Environmental 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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
The League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA) is made up of the state Leagues of Virginia and Maryland, the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, the local Maryland Leagues of Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s; and the local Virginia Leagues of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Falls Church. In the Fall of 2016 the LWVNCA Board voted to adopt Metro Funding as an advocacy priority...
Across the nation redistricting reform has won the spotlight this year among good government advocates, editorial teams, many important political figures, and even SCOTUS has gotten in on the action. LWVMD has been harnessing this energy to push for reform of the Maryland redistricting process in 2018 - regardless of what the rest of the nation may do. LWVMD believes in, and has been working for, a government that best represents ALL Marylanders, and that can only be achieved when election districts are drawn with the interests of the people are the primary consideration.
However, as it stands, Maryland’s redistricting process allows, and has employed for many years, tactics to favor or disfavor political parties and political incumbents - a.k.a. Gerrymandering.
LWVMD is joined in this effort by other good government advocates that form the coalition Tame the Gerrymander. The coalition work we’ve done this past year has been focused on dramatically increasing the awareness of the need to end practice of partisan gerrymandering in Maryland THIS YEAR.
Press Release from Working Matters Coalition of which LWVMD is a member -> originally posted here http://www.earnedsickdaysmd.org/?page_id=1515
The Healthy Working Families Act (HB1) would expand access to earned paid sick days to more than 700,000 Maryland families.
Annapolis, Maryland (October 23rd, 2017) – Working families from across Maryland and delegates from every corner of the state continue to build the strong momentum needed to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Healthy Working Families Act – HB1. As the override vote approaches a coalition of 160 organizations, Working Matters, is grateful for the 87 delegates who voted to pass HB1 and now have pledged their support to override the Governor’s veto – enough votes to secure an override in the House.Read more
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
Maryland made progress this summer through the program review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative effort by nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to develop a regional power plant emissions cap-and-trade program. Revenues from the program help support the EmPOWER Maryland program for energy conservation and efficiency.Read more
The KIRWAN COMMISSION (the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education) is studying the recommendations of consultants for revising the current education funding formula and also studying other ideas for improving the quality of PreK to 12 public education. The commission has heard from experts in career education, how teachers are deployed in other countries, how to deal with schools with concentrated poverty, etc. The commission will finalize recommendations in December. Then the state legislature will decide whether or not they want to pass a new law. Tell them what you think at one of their last 3 hearings. This opportunity only happens once every 15 to 20 years.Read more
In 2015, shortly after the Governor appointed an 11-member Commission to study redistricting and make recommendations for improving the way it’s done in Maryland, the Commissioners traveled around the state to hear from stakeholders. Listening sessions took place in Towson, Hagerstown, Waldorf, Easton and Laurel. During legislative hearings, the Commission was criticized for not seeking input from more politically and ethnically diverse population centers. Therefore, the Commission has scheduled two more hearings for the fall....Read more
Gerrymander Meander 2: What were they th(dr)inking when they drew these lines? Crowds rally for redistricting reform
Timonium – Scores of people came out Sunday for a unique protest against gerrymandering in Maryland. The event, the “Gerrymander Meander 2,” visited four different restaurants in Baltimore County. Although the entire route was just 13 miles long from south to north, each stop was located in a different Congressional district – and participants who visited every stop actually crossed district lines seven times.
“Three years ago, full of energy and optimism, the Tame the Gerrymander Coalition hosted the Gerrymander Meander: a relay-run around District 3, highlighting one of Maryland’s particularly strange districts,” explained Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “Today’s event enabled us to experience our gerrymander in a different way by showing how contorted our districts are, slicing their way across our counties and through our neighborhoods.”
The event also commemorated the birthday of Elbridge Gerry, the namesake of the gerrymander. Each stop had food specials, contests and guest speakers on redistricting reform.
Lieutenant Governor Rutherford spoke at the first event. “Our districts are so carved up that they are denying people a voice in the process,” he said. “It is time to stop. Other states have taken action – what are we waiting for?”
Other guest speakers included Senator Jim Brochin (D-42) and Walter Olson, co-chair of the Governor’s Commission on Redistricting Reform. “Maryland is an example of a problem the whole country is going to have to deal with,” said Mr. Olson.
Members of the Tame the Gerrymander coalition urged the attendees at each stop to get engaged.
“This meander might only cover 13 miles,” said Ashley Oleson, Administrative Director of the League of Women Voters of Maryland, “but we are in the final stretch of a marathon. For the past three years we have been building momentum for redistricting reform. Now we have to carry this fight over the finish line.”
The event route started at Le Bistro du Village in Baltimore City, then went to Tark’s Grill in Timonium before visiting Roma’s Café in Cockeysville and ending at The Greene Turtle in Hunt Valley. Between 35 and 45 people joined at each location. Attendees hailed from across the state, including Frederick, Baltimore County and City, Harford, Cecil, Howard, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s. There were participants from nearly every Congressional district in attendance.
“Redistricting reform is critical to having the business of the people, instead of the business of the political establishment, being taken care of in Congress and in State Houses. That is why No Labels Maryland is proud to be a member of the coalition and a co-host of this event” said Steve Daubresse, No Labels Maryland lead organizer.
Organizers expressed their excitement with the turnout for the event. “Clearly, this is an issue that resonates with Marylanders. We can only hope that our elected officials are paying attention,” said Lu Pierson, one of the attendees.
The Tame the Gerrymander coalition will now focus on policy forums scheduled for the fall as they prepare for the 2018 legislative session.
Pictures of the event can be found online here
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Tame the Gerrymander is a joint effort led by the League of Women Voters of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, No Labels Maryland, and No More Gerrymandering in Maryland.
On Tuesday we will celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the document that launched the United States of America. As we celebrate our freedom in an atmosphere of bitter political divisions, we would do well to remember the Declaration’s assertion that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Nothing is more sacred in America’s political creed than the citizen’s right to vote. LWV is dedicated to protecting that right, and to informing citizens about candidates and issues so they can exercise that right effectively.
It is because of our commitment to the rights of voters LWV came out in solidarity with states who refused to comply with this intrusive and overly broad request last week by the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for the voter registration records of all voters.Read more