The MCDCC’s Voter Engagement Committee has released its summary of recommendations gleaned from two January listening sessions that were convened to capture lessons learned during the 2018 Election in preparation for 2020. You can read or download the report here.


The Maryland Department of Transportation is holding four public workshops in Montgomery County on their proposals to construct toll roads on I-270 and I-495 (the so-called “Lexus Lanes”). They are recommending against several “screened alternatives” backed by concerned constituents.
This is one of a series of public workshops on their latest plans. Check the Citizens Against Beltway Expansion web site for more information on how you can make your concerns known. You can read public testimony from “Don’t Widen 270” here.

The four MDOT workshops in Montgomery County are:

  • Saturday April 13 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda
  • Wednesday April 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring
  • Thursday April 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Thomas Wootton High School in Rockville
  • Thursday May 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Seneca Valley High School

Each workshop will have two formal presentations by MDOT officials and opportunities to ask questions before or after the presentations in group discussions led by MDOT representatives.

See the DTMG Calendar for more information on locations.

View all the presentations and takeaways from the Transportation Forum DTMG hosted on March 9. Over 100 people attended.  (more…)

Success! The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (HB1413 / SB1030) passed both chambers! Now urge the Governor to sign it!!

  • Establishing principles of The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future intended to transform Maryland’s early childhood, primary, and secondary education system to the levels of high-performing systems around the world
  • Establishing a Concentration of Poverty School Grant Program
  • Extending by 1 year, to 2021, the requirement for the State to provide a supplemental grant to eligible county boards
  • Establishing the Teacher Collaborative Grant Program
  • Requiring certain performance evaluations of local school systems; etc.

These two key transportation bills help protect the environment and our communities by strengthening planning provisions.

What You Can Do

Contact all the Committee Chairs (regardless of district) and all the Montgomery County members of the responsible committees–whether or not they are your delegate or senator–and ask them to move these bill(s) forward to a vote. The deadline is March 18.

NOTE: The House Appropriations Committee has not held a hearing yet on HB0695, so you would ask them to do that immediately. You can call all your delegates and ask them to push for a hearing on HB0695

NOTE: House Appropriations has not held a hearing yet on HB0695, so you would ask them to do that immediately.

Toll Roads, Highways, and Bridges – County Government Consent Requirement (HB0102 SB0442)

This bill extends the requirement for consent from a majority of affected counties before the state can build toll roads or toll bridges to all counties in Maryland.

Talking Points

  • Maryland’s 9 Eastern Shore counties have had this right for many years.
  • Will ensure fair and equitable practices across the entire state.
  • Will ensure that input from affected communities is heard; increase transparency in decisions about the need for toll roads.

Status:

Committee Chairs & MoCo Members

Transportation Climate Accountability Act of 2019 (HB0695 SB0788)

This bill would require the state to estimate the environmental impact of public-private partnership (P3) road projects before moving forward with the final design and selection of contractors for the projects. 

Talking Points

  • Large road projects will have serious consequences for the environment, including increased greenhouse gas emissions, additional noise, and negative effects on wetlands, parks, and bordering communities
  • Makes sense to estimate the potential environmental impacts of the road project and what might be required to mitigate it before project proceeds .
  • Will help Maryland meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.

Status

What You Need to Know to Have an Impact

Understand the Legislative Process – Bills are introduced in pairs with one version (and number) for each chamber. When initially introduced to the House or Senate (first reading) they are assigned to one or more committees. The committees gather information, hold hearings, and make a recommendation (favorable, favorable with amendment(s), or unfavorable) before they are presented for a “floor” vote by the entire chamber.

Here is a script you might want to use. It’s a phone script, but you can tailor it for emails by taking out the testing-support questions and simply asking the Delegate/Senator to vote for the bill

Sample Call or Email Script


Hi, my name is _______________. I am a member of DoTheMostGood MoCo and a constituent of [Delegate/Senator] _______________. I live at ________________.

I would like the Delegate/Senator to support HB0000/SB0000, [name of bill] which addresses [intent or 1 sentence summary of the bill].

This bill is important to me because [your personal statement or talking points above)]

Will Delegate/Senator ___________ support this bill? [Yes/No/Undecided]

[Yes response]: Please thank Delegate/Senator __________ for [his][her] support.

[No response]: Please let Delegate/Senator __________ know that I support this bill.

[Undecided response]: I hopeDelegate/Senator __________ will seriously consider this bill and give it [his][her]support.

Thank you for your time.



DTMG supported six environmental bills and we have two success stories – see them highlighted below.

Clean Energy Jobs (CEJA) (HB1158 and SB0516) – CEJA will increase Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to buy a certain percentage of electricity each year from renewable sources. The current RPS target of 25% by 2020 will be increased to 50% by 2030, increasing the percentage of renewable energy that must come from solar and wind, and and will require the Legislature to develop a path to 100% clean energy by 2040. CEJA also includes a significant increase in the requirement for solar energy produced in Maryland from the 2.5% currently required by 2020 to 14.5% by 2030. See a recent supporting opinion in Maryland Matters and Senator Van Hollen’s endorsement.

Status:

Success! The Clean Energy Jobs Bill passed both chambers. Now it’s up to the Governor to sign it.
Action: Urge the Governor to sign!

