The 2019 Maryland General Assembly enjoyed another successful session.
Be sure to check out the low-down on which bills passed and which didn't,
and just what to expect looking forward.
Michael Erin Busch, Maryland’s longest serving Speaker of the House, always exemplified what it meant to be a leader, particularly when it came to the environment. As a lifelong coach, mentor, and collaborator, he knew the value of teamwork and built coalitions with skill and ease to accomplish a number of environmental victories during his more than three decades in office.
In 2010, Speaker Busch was awarded our prestigious John V. Kabler award for environmental organizing. At the time, our then Board Chair Fred Hoover had this to say, “Speaker Busch’s many accomplishments include protection of our waterways, oyster restoration, protection of critical areas and allowing citizens the ability to have their voices heard through changes in Environmental Standing Laws. He is willing to tackle complex budget issues that benefit all of us and under his efforts have made Maryland a national leader in the fight against climate change and air pollution.”
Speaker Busch’s district was one of the most forward thinking and environmentally sensitive in the state. He was influential in the creation and funding of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund that encourages restoration of our waters, supported legislation updating the state’s Critical Areas law, and broadened environmental standing rights to give citizens a voice in furthering environmental protection in the state. One of his final acts as a state legislator was pushing through landmark oyster protection laws just days ago, book ending his legacy as a champion of the Chesapeake Bay.
We mourn the loss of this leader, environmental hero, and friend.Mike Busch receiving Maryland LCV's/s Kabler Award in 2010
March 18, 2019
by Annie Amrhein
As I passed through security heading into Longworth, one of the three House office buildings located on the Hill, I was immediately engulfed by the buzz of activity. From Capitol police officers escorting protesters down the hallway, to congressional staffers hustling about to various interest groups gathered together in the cafeteria, it was clear the day was already in full swing at 8:30am. Peter Marx of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, and my supervisor at Maryland LCV Ben Alexandro, discussed our strategy and overall game plan for the day, and before I knew it, we were heading to the Rayburn building via the underground tunnel to meet with Maryland Congressman Andy Harris. And so it began, we were off to the races!
By Craig Auster, PAC & Advocacy Partnerships Director
The 2018 midterm elections were historic: women, people of color and LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office – and won up and down the ballot – in record numbers. From the very beginning, it was clear that this new group of diverse candidates emerged, in part, because they were concerned by President Trump’s attacks on our democracy, health, equal rights and the environment, and running for o
ffice was an effective way to make change and fight for their communities.
We at LCV were determined to help translate this energy to success on the 2018 ballot. So, early in the cycle, we joined EMILY’s List, Rachel’s Network, and many of our partners in the climate and environmental justice movement to support and help prepare pro-environment women candidates to run for office. And given its success, we’re at it again, training women candidates to run for office in 2020.
Environmental Community Statement on Del. Mary Ann Lisanti
Our organizations work together across Maryland on environmental issues. To us, that work is an integral part of the larger work for social justice. We strive to protect the natural world out of a concern for people, communities, and future generations. People can only thrive in a healthy ecosystem on a living planet. And too often, the same racism that has deprived people of color full access to wealth and opportunity has also deprived them of access to clean air and water.
Our organizations put our faith behind Harford County Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti as she emerged to play a leadership role in advancing a critical climate initiative for our communities. But Del. Lisanti’s racist outburst calls into question her respect for the leadership, staff, volunteers, and members of our organizations, as well as the people we advocate for.
Our organizations will not remain silent when the foundation of our work is to lift up communities engaging for our shared values across the state and to promote a healthy environment for all Marylanders. The act of crafting public policy as a Maryland elected official is a privilege and requires a fundamental respect for every person affected by those policies. With regard to Del. Lisanti’s comments in the Washington Post, alcohol is never an excuse for racism or racist behavior. Comparing racist epithets that dehumanize us, our partners, friends, and neighbors to mere profanity is equally unacceptable because it minimizes the past and present systems which weaponize difference.
We hope that Del. Lisanti will engage in rigorous soul-searching and anti-racism, anti-oppression training that could turn this offensive episode into a truly meaningful growth experience not just for herself, but also for her colleagues, constituents, the people of Maryland, and for everyone across the country who rejects implicit and explicit racism and hatred across our nation.
