Issues and Actions

Local Policy:

The Philadelphia League of Women Voters supports policies and actions that promote vigilance over the Philadelphia City charter and action limited to support of revisions that will strengthen and modernize it. Amendments to the City Charter must be determined by referendum.

State Policy:
N/A
National Policy:

Local Policy:

The Philadelphia League of Women Voters supports policies and actions to improve access to and delivery of health care services in Philadelphia.

State Policy:

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania has supported League of Women Voters of the United States’ positions on:

  • Confidentiality of rape crisis and domestic violence counseling
  • Family and medical leave
  • Access to health care for the uninsured
  • Expanded health care for children, including the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

National Policy:

The League of Women Voters of the United States supports actions that promote a health care system for the United States that provides access to a basic level of quality care for all U.S. residents and controls health care costs. (Access is defined to include preventive, primary, maternal and child, emergency, catastrophic, nursing home and mental health care. It also includes substance abuse, health and sex education and nutrition programs.) The League also supports advancement of medical research and technology and a reasonable total national expenditure, obtained through increased taxes, to finance a basic level of health care. The League opposes a strictly private market-based model of financing health care and to the administration of the health care system solely by the private sector or the states. In addition, costs control measures must be a priority.

League History:

In 1990, the LWVUS undertook a two-year study of the funding and delivery of health care in the United States. Its final position was announced in April 1993. The League endorsed an equitable allocation of health care services, including increasing the availability of resources in medically underserved areas, training providers in needed fields of care, standardizing the services provided under publicly funded health care programs and insurance reforms.
In 1993, the League testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Education and Labor Committee, calling for comprehensive health care reform based on the League position.

Since that time, the LWVUS has advocated for strong child health care legislation, a Patient’s Bill of Rights, Medicare reform, the Patient Protection Act of 1991, reauthorization of CHIP and for the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The League opposed the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug bill the president signed into law because of provisions that undermined universal coverage in Medicare and the 2006 Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (HIMMA), which limited critical consumer protections provided in many states.

Over the past two decades, the LWVPA supported legislation creating expanded health care, beginning with testimony urging adoption of the state’s Children’s Heath Insurance Program (CHIP).  In 2001, it supported a plan to expand an existing program for low-income Pennsylvanians, Adult Basic, to cover all low-income residents.  (The program was terminated in 2011.)  In 2008, LWVPA testified in support of legislation to create a comprehensive, statewide, single pay, privately delivered health care plan for all Pennsylvanians financed by combining all current state government health care spending with a 10% payroll tax paid by all employers and a 3% personal income tax paid by all Pennsylvania citizens.

Action Item:

The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia will continue to advocate for equity and access to health care services for Philadelphia’s citizens, especially those most vulnerable, including children, seniors and people with limited economic resources.

Local Policy:

The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia supports an equitable and flexible tax system for Philadelphia that includes public participation in the City’s budgeting process.   The League advocates for the adoption of multi-year budgeting for the City of Philadelphia.  It also supports a requirement that all City departments post their budgets online for public review prior to budget hearings before City Council.  In addition, the League supports programs that would ensure the efficient collection of taxes due to the city and the production of an adequate volume of revenue to safeguard the provision of basic City services.

State Policy:

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania does not have a specific position on state or local taxes. Member consensus approved a Municipal Government position in 1969. It was expanded in 1971 to assist local Leagues monitor and evaluate their local governments.

In 2007, LWVPA offered guidelines to local Leagues when considering a change to home rule. Among them was to ensure that any change would improve the efficiency of a local government with regard to tax equity, government operations and election of government offices.

National Policy:
,p>The League of Women Voters of the United States supports adequate and flexible funding of federal government programs through a progressive, broad-based and equitable income tax system.

League History:

The current League position was adopted in 1970, revised in 1987 and amended in 1993. On November 15, 2003, the Mayor’s Tax Reform Commission recommended comprehensive changes to the City’s tax structure, including business, real estate, and wage taxes. The LWV Philadelphia testified during a public hearing about its position, concerns and recommendations for changes to the City’s tax structure prior to the release of the report.

Action Item:

The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia will continue to monitor the impact of any proposed changes to the City’s tax structure and testify before appropriate government entities with regard to its position.

Local Policy:

The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia supports programs and policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every Philadelphian.
It further supports policies and programs that protect the right of all people to secure residential and commercial housing, housing financing and insurance regardless of race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, age, source of income, familial status, and the domestic or sexual victim status.  These protected bases are the City of Philadelphia’s civil rights housing law which is part of the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance.