Talking Points:

  • Maryland is losing solar and wind energy jobs to other states with more aggressive clean energy goals. Passing CEJA will reverse that and bring thousands of good jobs to Maryland.
  • Each year of waiting for passage costs the State potential revenue. For example, the federal tax credit for solar installation will decline from 30% this year to 26% next year. If the CEJA is passed in 2020 rather than in 2019, Maryland stands to lose $240 million in potential revenue from federal tax credits. 
  • CEJA will transform Maryland’s economy into a clean energy economy.
  • CEJA will position Maryland as a clean energy industry leader, making it attractive for businesses to invest in Maryland’s workers and its future.
  • CEJA will attract substantial investment in solar and wind energy jobs and job training.
  • CEJA includes substantial investment in solar and wind energy jobs and job training.  Funds from the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund are earmarked for training programs in installing solar panels and wind turbines and set asides for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses in the clean energy field.
  • CEJA will result in 20,000 new well paying jobs in clean energy technology.
  • More than 500 faith, community, labor, business, climate and environmental groups from across Maryland have endorsed the CEJA.

Read DTMG testimony here.

Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Prohibition (HB109, SB0285) – DTMG joined with our friends at the Sierra Club to support this bill to ban disposable single-use food containers made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), aka styrofoam, beginning in 2020.  Plastic pollution is overwhelming our oceans and EPS food containers are a major contributor.

Status: Success! The bill passed with amendments.
Action: Urge the Governor to sign, or at least NOT veto!

Talking Points:

  • At the current rate, within 30 years there will likely be more plastic than fish in the Earth’s seas. 
  • EPS is nearly indestructible and not recyclable. It breaks into tiny pieces, absorbs toxic chemicals, and is eaten by marine life, injuring and killing them.
  • Several counties and cities in Maryland, including Montgomery, have banned EPS food containers. The ban should be made statewide.

Water Quality Certifications (Pipeline and Water Protection Act of 2019) (HB0669 and SB0387) – This bill will protect water quality in Maryland by requiring the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to conduct a water quality review and certification before issuing permits for natural gas pipelines in Maryland. 

Status:

Unfortunately, this bill received an unfavorable report by the House Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation committees.

Public Utilities – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Tier 1 Sources (HB0961 and SB0548) AKA “No Cash for Trash” –This bill will remove taxpayer incentives for burning trash to make electricity in Maryland.  Trash would no longer be included in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and incinerators that burn trash would no longer receive Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

Status:

Sadly, this bill died in committees: House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Read DTMG testimony here.

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Natural Resources – State and Local Forest Conservation Funds (HB0120 and SB0203) – This bill strengthens the requirement for plans to mitigate deforestation and use of state and local forest conservation funds.

Status:

The Senate approved this bill, but it did not make it out of the House Environment and Transportation Committee.

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Pesticides – Use of Chlorpyrifos – Prohibition (HB0275 and SB0270) – This bill will ban use of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in Maryland afterDecember 31, 2020.

Status:

The House approved this bill, but it died in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.


DTMG supported two transportation bills that would have helped protect the environment and our communities by strengthening planning provisions. Sadly, neither made it out of committee.

Take Action: Please call or write your senator or delegates, and if they are on one of these committees, be extra sure to contact them. You might also contact a committee chair, even if you are not in their district. If you can add something about why these bills are important to you, please do so. But remember, even a brief phone call is far superior to NO phone call! Scroll down for tips on how to call or write.

Toll Roads, Highways, and Bridges – County Government Consent Requirement (HB0102 and SB0442) – This bill will expand to all counties in Maryland the need for consent from a majority of affected counties before the state can build toll roads or toll bridges.

Status:

This bill did not receive a report by either the House Environment and Transportation Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.

Talking Points:

  • Maryland’s 9 Eastern Shore counties have had this right for many years.
  • This bill will ensure fair and equitable practices across the entire state.
  • This bill will ensure that input from affected communities is heard and increase transparency in decisions about the need for toll roads.
  • Read DTMG Testimony Here.

Transportation Climate Accountability Act of 2019 (HB0695SB0788– This bill will require the state to estimate the environmental impact of public-private partnership (P3) road projects before moving forward with the final design and selection of contractors for the projects. 

Status:

This bill did not make it our of committee in either chamber: House Environment and Transportation Committee and the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Talking Points:

  • Large road projects, such as the proposed $11 billion Managed Lanes Study for I-270 and I-495 in Maryland, will have serious consequences for the environment, including increased greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution, additional noise, and negative effects on wetlands, parks, and communities bordering the road.
  • Rather than waiting until the project is far down the road, with a final design and contractor selected, it makes sense to estimate upfront potential environmental impacts during construction, operation and maintenance of the road project and what might be required to mitigate them.
  • This bill will help Maryland meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By 40%.
  • Read DTMG Testimony Here.

What You Need To Know To Have An Impact

Understand the Legislative Process – Bills are introduced in pairs with one version (and number) for each chamber. When initially introduced to the House or Senate (first reading) they are assigned to one or more committees. The committees gather information, hold hearings, and make a recommendation (favorable, favorable with amendment(s), or unfavorable) before they are presented for a “floor” vote by the entire chamber.

Each of the Environment Bills was referred to two or three of the following committees:

FIND YOUR DELEGATES AND SENATOR HERE.

Here is a script you might want to use. It’s a phone script, but you can tailor it for emails by taking out the support questions and simply asking the Delegate/Senator for their support.

Hi, My name is _____________.  I am a member of DoTheMostGood MoCo and a constituent of (Delegate/Senator _______ ).  I live at ______________________.

I would like the Delegate/Senator to support HB0000/SB0000, [name of bill] addresses [intent or 1 sentence summary of the bill]

This bill is important to me because [your personal statement]

Will Delegate/Senator ___________ support this bill? [Yes/No/Undecided response.]

  • [Yes response]: Please thank Delegate/Senator __________ for [his][her] support.
  • [No response]: Please letDelegate/Senator __________ know that I support this bill.
  • [Undecided response]: I hopeDelegate/Senator __________ will seriously consider this bill and give it [his][her]support.

Thank you for your time.

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