Welcome to the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
Our Next Meeting.
An Open Letter from our Chair.
We are preparing for the legislative session which begins mid-January 2019.
Legislative Agenda 2019
Priority Legislation Issues
- Medicare for All/Single Payer Health Care
- A Minimum Wage increase to $15 an HR
- Debt Free Higher Education for 4-year institutions.
- Trust Act
- Community Healthy Air Act
Other Supported Legislation
- Economic Issues
- Worker Rights
- Collective bargaining for community college workers
- Statewide collective bargaining for local government workers
- Overtime for low-income salaried employees
- College Debt forgiveness
- Oppose the construction of the new Redskins stadium at Oxon Cove Park.
- Create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.
Criminal Justice Reform
- Ending the Bail system in Maryland
- Elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing
- Revamp of State k-12 school funding formula, including new school reforms
- Juvenile Justice Reform
- Legalization of Marijuana
- Ban the use of Nooses and Swastika to threaten or intimidate (HB-04)
- “U-Visa” bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for victims of crime who cooperate with local law enforcement.
- Removing Winder Sign from Wicomico County House (local issue Wicomico County)
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Support the construction of the Wind Projects off the coast of Ocean City
- Oppose the Eastern Shore Natural Gas Pipeline plan.
- Increase Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 50% by 2030
- Green Amendment that will set forth the inalienable right to a clean environment
- Community Solar Legislation to expand the process of having citizens invest in solar farms
- Ban single-use plastics
- Support Rank Choice Voting initiatives on the Lower Shore
- Small donor public financed election on the Lower Shore
- Constitutional Amendment Repealing Citizens United
- Non-Partisan district reform
- Ban untraceable 3D guns
In an interview this week with 47 ABC, Senator Mary Beth Carozza said raising the minimum wage would be harmful for job creation on the Shore. After carefully listening to her interview and viewing her and her colleague's arguments on social media, here are the flaws with her argument against the Fight For 15:
Myth 1: Raising the minimum wage will just result in all minimum wage jobs becoming automated.
Automation is going to happen whether the minimum wage is 15 or there is no minimum wage. The labor market is constantly changing due to improvements in technology, which is a good thing. While it is true some jobs are going to be replaced by automation, eventually, new jobs will spring up from the advancement in technology. For example, fixing the machines or programming.
Myth 2: Raising the wage will just result in higher prices.
A $15/hour minimum is unlikely to result in higher prices because most businesses directly affected by it are in intense competition for consumers and will take the raise out of profits rather than raise their prices. When prices go up people substitute cheaper versions of the product to save money. For example, if Pepsi goes up in price and Coke doesn’t, many people will switch to drinking Coke to save money.
Myth 3: Raising the wage would result in massive job loss.
They say this every time there is a proposed wage increase or workers right bill. The truth is A $15/hour minimum won’t result in major job losses because it would put money in the pockets of millions of low-wage workers who will spend it, thereby giving working families and the overall economy a boost and creating jobs. But because the higher minimum will also attract more workers into the job market, employers will have more choice of who to hire, and thereby have more reliable employees which results in lower turnover costs and higher productivity.
In 1996 when the minimum wage was raised, business predicted millions of job losses. The result was we had more job gains over the next four years than in any comparable period in American history.
The truth of the matter is that a $15 / hour minimum wage will boost Maryland’s economy by $2.6 billion annually and help business owners have more customers and lower turnover in employees, both key ingredients in helping businesses thrive.
January 9th marked the beginning of another legislative session here in Maryland and while a lot of focus is on healthcare, the economy, and the environment, there are bills currently being proposed in both Montgomery County and Baltimore City which would allow county governments the opportunity to implement rank choice voting. Rank choice voting (aka an Instant Runoff Elections) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.
There are five reasons we should push our Delegation to put in a similar bill to allow the counties of the Lower Eastern Shore to do the same:
Restores Majority Rule. Ranked choice voting ensures that candidates with the most votes and broadest support win, so voters get what they want. A candidate who is opposed by a majority of voters can never win a ranked-choice voting election.
