In these last few weeks of winter, things are starting to heat up. Thanks to new Democratic leadership, the U.S. House of Representatives has taken action to investigate campaign violations and presidential overreach, to advance voting rights, and to strengthen background checks for gun purchases. That's why elections matter, even during the midterms, and why we continue to encourage your activism and engagement.
The Maryland General Assembly legislative session is in full swing in Annapolis. With only five weeks left, now is when your voice can really make a difference on key policy issues. See how to take action below.
Join Us This Saturday for Our Transportation Policy Forum
- Aruna Miller, former D15 state delegate and MoCo transportation engineer
- MoCo Councilmember Tom Hucker, Chairman of the Transportation and Environment Committee
- Maryland Delegate Vaughn Stewart (D19), Environment & Transportation Committee
- Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth
- Susan Swift, Executive Director, Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance
- Neil Harris, Gaithersburg City Councilman
The Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 1158/SB 0516). A hearing on SB 0516 is scheduled for March 5 (you can read our testimony here), and a hearing on HB 1158 is scheduled for March 8.
- Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Eligible Sources (No Cash for Trash): and (HB 0961/SB 0548). This bill removes taxpayer incentives for burning trash to make electricity in Maryland. There is a hearing for SB 0548 March 5. Read testimony for HB 0961 here and for SB 0584 here.
- Environment - Water Quality Certifications (Pipeline and Water Protection Act of 2019) (HB 0669/SB 0387). A hearing on HB 0669 is scheduled for March 7.
- Pesticides - Use of Chlorpyrifos - Prohibition (HB 0275/SB 0270) would ban the use of the toxic pesticide Chlorpyrifos. Read our testimony here.
- Environment - Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products - Prohibition (HB 0009/SB 0285) would ban the sale of Styrofoam take-out food packaging in all of Maryland starting in January 2020. This bill has passed the House, so it's time to call your Senators to support SB 0285.
- Natural Resources - State and Local Forest Conservation Funds (HB 0120/SB 0234) strengthens the requirement for plans to mitigate deforestation and use of state and local forest conservation funds.
DTMG also supports three proposed amendments to the Forest Conservation Act that are now in front of the Maryland General Assembly if you sign a petition from the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake:
- Task Force Bill (HB 0735/SB 0729)
- Fee in Lieu Adjustment (HB 0272/SB 0234)
- Redefine "No Net Loss" of Forests (HB 0120/SB 0203)
The long-anticipated Kirwan Commission bills came before the Rules Committee this week:
The Blueprint for Maryland's Future (HB 1413/SB 1300) would transform Maryland's early childhood, primary and secondary education system to the levels of high-performing systems around the world. A hearing for SB 1300 is scheduled for Wednesday March 6. Check our website for updates and actions.
March For Our Schools Next Week In Annapolis
Kirwan Commission Releases 2019 Interim Report
Listen to Town Hall on School Diversity and Boundaries in MCPS
WAMU 88.5's Kojo Nnamdi held a Kojo Roadshow Town Hall on School Diversity in Montgomery County on February 26 at the Civic Building in Silver Spring. The discussion centered on Montgomery County Public Schools' plans to embark upon a boundary study on facility use and school diversity to adjust to ongoing growth and demographic change within the county. The Kojo Nnamdi Show aired the recorded discussion on Thursday February 28. Listen here.
Stop the Clear Cutting of Prime Forest to Build Solar Farm
Send comments by March 13 to the Maryland Department of Environment and ask them to deny a plan by Georgetown University and MD Solar 1 to clear-cut a high-value forest in Charles County, Md., so they can build a solar farm, as doing so thwarts efforts to strengthen the Forest Conservation Act and puts the local environment at risk. Ask MDE to find better places for a solar farm. Send comments to MDE at Jeffery.Thompson@maryland.gov. And if you're a Georgetown alum, consider contacting the university administration directly.
Help Refugee/Asylum Seekers with Rides or Donations
DTMG continues our work with Takoma Park Mobilization's immigration subcommittee and the Montgomery County chapter of the ACLU to assist refugees vetted as asylum seekers who are being sent to our area. Train to be a greeter for arrivals at the Silver Spring bus station or volunteer to drive refugees to Baltimore for check-ins with ICE; contact Roxanne Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct Support for Immigrants has also set up an online donation site here to collect money for legal fees, burner phones, Lyft rides, etc.
The group is also collecting items for welcome bags for newly-arriving refugees, with donations of items including:
- Socks, gloves, hats, coats, towels, tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and personal care and hygiene items such as deodorant, combs, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
Woman's Democratic Club to Shine Light on Women's Health Disparities
Join WDC on Wednesday March 6 for a discussion forum on Health Disparities and Other Inequities Among Montgomery County Women, held at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Find more info and registration here.
County to Host Forums on Education Budget
Attend Community Conversation on Raciy Equity and Social Justice
Join Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Nancy Navarro Wednesday March 13 at 7:30 p.m. for a conversation on racial equity and social justice at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Find more info and register here.
Canvass for Special State Senate Election in Suburban Pittsburgh
Join DC-area activists and 31st Street Swing Left for a weekend of voter canvassing Saturday March 16 and Sunday March 17 in western Pennsylvania. Support Pam Iovino, a strong Democrat running for a state senate seat in an April 2nd special election. Carpooling and accommodations with volunteers available. Sign up here.
Commission on Aging to Hold Public Forum on Diversity
Interested in the challenges facing older adults who identify with various racial, ethnic or LGBTQ communities? Join the Commission on Aging for a public forum on Tuesday March 19 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building at 1 Veterans Place in Silver Spring. County Executive Marc Elrich will share opening remarks on his vision for a more inclusive county, followed by a panel discussion, expert speakers, and break-out sessions. To register, email Tremayne.email@example.com or call 240-777-1262.
Woman's Democratic Club to Host Trone at Luncheon
Join WDC and Congressman David Trone (MD-6) at a luncheon on Wednesday March 20 at noon at Normandie Farm in Potomac. Register and purchase tickets here by March 15.
Maryland DOT to Hold Workshops on Road Widening Plans
Earlier this month, the Maryland Department of Transportation signaled plans to move forward with plans for constructing toll roads on I-270 and I-495 (the so-called "Lexus Lanes") and recommending against several "screened alternatives" backed by concerned constituents. M-DOT announced a series of public workshops on its latest plans, including three in Montgomery County: