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Board of Directors
Frederick Hoover, Chair Kevin Rackstraw, Treasurer Chuck Porcari, Political Chair Marcia Verploegen Lewis,
April 13, 2010 Dear Conservation Voter: A few days before the Maryland General Assembly adjourned, Maryland LCV was ready to declare this session a washout. The phrase “Dead Zone” was used a number of times to describe the Senate, as a place where otherwise good and healthy bills go to die. Budget items to restore the Chesapeake Bay, preserve open spaces, and fund energy efficiency programs all seemed headed for rejection. Priority legislation to create long-term plans for our transportation and energy needs, fund critical stormwater management projects, and preserve Maryland’s treasured oyster population, were stuck in Senate committees. The environmental community responded with a barrage of letters, phone calls and visits to those Senators, who were contributing to the Dead Zone. Our message was clear — that in good times and in bad, sound environmental policy is sound fiscal policy. In the final tally, the General Assembly was strong on the budget, including $22.5 million for the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Costal Bays Trust Fund and preserving most of the funding for Program Open Space (with the help of a strong last minute push by Governor O’Malley and Speaker Busch.) With the help of Senate President Miller, legislators passed a bill ensuring that Maryland’s transportation decisions improve our quality of life. They also, passed the Governor’s bill to accelerate Maryland’s solar energy production, though the House significantly weakened his original proposal. Unfortunately, neither chamber passed bills to create a funding stream for much needed stormwater management projects or tried to stop the diversion of energy efficiency funds, both issues that we will be addressing in 2011. You will find more details here on these and other important environmental bills from the 2010 legislative session. Thank you for all your work this session, your emails, phone calls, visits, and attendance at the environmental summit helped us pass laws to protect our air land and water. Stay tuned for our 2010 General Assembly Scorecard in June! And remember, 2010 is an important election year and Maryland LCV will be there working to elect pro-conservation candidates—we look forward to it and hope you will join us!
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin Jennifer Bevan-Dangel Anthony Caligiuri George Chmael Jay Falstad J. Elizabeth Garraway, PhD Bob Gallagher Peter Hamm Terri Shuck
Cindy Schwartz, Executive Director Jen Brock-Cancellieri Kimberly Dissen Pete Johnson Danielle Lipinski Anne Fitzgerald Pittman Catherine Stirling
Nine State Circle Suite 202 Annapolis, MD 21401 410-280-9855 410-280-9857 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.mdlcv.org
Cindy Schwartz Executive Director
2010 GENERAL ASSEMBLY WINNERS & LOSERS
Green Budget Clean Water Good Government Sustainable Communities Transportation Clean Energy Toxics Other Important Bills
At midnight on April 12, the 2010 session of the Maryland General Assembly adjourned. With your help, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters worked to keep the environment front and center for lawmakers. Here are some highlights and lowlights of the 2010 legislative session:
The recession continued to dominate the legislative session in Annapolis, but in the end legislators chose to follow the Governor’s lead and invest in the environment to protect jobs today and create jobs tomorrow. Unfortunately, there was one notable exception - the legislature extended the two-year diversion of energy efficiency program funds from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund.
• • •
Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund - $22.5 million Program Open Space - preserved funding
Energy Efficiency – $30 million diversion Agency Enforcement - protected
University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic— rejected funding restrictions
SB 760/ HB 1155 Sens. Pugh & Harrington, Del. Lafferty
In a time of scarce transportation dollars, we needed to make sure we are investing state funds wisely. SB 760/ HB 1155 established smart and fair growth criteria for funding transportation projects. This makes it easier for the state to choose proposals that ensure our transportation and land use decisions work together, providing more travel choices to Maryland citizens, especially for those who do not own cars. It will also reduce environmental damage from transportation projects and improve access to jobs. HB 1155 passed in the final hours of the legislative session.
Stormwater Utility Fee
SB 686/ HB 999 Sen. Raskin, Del. Hucker and Cardin
In order to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, each city and county throughout the region needs funding to invest in its community to reduce the polluted runoff poisoning our waterways. This legislation would have given these local jurisdictions a dedicated funding source, by assessing a surcharge on impervious surfaces to clean up their rivers and the Bay, create green jobs, and leverage additional dollars from the state and federal government for watershed protection and restoration. These bills died in committee in both the House and Senate.
SB 910/ HB 522 Sen. Lenett and Del. Manno
Maryland has committed to ambitious goals to achieve clean, affordable, and reliable energy that will create thousands of new jobs in Maryland, but we need a statewide plan to ensure that we achieve those goals. SB 910 and HB 522, if passed, would have required the creation of a state energy plan that is consistent with all state environmental laws and all new proposals would be reviewed with respect to that state plan. Both bills died in committee.
