Announcing LWVMD’s 2020 Legislative Priorities

The LWVMD Board of Directors at the October meeting set the legislative priorities to be pursued during the upcoming 2020 General Assembly. The priorities were set after reviewing the current year priorities and receiving input from local Leagues. 2020's Legislative Priorities are:

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Supreme Court Places Responsibility on the States to Rein in Partisan Gerrymandering

Press Release – June 27, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, MD – In a ruling today the Supreme Court of the United States put the power to fix gerrymandering in the hands of the states, and the League of Women Voters of Maryland will be leading the charge to ensure Maryland enacts a redistricting process that will lead to fair maps in the 2021 redistricting cycle. In a 5-4 decision, in Benisek v. Lamone out of Maryland’s 6th Congressional district, alongside two consolidated cases out of North Carolina, Rucho v. League of Women Voters and Rucho v. Common Cause, the Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not justiciable by the courts.

“As a resident of Maryland’s 6th district, it is a disappointment that the court has opted not to re-enfranchise voters here, but as a leader in the state I will work tirelessly to ensure our state legislators put an end to this undemocratic practice in 2020,” co-president of the state League, Richard Willson declared.

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Reflections on the Rally to End Gerrymandering

 

On March 26th, 2019 the League of Women Voters and Common Cause hosted a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court. All around you could see countless national and local League members, all proudly wielding #FAIRMAPS signs, and all eager to have their voices heard. The energy levels were high and our voices rang loud with one clear message: Let’s end gerrymandering. 
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2019 Legislative Review

In 2019 LWVMD volunteer advocates submitted testimony on nearly 100 bills and their hard work and your support has helped Maryland to achieve some very important goals and avoid some dangerous pitfalls. LWVMD’s is grateful to be able to work together with strong coalition groups and partners on many issues in pursuing progress for Marylanders. Read about our legislative wins for 2019 below and learn about the battles LWVMD will continue to fight in 2020.

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LWVMD Joins Civil Society Amicus Brief for SCOTUS Gerrymandering Case

Press Release - March 8, 2019

ANNAPOLIS - Today the League of Women Voters of Maryland joined as amici on a brief filed with the United States Supreme Court challenging the practice of drawing district lines to favor a political party as unconstitutional and stressing the importance of representative districts as a measure of a healthy democracy.

“For far too long we have seen politicians of both parties draw election maps that protect themselves rather than reflect the interests of the voters,” said Elaine Apter, Co-President of LWVMD. “We are encouraged that later this month the Supreme Court will review the impact partisan gerrymandering has on the voters in Maryland, who have been drawn into districts that limit their voice. It is time to end this practice and create fair maps that put the power back in the hands of the American voters.”

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Maryland Gerrymandering and the 6th District Emergency Commission


Maryland’s 6th Congressional District is prime example of the partisan gerrymandering that occurred in Maryland after the 2010 census, the Emergency Commission tasked with redrawing it hopes its work will help Maryland find its way to enacting a more transparent, independent and multi-partisan redistricting process.


District 6 (Phil Ateto) Speaking at Benisk rally at SCOTUS in March 2018


 

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Kirwan Commission: Preliminary Recommendations

See Media Links Below for Updated Info on the work of the Commission


While the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission) still has meetings scheduled for December 18 and 19 to finalize recommendations, we have a general idea about their priorities from the four working groups discussed at the December 6 meeting: (1) early childhood education; (2) high-quality teachers and leaders; (3) college and career readiness pathways; and (4) more resources for at-risk students. A fifth policy area for governance and accountability is being evaluated by the full commission.

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Governor Appoints LWVMD Administrator to Emergency Commission on Sixth District Gerrymandering

PRESS RELEASE: November 26, 2018

Annapolis – This afternoon the Governor announced an executive order to establish an Emergency Commission on Sixth District Gerrymandering to fulfill the order issued on November 7 by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The Governor has appointed three members of this nine-member multi-partisan   commission today, including Ashley Oleson, LWVMD Administrative Director (Unaffiliated), Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute (R), and Judge Alexander Williams (D). Oleson stated, “I’m excited to get to work immediately to comply with the court’s order, because there is no time to waste in ensuring District 6 has a district that fairly represents their interests in 2020.”

The six remaining members of the Commission will be selected from a public application process. Two members will be chosen from both the Democratic and Republican parties, and two members will be from neither of those parties. The application process is open now at https://governor.maryland.gov/free-and-fair/. Applications are due by December 10, 2018.

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LWVMD Applauds Significant Redistricting Reform Progress in Maryland and Nationally

Press Release - November 13, 2018

The League of Women Voters of Maryland and member Leagues across the state are celebrating the U.S. District Court’s November 7th decision to require our state to redraw the boundaries of the 6th Congressional District. The Court’s decision follows one day after voters in Michigan, Colorado and Missouri voted to get rid of Gerrymandered boundaries by margins of 61%, 71% and 62% respectively.  

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LWVMD Adopts Positions on 2018 Ballot Initiatives

At its September 6 meeting the LWVMD Board voted to take a position in favor of a ‘Yes’ vote on ballot Question 1 and a 'Yes' vote on Question 2.

Question 1:

The proposed Constitutional amendment would specify that revenue from gambling would be used to supplement rather than supplant other state funding for public education. The amendment phases in specified amounts from gambling revenues that the Governor would be required to include in the state budget for public education (increasing from $125 million in fiscal year 2020 to $375 million in 2022, and an amount equal to 100% of commercial gaming revenue in all following years.

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