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Maryland LCV Education Fund Responds to Urgent COVID-19 Need by Raising Funds for Langley Park Latino Community

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2020

Contact: Dannielle Lipinski, 443-617-7257, dlipinski@mdlcv.org                                                                                            En español

Maryland LCV Education Fund Responds to Urgent COVID-19 Need by Raising Funds for Langley Park Latino Community
Longtime Maryland LCV partners have been disproportionately harmed by coronavirus pandemic

Annapolis, MD – Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund (Maryland LCV Ed Fund) is responding to the COVID-19 crisis by launching a fundraiser for a key Latino community
partner in Prince George’s County.

“Through our Chispa Maryland program, we have partnered with many Latino community groups who share our goal of protecting our air, land, water, and public health,” said Chispa Maryland Program Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo. “The Langley Park community in Prince George’s County, where upwards of 80% of the residents are Latino, has been an especially committed and effective partner. Because the community has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, we want to do all we can to help them weather this storm.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has created an extreme need in the Langley Park community, one of the most affected in Maryland”, said Palencia-Calvo. “Immigrant community members are experiencing income loss due to layoffs or significant reduction of work hours, and many have been unable to access federal assistance programs or other relief efforts”.

In response, Maryland LCV Education Fund and Chispa Maryland are partnering with the Langley Park Civic Association, a nonprofit organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park, to assist its immigrant residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Jointly, the two organizations are setting up a GoFundMe page to raise funds that will help provide families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items. Maryland LCV Ed Fund is also fundraising from other sources for the community.

“This pandemic has highlighted the inequities that exist in our communities,” said Angela Gonzalez, board president of the Langley Park Civic Association. “We have families, youth, and seniors who have contributed greatly to Maryland’s economic development by working hard and paying taxes, yet many of them do not have access to the most basic services such as health insurance, financial assistance, and other support. We have learned of many families with extreme needs that are not being met and it is our duty as fellow neighbors and community members to step up and fill this void so our families can survive and navigate this crisis.”

The organizations plan to have the GoFundMe go live on Thursday May 21. For more information, visit the Maryland LCV Education Fund website at https://www.marylandconservation.org/

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The Maryland LCV Education Fund, a non-profit, non partisan organization,works to strengthen the Maryland environmental community by growing a base of conservation-minded voters across the state. A leading environmental organization in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV Ed Fund 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.

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino
families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland.

By |2020-05-21T09:02:50-04:00May 21st, 2020|Categories: Press|Tags: , |0 Comments

There’s an urgent need in our community — here’s how you can help

By Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Director and Chispa Maryland Director                                                        En español

  Together we give

Through our Chispa Maryland program, we have developed transformational relationships with a variety of environmental and community groups. The Prince George’s County community of Langley Park,where upwards of 80% of the residents are Latino, has become one of our most effective and valued partners. 

Our Chispa Maryland program and community leaders and residents of Langley Park have collaborated on environmental education workshops, advocacy opportunities, community clean ups, environmental forums, and air quality monitoring. I know I can always count on the Langley Park community to go the extra mile in support of the environmental issues that are so important to all of us.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is severely threatening the Langley Park community, one of the most affected areas in all of Maryland. Latino community members are experiencing income loss due to layoffs or significant reduction of work hours, and many have been unable to access federal assistance or other relief programs. 

Join our effort today to support our partners in need, Our campaign ends on May 31st>>

Over 30 Environmental Justice and Action Promotores from this community have graduated from our program. These Promotores and leaders have become the heart and soul of the Chispa Maryland program, and this community has helped us advance environmental legislation and policies, such as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign, and banning styrofoam in Prince George’s County. 

In response to the needs of our community allies, Chispa Maryland is partnering with the Langley Park Civic Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park, to assist its immigrant community directly affected by COVID-19 and the broader pandemic.  This organization and the people they represent have been key partners in helping Chispa Maryland advocate for climate justice.

They have stood with us to advance our joint environmental priorities, and now they need us to stand with them. Join us today in support of the Langley Park community and our 10 day campaign to raise funds directly to those in need>>

The Langley Park Civic Association will identify families that require critically urgent financial assistance for rent, food, medicine, or other essential items. The funds will be used to provide direct financial relief to those families who might have been rejected from other funding sources, have received only partial relief, or have emergency needs that are simply too urgent to undergo a complex administrative process. 

Check out our press release here.

Thank you and I hope you and your families are well in this time,

headshot of ramon palencia calvo

Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director and Chispa Maryland Director
Maryland LCV Ed Fund and Chispa Maryland

By |2020-05-20T21:38:02-04:00May 20th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Diversity, Donor, Successes|Tags: , |0 Comments

Everyone Votes Maryland- Webinar

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us Wednesday night for the Everyone Votes Maryland- The State of Voting webinar. We had a great turnout and went through the ins and outs of voting for the primary and general election.