Our trust and confidence in her leadership is lost, especially on environmental issues that are core to our missions. Serving as a state elected official and being a state-wide leader on climate justice requires the full faith and trust of all Marylanders. Unfortunately, Delegate Lisanti spurned that trust and, as such, we believe the best course of action is for her to resign as a member of the House of Delegates.
Meanwhile, there is much work to be done. We urge Governor Hogan and the leadership of the Maryland Senate and Maryland House of Delegates to pass bold laws in 2019 that underscore our state's commitment to progress in the areas of environmental health, economic justice, and racial equity as prescient matters of social justice.
Maryland Environmental Health Network
Sierra Club Maryland Chapter
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA)
Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV)
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Clean Water Action
Citizens Climate Lobby, Maryland
Food & Water Watch
The Earth Coalition
National Wildlife Federation Mid-Atlantic Regional Center
Maryland Conservation Council
The clear winner for Tuesday night was Maryland's environment. And that is all thanks to you. Check out our list of endorsed candidates to see how they performed.
Thanks to pro-conservation voters, volunteers, and donors, 86% of our endorsed candidates won! Maryland saw record-breaking turnout during early voting and on election day with over 2 million votes cast in Maryland.
That is phenomenal, and a large turnout means Marylanders are standing up for their communities and making sure their voices are heard. You not only voted, you turned out to support these candidates through volunteering and spreading the word. Through the Maryland LCV Political Action Committee, we doorknocked and called nearly 20,000 voters in priority districts - that is all thanks to your support.
The candidates who ran on environmental issues have been pounding the pavement door-knocking, calling, participating in debates and forums for many months and all their hard work has paid off. While not all of our candidates won, we saw candidates embracing the environment as a winning issue.
Our endorsed candidates have pledged to protect our air, land, and water and we look forward to working with them to fulfill your environmental values.
So take a rest now, Friend because in January, we are going to need to come together to fight for a stronger Maryland. This next legislative session we are going to have some big asks because we don’t have time to wait.
We need to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act to increase our renewable energy in Maryland, secure stronger water protections, and encourage smarter growth to mitigate climate-related weather disasters. We have our environmental champions in place at the county and state level to secure these gains but we’ll need your help to ensure that campaign promises are turned into action.
By Karla Raettig, Executive Director
As the environmental watchdog in the state of Maryland, I’m proud to present to you our 2018 Environmental Scorecard. The annual report highlights the environmental voting record of all 188 legislators in Maryland.
The 2018 Session was a complicated year for the environment in the Maryland General Assembly. On the one hand, legislators passed several bills of environmental importance and in multiple cases the environment was a bipartisan concern.
While those bills were important, leaders in the General Assembly failed to vote on many top environmental priorities. This inaction short changes Marylanders from truly understanding where our elected officials stand on these particular top environmental issues and further disenfranchises voters in this key election year.
In more frustrating news, we saw long-time environmental champions fail to support environmental priorities, or refuse to bring them up for a vote. In particular, we are especially concerned at the shelving of top environmental legislation, such as the Styrofoam ban.
These bills are supported by you, and strong community-led coalitions with broad legislative support that key leaders in legislative committees refused a vote on. See how your legislator scored here>>
Once our elected officials return to Annapolis in January, we at Maryland LCV will be there to hold them accountable for their actions, or inactions.
The full Scorecard is available online and includes records of votes cast on the floor of the House and Senate and in committees, along with past voting records.
Thank you for being a conservation voter.
