• What's New

    Updates from the legislative committee

    Recap of legislative committee activities:

    We started out the season with a two-meeting review of a substantial list of legislative items the LSPC and the Maryland Legislative Coalition had supported in the last session, and narrowed in on six items from that list that the committee would make top priorities. 

    One item, an idea for a bill that would help young people with disabilities transition into the workforce, never made it onto paper this session. In retrospect, we could have encouraged one of our representatives to pick up the ball on this one, or I guess we could have submitted draft legislation – not sure how that works - but we waited too long, and will have to revisit this next session. 

    The remaining five are 

    1.  Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education
    2.  Single Payer Healthcare
    3.  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO, moratorium on the Eastern Shore
    4.  End of Life Act
    5.  Correctional Facilities and Police Officers – Immigration status

     

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  • TESTIMONY FOR SB0228 Commission on Universal Health Care

    TESTIMONY FOR SB0228

                                                 Commission on Universal Health Care

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Pinsky 

    Committee: Finance 

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

     

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB0228 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. 

    Since our organization's creation the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members have been strong supporters of efforts to move our nation towards a Single- Payer Healthcare System that provides quality healthcare to all.  SB0228 would allow our state to lead the nation by giving us the opportunity to join the rest of the industrialized world by transitioning our current system to a Single Payer system in the most efficient and cost-effective manner to ensure all Marylanders have quality healthcare.  

    SB0228 would accomplish the first step by creating and funding a commission to collect the information needed to create a plan so that Maryland can join the rest of the industrialized world by implementing a Single Payer Healthcare System and ensuring that it provides quality healthcare to all Marylanders.  

    SB 0228 also allows us to become the nation’s leader when it comes to healthcare by showing us the way to innovate and lead in the same way that waryland did with the hospital system. This commission will also show the people of Maryland that their legislators are committed to lowering the costs for healthcare,  providing more coverage for things like mental health and dental, and ensuring that all Marylanders have health insurance. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

     

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  • TESTIMONY FOR SB1000 The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

    TESTIMONY FOR SB1000

    The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

    Bill Sponsor: President Ferguson

    Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Karen Smith, Communications Co-Chair of the LSPC and Somerset County Educator   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    In 2009, Maryland public schools were ranked #1 in the nation by three separate, independent studies. This ranking held true until 2013. Sadly, this is not the standard any longer. In 2019, Maryland’s schools were ranked 4th in the nation by Education Week.

     

    The Kirwan Commission and the Blueprint for Maryland’s future has become a hotly contested issue among legislators, educators, and taxpayers. Most would agree--if only in theory--that prioritizing education is necessary for the future of a healthy economy and quality of life of Marylanders. The aim of this very comprehensive bill is to increase funding for universal pre-K, special education, teacher training, concentration of poverty grants, and teacher salaries, to name only a few priorities of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

     

    While many of those who argue against the bill do so because they say the cost is too high, we at the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus would argue that the cost of not funding the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations is too high. Underprepared teachers cannot hope to prepare students fully. Teacher-education programs are not attracting students. Local universities such as UMES and Salisbury University have few students enrolled in teacher preparatory programs. And why, once certificated, would they choose to stay locally and earn less for doing the same job?

     

     

     

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  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0561 ELECTRIC INDUSTRY – COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY

    TESTIMONY FOR HB0561

    ELECTRIC INDUSTRY – COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Charkoudian

    Committee: Economic Matters

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:   

    Position: FAVORABLE

     

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB0561 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive Movement. 

    Caucus members consistently support legislation designed to protect, and improve, air and water quality, and legislation that recognizes the status quo for energy production no longer meets our needs – climate change is upon us. Inasmuch as HB 0561 promotes renewable energy, it satisfies these environmental priorities. The bill also shows potential for lowering energy costs for many customers, by giving county and local governments the ability to aggregate larger pools, and concomitantly negotiate for the same savings high demand (bulk) customers enjoy. 

    Evidence shows low-income households pursuing lower energy costs have taken a huge hit from bad actors in the third-party supply industry. HB 0561 can reverse that damage, and in doing so not only encourage but enable those same households to participate in supporting renewable energy sources. It may be there is an as yet unrecognized, deep, reservoir of interest in renewable energy whose light the practicalities of life have hitherto kept hidden under a bushel. 

    HB 0561 requires no subsidy, although it is certainly arguable that  aggregation would be worthy of subsidy for its economic justice benefits alone, not to mention its potential environmental benefits. However, the bill leaves these judgments entirely up to customers, with an opt-out provision. The caucus anticipates that a majority of customers will find county and local aggregation plans a good fit, both economically and with an eye toward stewardship of the Earth. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

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  • Call to Action in Wicomico County

    We at the LSPC strongly encourage you to take the same path as Mr. Ben Rayne has and contact the 3 county council members listed below in an effort to garner attention to accurate information regarding the legality of proposed actions, as well as to let your elected officials know exactly what the citizens of Wicomico County desire regarding the proposed restrictions on consumption of medical cannabis within our county. 

    Letters, emails, and phone calls are wonderful ways to let county council members know the wishes of the community they serve.

     

    Wicomico County Council

    125 N. Division Street, Room 301

    Salisbury MD 21801

    Dear Mr. Cannon, Mr. McCain, Mr. Davis:

    My name is Ben Rayne and I have lived in Wicomico County my entire life, save for a brief 6-month period during which I lived in Dorchester, after which I came bounding back to Wicomico.

    I am writing the three of you today in protest of Sheriff Lewis and SA Dykes proposal to increase the severity of punishment with regards to public use of cannabis. I myself am a registered patient with the MMCC and I can’t begin to tell you the life changing benefits of legal cannabis use for the treatment of certain medical conditions from which I have suffered from most of my life. I am bipolar, I have ADHD, I suffer from PTSD, I have a panic/anxiety disorder, and I am on the autism spectrum. In case you were unaware, these are not curable conditions, only treatable with therapy and medication. Medical cannabis has helped me overcome much of the anxiety of daily life that had left me unable to work after a series of traumatic moments in my life.

    But even if we forgo the usual anecdotes about how much good this plant is facilitating, we can find massive faults in the arguments put forth by Sheriff Lewis and SA Dykes. Their entire plan hinges upon something known as preemption. Preemption is a legal concept that sets forth the idea in strong State Government models, like The State of Maryland is set forth in its constitution, that when the State passes a law, that law is THE law of the land. No local laws may be made that supersede the State or Federal Government’s authority.

     

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