As Maryland continues to grapple with challenges of the COVID-19 virus, a number of emergency measures have been put in place to protect public health and every Marylander’s right to vote in the upcoming June 2, 2020 Primary Election. This webinar was hosted on May 13, 2020 by the Everyone Votes Maryland coalition.

And here are the slides from the webinar for download or print.

Here’s the recorded webinar:

Topics discussed include changes made to the upcoming election, the impact these changes have on different groups of voters, and how to ensure you are able to exercise your right to vote.

Featured Speakers:

  • Kristen Harbeson, MD League of Conservation Voters
  • Nicole Hanson-Mundell, Out for Justice
  • Ben Jackson, Disability Rights MD
  • Joanne Antoine, Common Cause MD
  • Ralph Watkins, League of Women Voters MD
  • Qiana Johnson, Life After Release
  • Rev. Kobi Little, NAACP
  • Baltimore Sergio España, ACLU MD
  • Cristi Demowicz, Represent MD
  • Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG
  • Yaheiry Mora, CASA
  • Tasmin Swanson, Baltimore Votes
  • Jay Hutchins, Planned Parenthood of MD

    Attendees were provided with opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar.

Congressional District 7 Special Election

By Kristen Harbeson, Political Director

As I’m sure you’ve noted on your calendar, the special election is coming up very quickly- April 28th! We want to be sure your voter registration information is up to date and you are clear on how to vote by mail because it can be confusing.

We hosted our first webinar about the special elections with our partners and in case you missed it, here is the recorded meeting:

Both the Special Election on April 28 th and the June 2 nd Primary will be primarily Vote By Mail, with limited in-person options.
Despite the critical public health dangers of COVID-19, elections can be conducted in a safe and secure manner through Vote By Mail.
33 States – Including Maryland – allow any eligible voter to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail without needing to provide a reason. The April and June Elections are simply a rapid expansion of that program.

Voting by Mail

  • All registered voters in Congressional District 7 will receive ballots
  • Ballots will be sent to the address listed with the State Board of Elections
  • Ballots will not be forwarded
  • Voters must mail back their own ballot by the US Postal Service
  • Postage will be pre-paid for mailed ballots
  • Ballots sent by e-mail will need to be printed and mailed with appropriate postage (2 stamps)
  • Ballots should be signed and filled out with a black pen
  • Ballots must be postmarked on or before April 28th

Voting in Person

  • Each jurisdiction will have one in-person voting centers
    • Baltimore City: Edmondson High School – 501 N. Athol Avenue
    • Baltimore County: Martin’s West – 6817 Dogwood Road
    • Howard County: Howard County Fairgrounds – 2210 Fairgrounds Road
  • Vote Centers will be open on April 28th from 7am – 8pm
  • Ballot marking devices will be available for voters with disabilities
  • Each jurisdiction will have at least one secure vote drop box which will be available on election day. Locations will be finalized by April 20th
  • Both the Special Election on April 28 th and the June 2 nd Primary will be primarily Vote By Mail, with limited in-person options.
  • Despite the critical public health dangers of COVID-19, elections can be conducted in a safe and secure manner through Vote By Mail

33 States – Including Maryland – allow any eligible voter to request an absentee ballot and vote by mail without needing to provide a reason. The April and June Elections are simply a rapid expansion of that program.

Check your Registration

  • To register or to check the status of your registration can be done on the State Board of Elections website: www.elections.Maryland.gov
  • Registering to vote or requesting an absentee ballot will require a state ID
  • Same Day registration will be available at vote centers, however these voters will likely be required to fill out a provisional ballot.

Important Dates

  • April 21 – Last day to request a ballot to be mailed
  • Ballots sent by USPS will include postage-paid return envelopes
  • April 24 – Deadline to register to vote and request ballot be e-mailed
  • E-mailed ballots will need to be printed and mailed. Voter will be required to pay their own postage (2 stamps).
  • April 28 – Ballots must be postmarked by this date or cast in person
  • May 6 – Results expected to be announced on or before this date.

Troubleshooting

  • If you have not received a ballot
  • If you have general questions or problems on election day
    • 1-866-OUR-VOTE: national election hotline
    • 410-844-4859: Baltimore Votes election day hotline

Benefits of Vote By Mail

  • Election Security
    • Paper Records of every vote in case of a recount
    • Few instances of fraud. Oregon voters have sent in over 100 million ballots since 2000, and only about a dozen people have been caught and prosecuted for election fraud, none of it organized or consequential
  • Voter Education
    • Voters have time to sit with ballots and do their research
    • This is especially important for voters with lower literacy levels or those whose first language is not English

 

Celebrate Earth Today

By Laura Wood, Development Director

Like us, we hope you’re enjoying, exploring, and taking refuge in Maryland’s great outdoors during this unprecedented time. Let’s all celebrate our natural environment today, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

Today is such a reminder of how important it is that we protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land on which we live. 

