As 2015 approaches, the League is considering the role that we can play on many of our priority issues. We see plenty of opportunity at different levels of government for good things to happen on League issues. Federally, it’s not just Congress that will be taking action on the issues we care about, as we saw this year, decisions will also be made by the President and agencies of the federal government.
Here’s a sample of some of the important work for the League in 2015.
Environmental Defense: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently proposed regulations restricting ozone and methane gases. In addition, the agency will finalize two regulations limiting the amount of carbon pollution from new and existing power plants next June as part of their Clean Power Plan. The League was part of an effort that collected over 8 million comments to the EPA on these regulations throughout 2014. The League will continue to be involved in the finalization of the regulations, the implementation process at the state level and in defending the regulations in the face of opposition in Congress.
Voting and Elections: In Congress, there is work to push passage of legislation that restores the Voting Rights Act (VRA). A new VRA will ensure that every American citizen, regardless of race or language, has equal access to the vote. The League will continue to push back against bad legislation at the state level that would prevent voters from having access to the polls.
The League is also interested in seeing the U.S. Senate fill the vacancies on the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Currently, the EAC has no commissioners and filling the two Republican and two Democratic seats open would restore working order to the EAC. The EAC is vital to ensuring that the right to vote for all eligible Americans is not compromised and that our elections are run efficiently and fairly.
Healthcare: The League was a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it was passed in 2010, and we must continue to fight back in Congress and in the courts against efforts to repeal this important law. At the state and local level, Leagues across the country have continued to educate the public about open enrollment.
Money in Politics: The DISCLOSE Act, which would ensure that voters know the identity of donors who have been secretly financing campaign expenditures in federal elections, is a key League issue in the 114th Congress. We must also closely monitor other legislation that defines coordination between candidates and outside spending groups, including Super PACs, in order to limit the big money flowing into our elections.
Outside of action by Congress the League is working to persuade the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to set a stricter definition of disclosure and define coordination between candidates and outside spending groups. We will also continue to provide comments to the IRS as they redraft a proposal that defines election activities of 501(c) organizations.
It is clear there will be no shortage of work for the League throughout 2015! Many good things can happen, but it is also clear that there will be defense to be played. The League will be very active at the federal, state and local levels to influence public policy and encourage participation in government on these key issues and many others.