SB 285 /HB 475 Governor O’Malley
As part of his legislative agenda, Governor O’Malley introduced SB 285/ HB 475 which continues the Historic Tax Credit and better coordinates key revitalization programs such as the Maryland Main Street Program and Community Legacy. This key smart growth victory passed the House and on Sine Die unanimously passed the Senate.
SB 213/ HB 33 Sen. Frosh, Del. Hubbard and SB 556 Sen. Conway
The legislature overwhelmingly passed two bills, SB 213/HB 33 and SB 556 on toxics. The first banned Bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxic chemical found in baby bottles; the other banned the use of Decabrominated Diphenyl Ether (Deca-BDE), a toxic flame retardant found in the plastic casings of televisions.
SB 407/ HB 344, HB 107, HB 1031
We supported several good government bills this session as open transparent government is critical to Maryland LCV’s mission. SB 407/ HB 344 required all standing House and Senate committee votes be posted and accessible on the Maryland General Assembly website and enabled more public participation in General Assembly and Board of Public Works hearings. HB 107 required that certain votes on a bill or amendment in a standing committee be made available on the Maryland General Assembly website. Finally, HB 1031 required the State Open Meetings Law Compliance Board to develop and offer an online training program on the requirements of the law to employees, officers, and members of the public. All of these bills died in committee.
Other Important Bills
Arsenic in Chicken Feed: SB 859/HB 953 (Sen. Pinsky, Del. Hucker) would have prohibited a person from using, selling, or distributing poultry feed that contains roxarsone or any other additive that contains arsenic. These bills were held up in a Senate and House committees. Bag Bill: SB 462/HB 351 (Sen. Raskin, Del. Carr) would have established a customer credit for using reusable bags and establish a fee on the use of disposable bags. These bills died in Senate and House committees. Bike Safety: SB 51/ HB 461, SB 624, HB 282 (Sen. Frosh, Del. Cardin, Sen. Raskin, and Del. Del PenaMelnyk) will require that cars safely pass at least three feet from bicyclists, permits bicyclists to ride on the shoulder, and ensures funding for bike lanes. Clean Energy Loans - SB 720/HB1014 (Sen. Middleton, Dels. Hecht and Waldstreicher) would have helped property owners afford clean energy projects. These bills were held up in a Senate and House committees Coal Ash: HB 1467/SB 653 (Sen. Lenett, Del. Stein) would have prohibited certain uses of coal ash, a byproduct of coal fired power plants, added stricter requirements to prevent its toxic dust from poisoning our waters. This bill died in a Senate committee. Energy Efficiency Televisions: SB 455/ HB 349 (Sen. Pinsky, Dels. Carr and Bronrott) would have established minimum efficiency standards for televisions sold in Maryland. This bill died in a House Committee. Energy Efficient Buildings: SB 713/ HB 827 (Sen. Lenett, Del. Hecht) would have required that all government and commercial building owners publicly disclose their building’s energy use. These bills died in Senate and House committees. Fertilizer and Pesticide Reporting: SB 359/HB 930 (Sen. Lenett, Del. Frush) would have mandated tracking and geographic mapping of fertilizer and pesticide use. This bill died in a Senate committee. Incinerator Regulation: SB 514/HB 1427 and SB 228 (Sens. Lenett, Mooney, Del. Hucker) would have established important criteria for the building, re-licensing, or re-permitting of any incinerator or waste-toenergy facility. These bills died in a Senate committee. This bill died in a Senate committee. Keep Farmers Farming: SB 396/HB 1571 (Sen. Middleton, Del. Conway) creates a pilot program that stretches out the estate taxes for up to six years, this will help prevent agricultural land being sold for development. Oysters: SB 342/HB 1191 (Sen. Frosh, Del. McIntosh) was introduced to complement the Governor's oyster initiative by curtailing oyster poaching. The Senate added a bad amendment that would prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from creating new oyster sanctuaries until 2011. This bill was held up in a House committee. Net Energy Metering: SB 355/ HB 801 (Sen. Pinsky, Del. McHale) will require utilities to pay customers back for surplus energy they create with renewable sources, creating a more robust market for energy generation. Solar Energy: SB 277/HB 471 (Governor O’Malley) this bill which will accelerate Maryland’s solar energy production, however the House significantly weakened the governor’s original proposal.
What can you do to help? Visit our website at www.mdlcv.org to:
Sign up for email news updates and information on how you can speak up to protect Maryland's air, water, and land. Make a gift to the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and help us keep score for the environment! Learn about upcoming events in your area. Volunteer with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and make a greater difference.
For more than 30 years, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters has been the independent political voice for the environment in our state. Maryland LCV is dedicated to making environmental protection and restoration a top priority for Maryland’s elected officials, appointed leaders, candidates and voters. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters advocates for sound conservation policies, works to get pro-environment candidates elected, and holds elected officials accountable for their votes and actions.
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June n ard i ec Scor th e
Nine State Circle Suite 202 Annapolis, MD 21401 410-80-9855 www.mdlcv.org email@example.com
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