We are watchdogs – guardians of our environment – protecting Maryland’s natural resources not only for us, but for our children and future generations.

With your support, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters will work to ensure pro-conservation leaders are elected, and then hold them accountable through our scorecard and policy advocacy.

Only by transforming our political system and electing environmental champions will we create the opportunity to take the bold action needed on climate change.

Celebrate the 50th Earth Day and donate $50 to Maryland League of Conservation Voters now.

Together, we can raise the political voice that is needed to protect Maryland’s environment for the future.

Stay well and healthy,

Laura Wood, Development Director

P.S. Interested in a tax deduction? Make your gift to the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund here.Even if you don’t itemize on your taxes, thanks to the COVID-19 Relief Bill, your contribution could be tax-deductible up to $300 (consult your tax advisor for more information).

 

2020 Legislative Wrap Up

By Kim Coble, Executive Director

This year’s post-session wrap-up is coming three weeks before it normally would, due to these unprecedented times.  What is normally a recap of what bills did or didn’t pass, this year we need to look at things through a slightly fuzzier lens: what passed, what didn’t pass due to legislative inaction, and what was abruptly discarded due to a public health crisis.

At the time the session was curtailed, Maryland LCV and the environmental community were on track to have a successful legislative session, with strong, ambitious legislation passing in the sectors of transportation, energy, resiliency, water, and agriculture.

Unfortunately, as the coronavirus required us to socially distance ourselves, it also meant many of those bills ended up on the figurative cutting room floor. We are still proud of the progress we made, which sets us up for future success. The groundwork we laid on key issues is essential as we face the global crisis of climate change.

There were literally dozens of bold, visionary bills presented this session, most of which were not passed. Here are some of the highlights:

To see the full legislative summary, go here.

Oysters: One of the clearest victories of the year was to further protect our oysters. The veto of last year’s bill – creating an oyster fisheries management program – was overridden. A corrective bill to fix the dates complicated by the veto’s delay passed both chambers unanimously.

  • HB720-19/SB830-19 (Barve/Elfreth)Natural Resources – Fishery Management Plans – Oysters
  • HB911/SB808 (Gilchrist/Elfreth)Natural Resources – Fishery Management Plans – Oysters

Resiliency: In the face of a public health emergency, the necessity of preparing for emergencies brought on by climate change came into sharper relief.  A bill that gives counties the bonding authority for resiliency projects passed, as did one that allows the Bay Restoration Fund to be used to support similar efforts under limited circumstances.

  • HB78/SB172 (Watson/Hester)Bay Restoration Fund-Authorized Uses
  • HB539/SB457 (Watson/Elfreth)Local Governments – Resilience Authorities – Authorization

Pesticides: After a pitched battle, the General Assembly passed a phase-out ban of Chlorpyrifos – a dangerous pesticide connected to negative health impacts in children.

  • HB229/SB300 (Stein/Lam)Pesticides – Use of Chlorpyrifos – Prohibition

Several bills were blocked by negative votes, departmental opposition, or deliberate legislative inaction:

  • HB432/SB423 (Korman/Zucker)Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act – This bill would have mandated that all future purchases in the state’s transit bus fleets be for electric vehicles.  It passed the House and the Budget and Tax Committee in the Senate, but an abstention in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee gave it an untimely unfavorable vote.
  • HB98/SB168 (Davis/Kelley)Electricity – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Qualifying Biomass: This bill would have removed “black liquor” from the resources receiving subsidies as a clean energy resource as part of Renewable Portfolio Standard. This bill received an unfavorable vote in the Senate Finance Committee.

Transportation: A number of important bills were introduced that would have made considerable progress in our transportation sector by adequately funding existing public transportation systems, and transitioning the entire fleet of state vehicles and buses, as well as private vehicles, to electric. Of these, the bill to adequately fund public transit came the closest to making it through both chambers, passing on a party line vote in the House of Delegates but not receiving a vote in the Senate:

  • HB368/SB424 (Lierman/Zucker):  Transit Safety and Investment Act: Passed house

Energy: Maryland has made great strides in recent years to transform our energy sector from polluting fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy.  The urgency of the climate crisis inspired dozens of bills to address the energy production and use sector.  The three bills that made progress before the abrupt end to session promoted architectural changes to state-owned buildings to reduce energy consumption (and protect birds), required the Public Service Commission to consider climate impacts when approving projects, and updating our state emission reductions goals while offering tangible steps to reach those goals. Each of these received votes in one chamber, but failed to advance in the second due to time-restrictions.

