In 1945, at the UN Charter Conference, the League of Women Voters was invited by President Harry Truman to serve as a consultant to the U.S. delegation. Since that time, the League has continued its presence at the United Nations through its one official and two alternate observers.

Nikki Harris was involved with Leagues all over the country for more than 30 years. Her devotion to democracy and empowerment of women in civil society also took her to other countries to share her expertise. Given Nikki's devotion to the League of Women Voters and especially, in the past few years, to training and coaching Leagues to strengthen their work in our democracy, her husband, Craig Spitzer and her daughters Donna and Debbie, have endowed the National League with a fund to support the ongoing training and coaching of Leagues.

The League of Women Voters was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to meet with 20-30 women activists on how to work effectively on issues of importance to women during the transition period to democracy.  Zaida Arguedas, the League's Deputy Executive Director and Senior Director of its Global Democracy Program was asked to lead this effort.

The League and coalition groups sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging them to oppose an amendment that would gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The League and coalition partners sent a letter to the leadership of the House Ethics committee urging the committee to appoint outside counsel in the investigation into ethics violations by Representative Maxine Waters.

The League and coalition partners sent a letter to Congress urging them to oppose any balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. A balanced budget constitutional amendment would damage the economy, not strengthen it. A balanced budget amendment should not be used as a substitute for real leadership on fiscal policy.

ORDER OF BUSINESS

A minimum number (quorum), as prescribed in the bylaws, must be present before business can be legally transacted. The presiding officer should determine that there is a quorum before beginning the meeting. Every organization is free to decide the order in which its business will be conducted, but most agendas follow a standard pattern:

The United States has changed dramatically since the early debates on public schools. The responsibility for education for the common good shifted from mainly local control to state control. Now, in 2011, attention is coming from the federal government and national organizations to control standards.

Congress is currently in a debate and stalemate over the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965 ESEA, reauthorized as “No Child Left Behind” in 2001). Major issues include the purpose and role of the federal government in public education.

By Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins and Margaret Hawkins Hill

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