March 18, 2020
Contact: Dannielle Lipinski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Top Environmental Advocacy Group touts legislative victories with truncated legislative session
Annapolis, MD – For the first time since the Civil War, the Maryland General Assembly has ended ahead of schedule in order to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. Alongside crucial legislation to assist our state through this crisis, our elected leaders worked hard to protect our air, land, water, and communities.
“We applaud the members and staff of the Maryland General Assembly and the Department of General Services for their diligence, leadership and commitment during extraordinary circumstances. They exemplified that when we work together, we can achieve great things. Marylanders are fortunate our leaders accomplished top priority actions while also protecting public health.” Kim Coble, Executive Director of Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
A few shining examples of their efforts include passage of an essential oyster bill and banning the dangerous pesticide, chlorpyrifos. The Oyster Fisheries Management Act creates a new collaborative process and opportunities to improve oyster fishery management. The ban on chlorpyrifos is one of the first in the nation to take effect. The legislators also worked on a suite of bills that assist with community resiliency around the climate crisis. Lawmakers passed these in the final hours of session.
And some bills simply suffered from time running out and the legislative session ending early due to the coronavirus pandemic. A number of our priority bills were passed out of one chamber but there wasn’t enough time for the second chamber to move the bills. These organizational priorities were the Transit Safety and Investment Act to fully fund MTA, the Maryland Sustainable Buildings Act, and the Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act, which would have prohibited the use of single-use bags.
While some bills were not able to cross the finish line because of lack of time in an abbreviated session, several were blocked by negative votes or deliberate inaction including removing trash incineration from the Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Clean Coal Community Transition Act, and a bill to electrify the MTA Bus Fleet.
Advancing strong environmental legislation is essential as we face the global crisis of climate change. Maryland LCV will be keeping a close watch over the special session planned for May and has plans to release a 2020 Environmental Scorecard in the coming months.
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Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.