Eliminates Vote Splitting. Ranked choice voting gives you the freedom to vote for the candidate you like the best without worrying that you will help to elect the candidate you like the least. You never have to vote for the "lesser of two evils" when there is another candidate you really like.
More Voice for Voters. Your voice matters more with a ranked ballot. You never feel like your vote is “wasted.” If your favorite candidate can't win, your vote counts for the candidate you ranked second.
More Choice for Voters. Ranked choice voting levels the playing field for all candidates and encourages candidates to take their case directly to you with a focus on the issues.
- Reduces Incentives for Negative Campaigning. Candidates are encouraged to seek second choice rankings from voters whose favorite candidate is somebody else. You are less likely to rank a candidate who has issued personal attacks against your favorite candidate as your second choice.
If you liked this article and want to know how you can help bring rank choice voting to the Lower Shore, you can click the google document below and send that letter to your county council member requesting our state delegation take action. You can also contact your delegate and ask them to take initiative on the issue as well.
Look up your state officials here:
Look up Wicomico County Council Members:
Look up Worcester County Commissioners:
Look up Somerset County Commissioners:
Look up Dorchester County Council Members:
- Restores Majority Rule. Ranked choice voting ensures that candidates with the most votes and broadest support win, so voters get what they want. A candidate who is opposed by a majority of voters can never win a ranked-choice voting election.
1. I know we all want to get rid of Donald Trump. I do as well. But the first debate isn’t till June or July of next year, and the primary in Maryland isn’t until April 28, 2020. There are several big events coming up before that we need to focus on.
2. 2020 is being used as a way to divide people and we have already seen it. 2019 is a time where we need to be united and focused on the Legislative session that starts in 14 days and the local elections that will be taking place across the Shore and state through 2019. (These are important races happening right in your town/city and are often overlooked.)
3. Our Delegation on the Lower Shore is banking on you arguing on 2020 and not focusing on what they are doing/ what is going on in Annapolis. Honestly, our delegation has been able to vote poorly for a very long time because the community isn’t keeping up with what they are doing. Also, a majority of our delegation won’t support a lot of things we want to do unless we are organizing the community to pressure them to do it.
4. Let’s be honest, we aren’t ready for 2020 here on the Lower Shore right now. 2018 was a start where we were able to gain some local seats. But, every statewide race beside Sample-Hughes’ District was a loss. We need to use 2019 to build not argue or we could very much see the same thing happen in 2020 and 2022.
5. A lot of people just want to see Donald Trump lose in 2020 right now. Ripping the other primary field apart right now will turn more people off towards your preferred candidate than get them to jump on board.
There is plenty of time during the primary to convince people to join your side, and you can't do that if you have already pushed them away in early 2019.
Chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
When I finished my time at a small community college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there was only one school to which I applied. That school was the University Of Maryland because it was one of the premier institutions of higher education in the country. However, that wasn’t the only reason I chose Maryland. The second reason I wanted to attend Maryland was because it embraced forward thinking and inclusive practices. I was disgusted and appalled to find out I may have been wrong when I discovered our University had contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better know as ICE.
ICE was created in 2003 during the height of the post-9/11 panic which lead the federal government to pass reactionary laws, which undermined the constitutional rights and increased domestic surveillance of mainly minority communities. ICE itself was one of these reactionary new policies as it was created and based on the idea that immigrants were a threat to our homeland security. This assertion was proven false by several studies and reports from agencies and research centers across the nation and globe. However, since their creation, ICE has a track record of undermining constitutional rights and violating the human rights and dignity of both undocumented immigrants and United States citizens. Extremist politicians and ICE try to label undocumented immigrants as violent criminals in order to create fear, but the majority of undocumented immigrants are products of our broken immigration system. In fact, they are valuable and important contributors to their communities and the American way of life. An overwhelming majority of these undocumented immigrants have families, jobs, seek or have received education, pay taxes, and contribute to American society everyday.
The University of Maryland College Park should immediately end its contracts with ICE and embrace the Fearless Idea of fighting for a better immigration system that allows undocumented individuals to come out of the shadows and become full citizens of our great country.
Jared Schablein is is a sophomore government and politics major. He can be reached at email@example.com
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