Highlights of the convention
1977 LWVF CONVENTION
by Lucile Churchill
June 7-9, 1977 Tampa, Florida
The convention started well-- every delegate received copies of the eagerly awaited booklets: Our Florida Government and Constitution Revision 1977-1978. All the 26 local Leagues and 2 provisionals were represented.
After the convention was called to order by President Betty Metcalf and welcomed by Irene Silver, President of the LWV of Hillsborough County, each League responded to the roll call by recounting a success story from the year just completed. The voters service projects were impressive: candidate fairs, voter guides, debates, election coverage and registration help. Other local projects included everything from library and recreation studies to booklets and even a movie on local government. LWV of Clearwater asked to be last in reporting and left everyone laughing at their satiric song "Stop E.R.A."
The state treasurer's report was a pleasant change from the grim situation at council last spring. All Leagues have paid their pledges, there is more than twice as much money in the bank and the proposed budget could be accepted with only minimal adjustment.
There were several changes in the bylaws, but the only crucial one provides for local League delegates to set per member payments to the LWVF budget beginning next year. This will place the state support on the same basis as national PMP.
Following presentation of the recommended state program, there was a spirited request for consideration of an item to study the problems of farm works and develop viable solutions. The delegates voted to consider this item.
Vice President Mary Anne Sherman reported on the regular session of the Florida Legislature and urged support of funding measures for Aid to Dependent Children, child care licensing and compensatory education during the special session.
Vice President Lois Harrison described the ambitions national program to provide substantial financial support for E.R.A. It is essential that Florida approve the amendment in the next year and a half.
The convention theme THE YEAR OF THE CONSTITUTION was featured at the banquet. Chesterfield, Smith, Chairman of the Constitution Revision Commission of 1966 pointed out one of the drawbacks of the present constitution which had been carried over the Constitution of 1885 by reading the speech he delievered to the commission almost twelve years ago. It dealth eloquently with the need for an appointed cabinet. The banquet was enhanced by the presence of many honored guests from the Tampa Bay area: long time League leaders who now hold office in the state capitol, county courthouse and city hall.
Caucuses far into the night kept up the tradition that League conventions schedule time for everything but sleep.
Wednesday brought President Metcalf's report of two eyars of accomplishment: everything from support of the amendment ot provide merit selection of judges to the senatorial debates and education fund conferences. The members greeted the president's remarks with a standing ovation and the board presented her with a silver bowl whcih was promptly established as a receptablef or E.R.A. contributions.
The report from the LWVF Education Fund featured accounts of the five converences arranged last year.
As the delegates sat down to lunch, they were surprised and amused by an all-scarf style show. Pat Richardson had used LWV scarves to produce everyting from an evening dress to a bikini. these unique outfits were modeled by state board members to an accompaniment of clever couplets written and read by Fran Boudolf.
After this hilarious interlude, the delegates listened to an instructive talk on Florida taxes by Dr. Milton Redmanof Florida Atlantic University.
Workshops on everything from energy to education were offered during the afternoon.
The final day brough adoption of the budget and recommended program. It was decided to pursue the farm workers study under the national Human Resources item.
The delegates voted to raise $40,000 for the E.R.A. campaign and it was announced that close to $3,000 had been given or pledged during the convention!
A message was sent from the convention to the Hon. Sandy D'Alemberte, Chairman of the 1977 Constitutional Revision Commission urging the citizens of Florida to demand a unicameral legislature to eliminate expensive stalemates in the legislature.
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This scarf is not available in any store-- you can only order it from the League of Women Voters of Florida or from your local League.
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Order from: LWV Scard, 1912 Bonita Way S., St. Petersburg, FL 33712
State Archives of Florida: Series 79, Box 1, Folder 37
A July-August 1977 pamphlet explaining the purpose of the Equal Rights Amendment; a message from lobbyist Mary Anne Sherman; the state program 1977-1979; and highlights from the 1977 convention. Members listed include Fran Boudolf, Ruth Ann Bramson, Arnetta Brown, Roxanna Dear, Deannie Picciotti, Judy Blankenship, Polly Doughty, Jean Martin, Sherry Newman, and Elise Webb.
Passed by Congress in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) proposed that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex." Though 35 states had ratified the ERA by the extended 1982 deadline, it still needed the support of a three-fourths majority, or 38 states, to amend the U.S. Constitution. In Florida, the amendment was introduced or voted on in every legislative session from 1972 until 1982. Though it passed the Florida House of Representatives on several occasions, it never passed the Senate. With the deadline fast approaching, Florida was one of four states to hold a special legislative session to decide on the fate of the ERA in the summer of 1982. While it passed the House (60-58), it again failed in the Senate with a 22-16 vote against ratification. It did not pass any of the other three state legislatures in special session that summer, and the ERA was defeated as a constitutional amendment.