  • HB192/SB299 (Hill/Guzzone-Lam) – Maryland Sustainable Buildings Act: Passed house
  • HB531/SB656 (Charkoudian/Kramer) – Utility Regulation-Consideration of Climate and Labor: Passed senate
  • HB1425/SB926 (Stein/Pinsky) – Climate Solutions Act of 2020:  Passed both senate committees

Resiliency: While we work to lessen the effects of climate change, our state also must move to protect our communities and environment from the crises that we are facing right now. A suite of bills worked to confront these concerns, including one creating a State Resilience Office at the Emergency Management Service and another that created an ombudsman in the Attorney General’s office to facilitate environmental enforcement and transparency of data.

  • HB614/SB460 (Lierman/Elfreth) – Environmental Accountability and Transparency Act: Passed senate
  • SB721 (Hester) – Emergency Management – Chief Resilience Officer – Appointment and Duties: Passed senate

Water: While the oyster legislation was a strong victory for Maryland’s waterways, other bills that would have addressed the health of our waters failed to make it over the finish line, despite a strong start. One, that would have created better systems of licensing for septic system inspectors who are on the front line of preventing septic run-off into our waterways, failed to reach the priority level to move to the floor in the last days.  The other would have banned plastic bags at check-out throughout the state, which moved to the senate floor on the last day of the abbreviated session and failed to make it through second reader.

  • SB254 (Young) – On-site Sewage Disposal Systems – Inspection – Licensing: Passed senate
  • HB209/SB313 (Lierman/Augustine) Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act: Passed house

Thanks to your online advocacy (over 6,000 emails to legislators!), calls to your legislators (almost 250 patch-thru calls!), in person lobby visits, and attending rallies in Annapolis we were able to make the progress we did make. The work you do is essential to protecting our air, land, water, and communities. 

Advancing strong environmental legislation is essential as we face the global crisis of climate change. As the environmental watchdog in Maryland, we will be keeping a close watch over the special session planned for May and we plan to release a 2020 Environmental Scorecard in the coming months.

Thank you for being a conservation voter,

Kim Coble, Maryland LCV
Executive Director

The full legislative summary is here.

Stay connected with us while practicing social distancing:

  

Long-time Environmental Champions join Maryland LCV

By Ed Hatcher, Board Chair

Nothing is more important than protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land on which we live, and these issues are even more urgent because of the climate crisis and now the coronavirus outbreak.

The public health crisis has made the Maryland LCV team more determined than ever to advance our mission of keeping elected officials responsive and accountable to each and every one of us.

That’s why I am thrilled to announce our two new board members Stuart Clarke and Steve Lafferty.

Stuart and Steve are long-time environmental champions well suited to advance our mission of accountability during these challenging times. They will also be important players as we work to make Maryland a national leader in what can be done at the state level to combat climate change.

Stuart is vice president of strategic initiatives for University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES). Steve is a former Maryland State delegate and now Baltimore County’s chief sustainability officer.

We are thrilled to welcome these two long-time environmental champions onto our board. Maryland LCV is working to make Maryland a national leader in demonstrating what can be done at the state level to combat climate change. Stuart and Steve will be important players in our efforts.

Stuart Clarke

 

STUART CLARKE

Before joining UMCES, Clarke served as the executive director of the Town Creek Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation dedicated to a sustainable environment. He has also acted as co-chair of the Maryland Climate Commission,  and as a trustee for Greenpeace USA.

Stuart earned a graduate degree in political science from Yale University. He and his family reside on the Eastern Shore.

Hon. Steve Lafferty

STEVE LAFFERTY

Steve served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2007 to 2019, where he was a leader on issues related to the environment and land use. A longtime resident of the Towson area, he has previously served as the Howard County deputy director of planning and zoning, and as director of special projects for the Howard County executive.

Lafferty earned a master of arts degree from Bowling Green State University, and a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Together with you, Maryland LCV’s staff and board of directors are working to ensure a healthy future for all our communities, neighborhoods, and families.

Here’s to more good work to protect Maryland’s environment,

Ed

Ed Hatcher, Maryland LCV Board Chair
PS: At Maryland LCV we care deeply about our staff, supporters, and fellow humans across the country. That’s why we are putting in place all the precautionary measures we can. For the immediate future, Maryland LCV has suspended all activities that would require people to come together in the same room. All staff are teleworking, all meetings will be via video conference and all events are cancelled.
By |2020-03-31T19:31:59-04:00March 31st, 2020|Categories: Blog, Successes|Tags: , , , |0 Comments