Almost End of Session Report

As of April 5, we have had some wins or near wins and some losses in our legislative priorities.

Under Making Democracy Work, HB 356 for a Redistricting Commission received an unfavorable report as did HB 1022 which would have established standards for Congressional districts. However, HB 532 the Constitutional Amendment to allow registration and voting on Election Day did pass both houses. It will be on the ballot on November 6. The Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA), SB 1048, which provides for automatic voter registration or updating when people apply at certain state agencies, has passed both houses but has not been signed by the Governor.

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Maryland Reform Groups Rally at Supreme Court Ahead of Redistricting Hearing

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: March 28th, 2018


Maryland Reform Groups Rally at Supreme Court Ahead of Redistricting Hearing

The League of Women Voters Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, and Represent Maryland Call on the Court to Tame the Gerrymander


This morning, a coalition of organizations including Common Cause Maryland, the League of Women Voters Maryland, and Represent Maryland gathered with activists on the Supreme Court steps to draw attention to the Court’s hearing of Benisek v. Lamone.  The case, one of many cases before federal courts this year related to redistricting, challenges Maryland’s 2012 map that advocates argue was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

“Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” said Cristi Demnowiz, of Represent Maryland, “But with Maryland being one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation, that’s not the case.”

 

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MD Senate and House Pass Strong Voter Registrations Reforms Senate passes Automatic Voter Registration and House passes Election Day Registration

March 16, 2018 - Today, the Maryland State Senate passed SB1048, the Secure and Accessible Registration Act, a form of Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) with a vote of 32-12. It now moves on to the House.

“In conjunction, these bills work to streamline our voter registration process, so more Marylanders can exercise their right to vote,” explained Senator Will Smith, the lead sponsor of SB1048 and a cosponsor of Election Day Registration.

Last week the House passed HB532, Election Day Registration, with a vote of 91-47. In order to establish Election Day Registration, the General Assembly needs to amend the Maryland constitution. Once passed by the Senate, it will be up to voters to authorize the amendment at the ballot in November.

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LWVMD’s Focus on Juvenile Rehabilitation is an Evidence-Based Solution

“How could a judge turn you into something that you’re not?” was the question that Bryan Stevenson asked himself. In his widely acclaimed Ted Talk, “We Need to Talk About an Injustice”, Stevenson recounts his consternation and exhaustion as he stands before his fourteen year old client, clearly a child, and wonders at the “magic power” the judge has used to turn this child into an adult in his courtroom. Stevenson goes on to describe how, in an effort to grab some of that “magic power” for himself, he files a motion to try his “poor 14 year old black male client like a privileged, white, 75 year old corporate executive.”

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Common Cause Maryland, League of Women Voters of Maryland Support Spreading Democracy & Oppose Spreading Misleading Information on International Election Observers

February 16, 2018 - The League of Women Voters of Maryland and Common Cause Maryland were pleased to testify in favor of SB 190 Election Law - International Election Observers. International observers have been visiting polling places in the United States to learn about our election processes for decades. They come through programs sponsored by organizations such as the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This is considered a valuable democracy-building practice.

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LWVMD Supports Dedicated Funding for Metro

Fund It, Fix It
A coalition of nonprofits supporting dedicated funding for Metro
January 18, 2018

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LWVMD Supports the U.S. Clean Power Plan

On August 3, 2015, EPA announced the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to strengthen the move toward cleaner and lower-polluting energy by establishing standards for power plants and customized goals for states to cut carbon pollution. A Fact Sheet, Clean Power Plan, is still available from the previous EPA website.

In October 2017, Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced repeal of the CleanEPA Logo Power Plan, a key program to reduce carbon emissions from coal fired power plants and to help meet the U.S. goals under the Paris Climate Agreement.

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Priority Legislation Report

From General Priorities to Specific Legislation

Now that we have established our general legislative priorities, we are gearing up to support specific legislation. Here are just a few examples.

Election Day Registration (EDR) legislation is a Constitutional Amendment authorizing the General Assembly to put in place procedures that would allow voters to register to vote on Election Day in the same way they can during early voting. During the 2016 elections, nearly 20,000 Marylanders registered to vote or updated their registrations. Passing the legislation in this session would allow a vote on the amendment in the November 2018 General Election.

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Environmental Coalition Identifies Priorities for 2018 General Assembly

CCEEnvironmental organizations in The Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) will support four topics for potential legislation in the 2018 Maryland General Assembly. LWVMD 2018 Priorities for “Protecting the Environment” are mitigating climate change, increasing the use of clean renewable energy, and ensuring safe water and clean waterways. We’ll be joining efforts to advance the CCE priority topics. Contact Betsy Singer, LWVMD Environment Chair if you would like to participate.

Forest Conservation

According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), “The Forest Conservation Act is not currently living up to its primary objectives of minimizing forest loss and conserving the state’s best forests when it comes to intact, fully forested parcels proposed for development.” CBF finds that the Act should be updated by prioritizing protection of contiguous forests that provide intact forest ecosystems and are very limited in urban and suburban communities. Replanting formulas would be adjusted in order to lessen overall deforestation and existing mitigation systems, such as forest banking, will be improved.

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Protecting Marylanders' Right to Vote

Lawmakers, Everyone Votes MD Coalition Endorse Policies to Expand, Protect Voting Rights


Press Release: December 5, 2017

Annapolis, Md. – Everyone Votes MD, a coalition of good government, civil rights, and grassroots activists, joined lawmakers on Tuesday in support of bills to protect and expand access to voting in Maryland.

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