2019 Legislative Priorities Due 10/31

First of all, I want to emphasize our continuing need for Report from State Circle reporters to cover Election Process and Transparency, subjects especially important for Making Democracy Work. If you or someone you know would be able and willing to cover these issues, please let me know. We could also use a reporter for gun control.

Second, a shout of thanks to the eight Leagues who responded with their local choices for LWVMD Legislative Priorities. With all the pre-election activities going on, I really appreciate the effort to respond on priorities. I will summarize what we have so far. The LWVMD Board will make its final decision on November 5. This gives other local Leagues a chance to respond by October 31.

Making Democracy Work. Redistricting Reform won 8 votes and Improved Voter Access and Security of the Election Process got 7 votes. Other topics suggested were residency requirements for Congress, campaign finance reform, public financing of campaigns at all levels, maintaining and expanding early voting, ranked choice voting, open primaries, prison and felon voting and ethics in government.

Protecting the Environment. There were 6 votes for Mitigating climate change, 4 for Increasing the Use of Clean Renewable Energy and 5 for Ensuring Safe Water and Clean Waterways for All. Environmental issues with 1 or 2 votes each were Coastal Resiliency, Banning Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, Banning New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, Garbage Gobblers to clean waterways, Improving Storm Water Management by Land Use and Growth Management, Forest Conservation and Banning Styrofoam and Plastic.

Promoting Social and Economic Justice. Our current priorities of Providing adequate Public Transportation (5), Proving Adequate and Equitable Pre-K to 12 Public Education (5), Reforming corrections and Sentencing (4) and Maintaining the Safety Net for Vulnerable Populations (6) were well supported. In the Social and Economic Justice area, other suggestions were Opposition to Vouchers, Increased Teachers’ Salaries, Immigration [effect of 287(g) and extending safety net to non-citizens], affordable housing and strengthening gun control laws.

Four Leagues would like to add Access to Health Care to our Social and Economic Justice priorities. Specific concerns were decline in number of hospital beds, rural health care delivery, mental health and adequate response to the substance abuse crisis.

As usual, Leagues are impatient to act on issues for which we still need formal consensus: compulsory civics education in the K-12 curriculum, bail reform and death with dignity. Access to and cost of higher education and prescription drug costs were suggested for study—good topics to bring up for program planning.

Lois Hybl
LWVMD 1st Vice President

lhybl@lwvmd.org