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    TESTIMONY FOR SB0190

    Firearms – Right to Purchase, Possess, and Carry – Use of Medical Cannabis

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Hough 

    Committee: Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB0190 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. It is a top priority of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members to legalize Marijuana and protect the rights of those who choose to smoke it.  That is why our organization strongly supports SB0190.  

    Our current law that prohibits users of medical cannabis from their second amendment rights is nothing short of unconstitutional and discriminatory. By prohibiting individuals from purchasing, possessing, and carrying a firearm solely because they are prescribed medical cannabis puts our residents into a horrible dilemma.  A dilemma where they must choose whether or not they will keep their second amendment rights or take medicine prescribed to them by a doctor to treat whatever health issues they might be facing.  When in reality they shouldn’t have to choose at all.  

    It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

     

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  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0285

    Workgroup on Statewide Vehicle Crash Data Collection and Reporting

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Lewis 

    Committee: Environment and Transportation

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB0285 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. It is a top priority of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members to improve transportation safety in our state.  HB0285 is a common-sense bill that would help achieve this crucial goal that can save lives.   

    Establishing a workgroup on statewide vehicle crash data collection and reporting is the first major step to creating a safer Maryland in terms of transportation.  This bill sets up the proper outlines for the workgroup to have the ability to effectively examine the processes used to collect and report statewide vehicle crash data for injuries and fatalities.  HB0285 would also allow the state to determine the most effective manner for the State to begin to collect, disaggregate, and report the data by race and ethnicity filling a major need in order to craft effective policy recommendations. 

    It is through these outlines that the workgroup will be able to make effective policy recommendations to address major issues on or before the December 1, 2021 deadline this bill sets.  

    It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

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  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0155

    County Boards and Public and Nonpublic Prekindergarten Programs and Schools - Discrimination - Prohibition

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins

    Committee: Ways and Means 

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Dr. Nicole Hollywood, LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB155 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. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus recognizes that there are insufficient protections for, and inequities in the treatment of, LGBTQIA+ learners enrolled in Maryland schools. The result of these injustices contributes to a climate that is unsupportive, and even often hostile, to LGBTQIA+ youth. Research conducted on LGBTQIA+ youth in schools has found that an unsupportive educational climate contributes to lower academic performance, lower GPA, increased absences, increased likelihood of school dropout, and less likelihood of attending an institution of higher education.

    HB155 would codify anti-discrimination protections for all students, pre-k through 12 who are enrolled in our public schools and in any other schools receiving public funding.  It also prohibits retaliation against a student or guardian who files a discrimination complaint, establishes a remedy process to resolve discriminatory action, and requires schools and school Boards to develop written policies for students and employees regarding civil rights protections.  Ultimately, this legislation seeks to codify existing MSDE guidance and prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

    HB155 is a major step forward to ensuring the civil rights of LGBTQIA+ youth enrolled in Maryland’s schools.

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

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  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0001

    Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Funding

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Adrienne Jones 

    Committee: Appropriations 

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Dr. Nicole Hollywood, LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB1 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. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus recognizes the significance that HBCU’s play in Maryland, and in our country. Founded during a time of hostility and forced segregation, for over 100 years Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been unique American institutions predicated on providing educational opportunities to students many of whom originate from historically underserved communities. While they account for only 3% of public and not-for-profit private institutions receiving federal student aid, they enroll 10% of African American college students nationwide, produce 17% of the bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans, 24% of the degrees earned by African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math, and are the top producers of African American Ph.Ds. Serving as critical access points to post-secondary education for many Black and first-generation students, the preponderance of research has found HBCUs to provide deeply supportive educational environments that are unparalleled elsewhere with Black graduates of HBCUs more likely than Black graduates of majority serving institutions to be thriving. 

    More than a decade ago, four Maryland HBCU’s, including one on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, joined together in a lawsuit to remedy longstanding racial disparities and funding inequities. U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that Maryland had maintained a dual and segregated education system and had grossly underfunded HBCUs for decades.

    HB1 will send a strong message to the people of Maryland that the State values its Historically Black College’s and Universities and is committed to ensuring their future by establishing a new unit to assist in evaluating proposals for new programs and substantial modifications of existing programs, creating an HBCU reserve fund, and dedicating $577,000,000 in the State budget in fiscal years 2023 through 2032 towards the settlement.


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

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  • TESTIMONY FOR SB 71

    TESTIMONY FOR SB 71

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Sydnor

    Committee: Senate Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:   Sam Harvey

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB 71 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 that aspires to deliver perfect justice, as elusive a pursuit as that may seem. I write to you in the hope that you’ll support SB 71 this session.

    Men and women in law enforcement are subjected to extreme stress in the line of duty, which has a profound impact on them, psychologically and physiologically. This is widely recognized – indeed, law enforcement training especially takes it into account. The ability to continue to perform their duties while experiencing a cascade of instinctual physical responses – elevated heart rate, increased respiration, surging adrenaline – is impressive. 


    However, while law enforcement training hardens officers, to make them capable of performing under these extremes, they are not superhuman. These conditions have an impact on their own health, both physical and mental. And, while concerned for their well-being, I also have grave concerns regarding their ability not only to successfully perform their duties at 100 percent under these conditions, but even their ability to 100 percent accurately report what happened, after the heat of the moment.

    It’s not a justice to anyone, neither the law enforcement officers nor the citizens they have interacted with, to ask those officers to recall what just happened, as the adrenaline washes away and the sweat dries on their skin. Neither party may be positioned to answer accurately, never mind objectively.

    This is the great benefit of the body-worn camera, now a tiny and inexpensive tech. Safe to say, we all want to progress toward a more perfect administration of justice. The body cam is a great tool for capturing from an objective viewpoint everything that went right, but also everything that went wrong. We can take those lessons, double down on the good – and make improvements where improvements appear necessary.

    The idea that anyone, no matter how extensively vetted, trained, and oath-taken they may be – that their testimony should receive preferential treatment, is problematic on its face. We with serious reservation allow it, in the name of social order, but it creates a very imperfect dynamic.

    Law enforcement officers enjoy the aegis of rebuttable presumption (the presumption that their account is true unless someone comes forward to contest it and prove otherwise). However, to in the strongest terms encourage law enforcement toward the better way now available to us, SB 71 would create a special case in which citizens, rather than law enforcement officers, are granted a rebuttable presumption themselves. 

    If officers can’t show some very good reason why they haven’t availed themselves of the body cam tech, now the civilian parties involved gain the rebuttable presumption that officers’ accounts (as they perceived them) of the unrecorded events should and will be inadmissible. 

    I believe this places the greatest emphasis on the diligent and rigorous use of the body cam, and this seems entirely appropriate to me. I encourage you to support SB 71.

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



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