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.
With less than an hour to go before Sine Die, Maryland’s climate coalition overcame numerous hurdles and won passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The coalition was seemingly everywhere in Annapolis the last few weeks and Maryland LCV led a robust campaign including paid radio ads, a full page ad in the Capital Gazette, a digital campaign that reached over 200,000 people and hundreds of calls to key committee members that helped force the bill through the Economic Matters committee and back into play the last weekend of session. The bill wasn’t a total victory—a provision to eliminate credits for incineration didn’t make it through the house committee despite passing the full Senate, but action by the Baltimore City Council in February may close Baltimore’s incinerators regardless. The legislation now heads to Gov. Hogan, who we hope will sign the bill, though the coalition built enough support to override a veto if necessary
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.
Columbia, MD – On September 13, 2018, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) announced the 2018 Environmental Scorecard. The annual report highlights the environmental voting record of all 188 legislators and describes the General Assembly’s overall record on those issues each year.
The organization reports that 2018 Session was a complicated year for the environment in the Maryland General Assembly. On the one hand, legislators did pass several bills of environmental importance and in multiple instances the environment was a bipartisan concern. While those bills were important, based on the 2018 Environmental Scorecard, leaders in the General Assembly lacked the courage to allow top environmental priorities for a vote in their committees. This inaction short changes Marylanders from truly understanding where their elected officials stand on top environmental issues in our state and further disenfranchises the voters in a key election year.
“Disappointingly, we saw long-time elected environmental champions fail to support environmental priorities, or refuse to bring them up for a vote. ” Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland LCV. “In particular, we are particularly concerned at the shelving of top environmental legislation, such as the styrofoam ban. These bills are supported by strong community-led coalitions with broad legislative support that key leaders in legislative committees refused a vote on. Once legislators return to Annapolis in January, Maryland LCV will be there to hold them accountable for their actions, or inactions.”
The organization also unveiled the 2018 “Green Champions,” an exceptional group of legislators whose superlative leadership on environmental legislation includes a current 2018 Environmental score of 100 percent, lifetime scores above 95 percent, and primary sponsorship of priority environmental legislation during the previous three years.
“We are proud to present our 2018 Green Champions, who are leading the way on environmental progress in Maryland,” said Ed Hatcher, Maryland LCV Board Chair. “Our Green Champions not only vote right, but they also understand the urgency of the environmental agenda and are making it part of their political identity. We need to support them in every way we can.”
The thirteen legislators honored this year are Senators Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Paul Pinsky, and Victor Ramirez, along with Delegates Luke Clippinger, David Fraser-Hidalgo, Bill Frick, Tawanna Gaines, Anne Healey, Steve Lafferty, Clarence Lam, Brooke Lierman, Shane Robinson, and Robbyn Lewis.
The 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. Go to http://scorecard.mdlcv.org to see the scorecard and follow #MDLCVScore on social media.
Maryland LCV has also created an interactive map with legislative voting information, which provides Marylanders with contact information for their legislators.
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Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) is a state-wide nonpartisan organization that uses political action and education to protect our air, land, public health, and water. Maryland LCV endorses and elects pro-conservation candidates and holds elected officials accountable through legislative scorecards. A leading legislative watchdog in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies for almost 40 years, working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV protects public health by fighting for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.
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