State Policy:
N/A

National Policy:

The LWVUS supports policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.  The responsibility for achieving national housing goals rests with the federal government, which should assure that our economic system is functioning to produce and maintain sufficient decent housing for citizens at all income levels.  The LWVUS also supports policies to provide equal opportunity for access to housing without discrimination.

League History:

The LWV of Philadelphia has a long history of supporting equal opportunity housing.  Such positions date back to 1970.  Since approximately 2000, we have periodically had a contract with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) to be the Independent Third Party to assist in conducting fair elections for Resident Councils in conventional and scattered PHA sites. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires local PHAs to contract with an independent third party to monitor the nomination committee activities, planning meetings, voting and ballot counting for resident council elections at least once every three years.

Action Items:

1) The League was awarded a subcontract with the Urban Affairs Coalition to coordinate and monitor 40 PHA Resident Council elections, commencing October 12, 2012 through October 11, 2013. The contract was extended through 2014 to include additional sites.
2) The League will support all housing initiatives of the LWVPA and the LWVUS.

Local Policy:

The Philadelphia League of Women Voters supports policies and actions that broaden the protection of women’s rights in the city.  The League affirms that among these rights is the fundamental right of women to control their own lives and bodies. The League supports all local laws that ensure equity in employment, housing, public accommodations and the provision of city services.  It also supports efforts to ensure that the legal system, including the police, probation department and social services, provides full protection for the victims of violence against women, including in cases of abuse and stalking.

State Policy:
N/A
National Policy:

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that public policy in a pluralistic society must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.

League History:

After a year of study ordered by the 1982 National Convention, the LWV of the U.S. adopted a Public Policy on Reproductive Choices.  State Leagues and local Chapters, including the LWV of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia LWV, concurred with that policy.  In the years since, the League has joined with other pro-choice organizations in continuous opposition to restrictions on the right of privacy in reproductive choices at the federal, state and local level.  The LWV of the U.S. has been involved in promoting League policies on reproductive decision-making on Capitol Hill, in the federal courts and in the federal agency rule-making process.

Most recently, the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Leagues have lobbied to prevent the adoption of a law requiring women to have fetal ultrasounds before being allowed to terminate pregnancy.  In addition, they have worked within coalitions to oppose the imposition of burdensome regulations on Planned Parenthood.

Action Items:

  1.  The League will continue to work in coalition with Women’s Way’s Raising Women’s Voices and others to prevent the erosion of women’s right to make their own choices in reproductive issues at the state and local level.
  2.  The League supports all training efforts to make the criminal justice system more responsive to women’s needs for protection from violence, including domestic abuse and stalking.
  3.  The LWV of Philadelphia will support the legal and legislative initiatives of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.

Local Policy:

The Philadelphia League of Women Voters believes that access to a high quality education in the public schools not only determines the future of our children and young people, it defines Philadelphians’ commitment to equal opportunity and social justice.

The League supports policies and actions that strengthen the provision of quality educational programs for all students from the pre-school level through high school.

Essential elements for a quality education include: instruction in language, science and math, instruction in health, physical fitness and the arts, and instruction in life and job training skills. Full access to quality education requires that schools are nondiscriminatory and all students, including disadvantaged students, enjoy equal opportunity in education.

State Policy:

Support equal access to quality public education, to be achieved by participation of government and citizens at all levels and by adequate financing based on an equitable and flexible tax system. The League opposes state vouchers and tuition tax credits for students in non-public schools.

National Policy:

Support equal access to education.
League History:

At the state level, the original position was adopted in 1975, recognizing the interrelationship of LWVPA positions on education, equality of opportunity, and taxation.

The position was updated in 1985 after a review of teacher and other professional evaluations, preparation, certification, and tenure. In 2003, the position was further updated emphasizing the need for adequate state funding.

In 2011, the League of Women Voters of Philadelphia participated in a nationwide study to develop consensus on the role of the federal government in public education.

Action Items:

  1. The Philadelphia League of Women Voters will continue to support the development of a public school system that offers a quality education to every young person in our city. We will work with community and educational leaders in Philadelphia to encourage government and private participation in efforts to improve our public schools.
  2. The Philadelphia League of Women Voters will continue to work to engage students in League activities with the dual goals of strengthening the League and augmenting student involvement in the civic life of Philadelphia.
  3.  The League will support the legal and legislative initiatives of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.