Our 2021 Legislative Priorities

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Changing local policy is one of our best tools for lasting change. We hope you’ll join us in advocating for these important pieces of statewide legislation!

The 2021 General Assembly session will be conducted with COVID-19 precautions in place, which will include no in-person testimony or on-site lobbying, at least to start. The Senate and House committees will have processes for submitting written testimony prior to bill hearings, as well as sign-ups for oral testimony via video call. In the Senate, even the number of individuals who may testify will be limited. This year especially, writing and emailing your legislators will be one of the single best ways to share your interest in legislation.

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Our Top Priorities

Climate Solutions Now – House Bill583, Senate Bill 414
Sponsored by Senator Pinsky and Delegate Stein

Legislators, environmental organizations, and communities across Maryland are joining together to pass sweeping, and necessary, statewide legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reverse the damaging impacts of climate change, and transition away from polluting fossil fuels.  

The time to act is NOW! 

The Climate Solutions NOW Act will help reverse climate change by: 

    • Committing the state to aggressive, but necessary, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat and pollutants in our cities and towns, 
    • Mandating that a percentage of all future climate spending go to communities already overburdened by the impacts of climate change, like urban heat and flooding, and 
    • Prioritizing climate mitigation efforts including the planting of 5 million trees, with a minimum target for trees in our most impacted urban neighborhoods. 

As part of the Climate Solutions NOW Coalition, Blue Water Baltimore is joining the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (MD LCV), the Legislative Black Caucus, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and countless other Marylanders to rally support for SB 414 and HB 583 in February. We need your help!  

Let YOUR legislators know that you support Climate Solutions NOW! Here’s how: 

1) Reach out to your elected officials directly here: 

2) Join the Climate Solutions NOW Coalition for a Virtual Climate Rally and Action Week Kick-off to learn more about the bill and how to participate in the Climate Action Lobby Week Feb 22 – 25The Virtual Rally is scheduled for Monday, February 22 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm. You can also learn how to participate in Lobby meetings with your legislators, currently being scheduled for the week (mostly in the evenings) where you can speak directly with your Delegates and Senator! Share the Rally and invite your friends to join you! 

3) Share your own story on Why NOW is the time for real action on climate changeMD LCV is asking residents across the state to share their personal stories with legislators, friends, and family using social media, about how climate change is impacting their community. 

 

Statewide Plastic Bag BanHouse Bill 314, Senate Bill 223
Sponsored by Senator Augustine and Delegate Lierman

This bill would ban the use and distribution of plastic bags (less than 4 millimeters thick) as well as “compostable” plastic bags, and will apply to ALL retailers, providing for only a few exemptions for uses such as deli meat, produce, newspapers, dry cleaning and fresh flowers. Enactment of jurisdiction-specific plastic bag bans (including Baltimore City’s in 2020, now delayed temporarily) have created a patchwork of policies statewide. This bill would create continuity among jurisdictions and reduce plastic pollution statewide.

 

 

Also Supporting

Blue Water Baltimore will also support legislative initiatives spearheaded by other environmental organizations, including:

 

  • Maryland Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Rights – HB82/SB151

Everyone deserves the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. Everyone. Yet our laws do not currently protect this right. The Amendment would ensure that the right to a healthful environment would be enforceable, that all levels of government would be mandated to protect it, and that public and environmental health would remain a top priority regardless of administrative and political changes in leadership. It will also create a compelling legal impetus to pass additional environmental legislation that will protect our environment, economy, and public health.

 

  • Water Pollution Control – Intervention in Civil Actions – Rights and Authority – HB76/SB334

This bill ensures that Maryland citizens have the unconditional right to intervene and participate in Clean Water Act cases brought by the state, a concept that has been misinterpreted by our courts. Under this bill, citizens, cities, and counties can intervene in state court, leading to cleaner water through stronger enforcement and penalties. 

Sponsors: Senator Carter and Delegate Love.

 

  • Water Pollution – Stormwater Management Regulations and Watershed Implementation Plans – Review and Update – HB295

Due to the effects of global climate change, it’s raining and flooding more in Maryland. Despite this fact, regulators are using 15-years-outdated rainfall data in their permits and modelling.  This bill increases community resilience and mitigates urban and coastal flood impacts by adapting MD’s stormwater design standards and imposing climate-smart criteria on private-sector development to help the state meet existing climate pollution load requirements by 2025.

Sponsors: Delegates Love and Henson and Senators Elfreth, Hester and Pinsky

 

Transit Equity Recovery Package (2 bills) – While Blue Water Baltimore does not generally work on transportation issues, these bills are critically important for Baltimore’s residents and air and water quality.


  • Transit Safety and Investment Act
    HB 114 / SB 199 This is the reintroduction of a 2020 bill will broad support that mandates increased state funds from the Transportation Trust Fund for critical transit repairs, maintenance, and improvements over 10 years.
    Sponsors: Delegate Lierman and Senators McCray and Zucker
  • Zero-Emission Bus Transition ActHB 334 / SB 137 reintroduction of a 2020 bill that requires contracts for state-purchased budget, beginning in 2024, be for zero-emission vehicles, in order to completely transition the fleet by 2035.
    Sponsors: Delegate Korman and Senator Zucker

 

 

 

 

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