the vote is approved, start tracking legislation in line with the focus area 4) Visit or make contact with your area delegates before they come to Richmond, asking them if they have or know of legislation that coincides with the chosen focus area
- Discussion of re-building of SPAC
- Review of tab 7
- Table 8 is to read on own
- Table 9, 10, and 11 will be discussed in January
- A final motion was made by Jane Massie to amend policy and procedure- A quorum will consist of half + one of the voting delegate, the chair person and the asst. chair. Seconded and approved. This was done to ensure that a quorum will be present at the next meeting
-The meeting was adjourned. Next meeting to be January 18, 2006. Agreed upon by all present
Minutes transcribed by Mary Bartram Stalling, PAC Chair, Junior League of Lynchburg