State Public Affairs Committees (SPAC)

A history of advocacy and awareness

Over the last century, individual Junior Leagues have played an active role in educating the public on the pressing issues of the day and advocating for change, legislative or otherwise, on behalf of those who don’t have a voice.

PACs (Public Affairs Committees), SPACs (State Public Affairs Committees) and LICs (Legislative Issues Committees) are individual, apolitical Junior Leagues or coalitions of Junior Leagues within a state that form to educate and take action on public policy issues relevant to The Junior League Mission. Having begun to take shape in the 1930s, they are collectively governed by their member Leagues and the methods by which they operate vary by state as do the issues chosen for study and action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a State Public Affairs Committee (or a Public Affairs Committee or a Legislative Issues Committee)?

A. Despite its seemingly generic label, a State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC), a Public Affairs Committee (PAC), or a Legislative Issues Committee (LIC), is an invention of The Junior League that has been around since the 1930s. SPACs, PACs, and LICs were developed in order to influence public policy on specific issues within a particular geographic area, such as a state, a county, or a city.

Q. What do they do?

A. SPACs, PACs, and LICs identify the issues that resonate with their members and that are relevant to The Junior League Mission, and develop strategies for tackling them. This advocacy takes many forms—it can be as straightforward as building awareness and educating the public about a pressing problem, or as ambitious as sponsoring and writing a bill that ultimately becomes a law.

Q. Who's in charge?

A. SPACs, PACs, and LICs are governed by their member Leagues and exist as separate entities from the Junior Leagues with which they are affiliated, though they are comprised of Junior League members.

Places and Causes

What impact have SPACs, PACs and LICs had on society?

Believe it or not, since the 1930s, many of the laws we take for granted originated with an idea that was first proposed by a SPAC, PAC or LIC made up of Junior League members. Here are some of the issues the committees have tackled over the years as well as some of their accomplishments, legislative or otherwise:

Child Welfare

Florida SPAC

  • Advocated for a law requiring safety seats in motor vehicles for children between ages 4 and 7

Childhood Obesity & Health & Nutrition

New York

  • Advocated for New York State Healthy Food Retail Act
  • Advocated for the New York State Healthy Schools Act

Water pollution

Ohio

  • Testified in hearings leading to the passage of the Clean Water Act

Human Trafficking

Florida

  • Advocated for two bills by Florida State Senators requiring proper documentation for noncitizen workers in massage parlors and mandating safe harbor for sexually exploited children

New Jersey

  • Advocates for a State Assembly bill that would upgrade penalties for offenders, increase protection for victims; and train law enforcement
  • Established first statewide conference on human trafficking
  • Established a toll-free hotline for reporting suspected cases

New York

  • Advocates for funding for shelters for victims of human trafficking

Cyberbullying

St. Louis

  • Advocated for a bill requiring education, reporting, disciplinary action

Mental Health

California

  • Advocated for the designation of Perinatal Depression Awareness Month statewide

Juvenile Justice

Florida

  • Advocated for state support for gender-specific programming for girls detained in the juvenile justice system

Domestic violence

New York

  • Advocated for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act that would allow judges to exercise discretion in adjudicating criminal cases involving victims of domestic violence

Education/Life Skills

Denver

  • Advocated for a bill establishing a drop-out prevention program for high-schoolers

Suffrage

St. Louis

  • Marched and advocated for women’s right to vote