The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment. The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.This is the latest in a series of emails that focus on each individual candidate. In this edition we will introduce you to Councilman Andrew Pruski, the Democratic candidate for District 4, running for re-election. Councilman Pruski represents District 4, which covers Laurel, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Odenton, North Crofton, Millersville, and Crownsville. Find your County Council District here.MEET ANDREW PRUSKICouncilman Andrew Pruski is running for his second term on the Anne Arundel County Council. His public service began at early age as an Eagle Scout and work as a Volunteer for the Veteran's Administration. He is running for re-election to continue his goals of supporting our public schools, public safety, protecting our environment, and supporting locally owned businesses.Councilman Pruski has been a champion for the environment for many years including his service on the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals and President of the Four Seasons Community Association. He has fought against the two proposed landfills in West County and supported standing for communities trying to challenge unwanted development projects. There are several notable decisions that Councilman Pruskisided with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other Environmental Groups.As a school board member and President of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, Councilman Pruski led efforts to include environmental literacy in the school system curriculum and was an advocate in forming the Watershed Stewards Academy. He believes that environmental education is critical to the future of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.Councilman Pruski wants to play an integral role in the next General Development Plan by holding open and transparent public hearings to help make wise land use decisions. Councilman Pruski has been an advocate for involving the community in development decisions and promoting policies to protect our environment. His record speaks for itself, he has voted to keep the stormwater remediation fund, ban coal tar, and ban polystyrene foam in Anne Arundel County.COUNCILMAN PRUSKI NEEDS OUR HELP
The Anne Arundel County Council has seven members. It takes a majority of four votes to pass any bill, including any bill to protect our environment. The Anne Arundel Chapter has endorsed seven candidates for the County Council. We are confident that, if elected, they will give Annapolis a strong conservation majority on the Council. Now we have to get them elected.This is the latest in a series of emails that focus on each individual candidate. In this edition we will introduce you to Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, the Democratic candidate for District 6, Chris Trumbauer’s District. Chris is barred by term limits from seeking another term. District 6 covers Annapolis Neck. Find your County Council District here.MEET LISA RODVIENI am running for Anne Arundel County Council District 6 to help improve and protect the quality of life for ALL of our county’s residents. We are privileged in Anne Arundel County to be part of an amazing and diverse community set in a beautiful and unique landscape on the Chesapeake Bay. In recent years, however, the fast pace of development in our county has strained our county’s schools, our infrastructure, and environment. As we update the county’s General Development Plan in 2019, I will advocate for a transparent and inclusive process that gives all stakeholders a seat at the table and that ensures finite and fragile environmental resources are treated with great care.I will also work towards ensuring that our public schools provide excellent education for ALL children so that today’s young people can have prosperous futures right here in Anne Arundel County. Furthermore, I will work towards improving the availability of mental health resources in our county for people of all ages. School counselors in AACPS are currently tasked with serving as many as three times the number of students recommended by national organizations. The number of mental health care providers for adults, even those with insurance coverage, is insufficient to serve the needs of our community. Expanding access and availability to mental health care in our community will be a critical component in stemming the addiction crisis.Finally, I will work to create an county that is welcoming to immigrants and does not create undue fear for those who are simply working to live peaceful and productive lives in our county.LISA NEEDS OUR HELPYou can find out more about how to contribute to and get involved with LISA’s campaign at www.lisarodvien.com.Please join us in supporting Lisa on at the Quiet Waters Park Blue Heron Center from
By: Dannielle Lipinski
Do you remember moving into your first apartment? I loved that feeling of independence. Along with finally being able to sort the recycling and start a compost pile that my roommates hated, I remember looking at our energy bill wondering how we can start to be a part of the clean energy revolution and fight climate change as consumers.
I had already convinced the roomies about energy-efficient lightbulbs and turning off the lights. However, when I talked about solar panels and wind turbines, they immediately shut me down. Now that I’m all “grown-up” and some of my “roommates” are my young son, a turtle, and a rambunctious dog, I can make a few more choices about my energy usage, not to mention still drive everyone crazy with compost ideas, rain barrels, and a garden that has grown a bit wild.
Through my work at Maryland LCV, I’ve worked on landmark legislation that helps all Marylanders combat climate change. In 2015, the General Assembly passed a fantastic law called the Community Solar Act (HB 1087). This is the pilot program that really changes the way we think about solar energy and who can benefit from its increased usage.
Homeowners who have looked at solar and determined that their living situation cannot support solar panels, they can still benefit from solar power. In addition, the law expands the benefits of solar to renters, churches, and others who have not been able to participate before. The great thing about community solar is that anyone and everyone can join in. In states like Minnesota and New York, community solar has really taken off.
And now it’s Maryland’s turn. With community solar, you can “share” the power generated at a nearby solar farm. You have the option of paying no upfront fees. There are no rate hikes and no surprises. Simply put, community solar is the wave of the future. Your solar will come from a local site within Maryland and you’ll be helping Maryland grow in solar energy.
Look into community solar today, and you can convince your roommates to take the plunge and join the clean energy revolution! Please check out the links below for more information on opportunities to sign up:
Here is more information about the Community Solar from the Public Service Commission: https://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/community-solar-pilot-program/