Weekly Wednesday Action Items: March 16, 2017
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Hello Resisters! Have you noticed that Trump is still president? We noticed that this morning. Let’s push up our sleeves and do a little more work.
ACTION ITEM #1: ATTEND the next meeting of Indivisible North Baltimore County on Sunday, March 26, 2:30 p.m., at the Towson Public Library. We will be focusing on the repeal/replace of the ACA (aka Obamacare) and the status of the proposed replacement (the AHCA). WE WILL BE WRITING LETTERS!!
Bring your laptop, or paper and pens, or some postcards.
Or, bring nothing but your own positive story about the ACA to tell.
Or, bring a friend who has a good story about the ACA to tell.
Sit and write your thoughts in a letter to your Member of Congress in this supportive, congenial setting… or sit and TELL someone who’s volunteered to write your story (we will call them scribes). Or sit and LISTEN to other folks’ stories so you have good information for the next person you meet who thinks repealing the ACA is a good idea.
The goal of this meeting is to have a pile of written correspondence to send to Congress that all of us generate together. And, we will have fun!
We will also HELP. Members will take a few minutes for an ACA Teach-In. A Teach-In is the presentation of a few quick and dirty facts on the ACA and how to be effective. For example, we will address how to identify misrepresented facts like “the ACA was rushed through Congress,” and “the ACA is in a death spiral” and what are effective stories to write (personal stories and hard data) and what are not (angry diatribes).
Come, learn, and write. Or, come, learn and tell (and a scribe will write). See you on Sunday, March 26, at 2:30 p.m. at the Towson Public Library!
(The next meetings will be equally action-centric. We have ideas like teach-ins on other subject matters, speakers from our legislators’ staffs, connecting with an immigrant community to welcome them and/or help them settle, positive protesting like holding pro-PP signs outside a clinic, preparing signage for the upcoming March for Science in D.C. on April 22, supporting a local Mosque. No more sitting around for INBC!)
ACTION ITEM #2: JOIN the Facebook group called Educate and Act. The page is a simple but brilliant concept: every piece of verifiable news is listed BY TOPIC. Need to brush up on what’s been happening in Immigration, or Education, or Trump’s Tweets? We have a topic for that! Going to meet your crotchety grandpa and want to be forearmed with information to thwart his Cro-Magnon stances on Health Care, the 2nd Amendment, or Disabilities? We have a topic for that!
Simply click on PHOTOS and then ALBUMS, then select the image that names the topic (there are pages of them, keep scrolling to the right), and voila, underneath you have a sequential timeline of every news item written in the NYT, Washington Post, Atlantic, Reuters, etc, on said topic.
ACTION ITEM #3: CALL or WRITE to Bobby Zirkin and James Brochin specifically (or whoever your MD legislator is in general) IN SUPPORT OF THE MARYLAND TRUST ACT.
The Trust Act (SB 835/HB 1362) is actually called the Maryland Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act. Google gets it confused with some legislation about family trusts…
Here is an action page on the bill here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-legislator-support-the-maryland-trust-act
Just enter your info and click “Start Writing” to use the simple letter tool.
Here is a 1-pager with talking points: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KG9PpBqQVXsAoS33EloSilwWy7wwj73zulZMennvPLc/edit
This bill would limit state and local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. It’s supported by CASA de Maryland (http://wearecasa.org ) and leaders of the Maryland Legislative Latino, Black and Asian and Pacific Islander Caucuses in Annapolis as essential to protecting immigrants in our state from the Trump administration’s attacks. We are in the middle of an ICE crackdown on immigrants across America, which is tearing families apart and ruining lives. In Maryland, our state lawmakers have an opportunity to act right now to help protect immigrant communities and preserve vital trust in local police, schools, courts and other services.
Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-11) and Sen. Jim Brochin (D-42) will likely cast the deciding votes in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, and the biggest hurdle to passing the bill is getting it out of this committee.
CASA asked us to organize people in these districts to call and write and express their support for the Trust Act. CASA said it’s important to support it as is, because there’s talk that they’re going to take out some parts of it and water it down.
Here’s a link (http://www.aclu-md.org/uploaded_files/0000/0576/2013.2_md_trust_act_two-pager.pdf) to a two pager from the ACLU.
ACTION ITEMS #4: All of the items below are ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONS and contain good information about each one. Please keep scrolling to read and act on those,
Item #1 (from last week): PHASE-OUT POLYSTYRENE TO-GO PACKAGING
Contact State Representatives to support SB186/HB229, titled “Environment – Polystyrene Food Service Products and Polystyrene Loose Fill Packaging – Prohibition on Sale.” Blue Water Baltimore’s Water Blog has the most up-to-date information on this important bill.
Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) packaging is the second most common form of litter in Baltimore and one of the most toxic forms of to-go packaging on the market. As one the largest pollutants in our local waterways and landfills, exposure to the chemicals in Styrofoam can lead to increased risk of cancer in humans and is toxic to aquatic wildlife.
Right now, the Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill (SB186/HB229) to phase out the use of polystyrene to-go packaging statewide. If the bill passes, food service businesses and institutions will no longer serve food in polystyrene foam packaging (cups, plates, clamshells) by January 2018.
Express your support for the expanded polystyrene phase-out. Click here to write a letter to your representatives today telling them to support SB186/HB229. (control+click if clicking doesn’t work)
Item #2: SIGN THE PETITION TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION TO APPROVE OFFSHORE WIND
Action: Sign the online petition at http://mdlcv.ngpvanhost.com/form/5760368475086325760
Background: Four years ago, the state passed the Offshore Wind Act, which put into place the building blocks for offshore wind development off Maryland’s coast. The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) must approve an offshore wind farm proposal. In a few weeks, the PSC will hold public hearings in Annapolis and on the Eastern Shore to hear testimony on the proposal.
Saturday, March 25, 2017 12pm in Berlin at Stephen Decatur Middle School Cafeteria, 9815 Seahawk Road, Berlin, MD 21811
Thursday, March 30, 2017 6pm in Annapolis in the Joint Committee Hearing Room Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401
If interested in testifying at any of the hearings for Offshore Wind you can do so on the petition page.
Express your opinion by signing the online petition above, promoted by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV).
Item #3: The Status, Background, and Future of Hydraulic Fracturing in Maryland (SB740/HB1325)
Action: Contact your local Maryland State Senator as soon as possible, before the regular legislative session ends on 4/10/17, and convince him to support SB 740.
- Under an executive order signed by Martin O’Malley, the Maryland Departments of Environment and Natural Resources prepared three substantial reports on fracking in Maryland. They concluded that, with the proper controls, fracking can be managed with acceptable risk.
- The reports also recommend that substantial additional work is required and that substantial “information gaps” need to be addressed for fracking to proceed safely.
- Many other, more recent studies, conducted by other states, universities, and physicians’ groups, conclude that the risks of fracking far outweigh the benefits.
- The CO2 emission benefits of using natural gas obtained through fracking, compared to coal, may be off-set by large, previously unaccounted for methane emissions released during fracking operations.
- Current Maryland law imposes a moratorium on fracking until 10/1/17. After that time, with no change to existing law, fracking may occur in the state.
- Senate Bill (SB) 740 and House Bill (HB) 1325 have been introduced in the current Maryland legislative session to ban fracking after the current moratorium expires.
- The House of Delegates passed HB 1325 on 3/10/17 by a veto proof majority of 97-40.
- SB 740 is being held in committee by the chair Senator Joan Carter Conway until the bill sponsors obtain sufficient votes for a veto proof majority in the senate. 23 senators co-sponsored SB 740; 29 votes are needed for a veto proof majority.
- A competing bill (SB 862) is also in committee. This bill extends the moratorium for 2 years, but does not ban fracking.
Actions: Contact your local Maryland State Senator as soon as possible, before the regular legislative session ends on 4/10/17 and convince him to support SB 740.
Item #4: Forest Conservation Act Revisions (SB0365/HB0599)
- SB0365 Task Force on the Forest Conservation Act Offset Policy
- HB0599 Forest Conservation Act – Exemption, Reforestation Rate, and Forest Conservation Fund – Alterations
Altering the exemption from the application of the Forest Conservation Act for the cutting or clearing of public utility rights-of-way or land for specified electric generating stations; increasing the acreage that must be planted in order to meet the reforestation requirement under the Act; and authorizing a specified increase in the rate that is paid to the Forest Conservation Fund in lieu of meeting specified reforestation or afforestation requirements.
Action: Follow this link and enter your zip + 4 zip code to send a message to your legislator and tell them how valuable trees are to our environment, economy, and way of life. Tell them we need more trees, please, and to vote yes on SB0365/HB0599.
From the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Tell MD Legislators: More trees, please!
Trees are the backbone of our communities. They help filter our local waters, increase property values, reduce energy costs, provide clean air and wildlife habitat, and improve public health.
But Maryland’s forests today are less than half of what they once were when our local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay were clean, healthy, and full of life.
A very important bill (SB0365/HB0599) that would greatly strengthen the Forest Conservation Act was just introduced in the Maryland General Assembly. This law would require developers to replant one acre of forest for each acre of forest cleared for new, large scale (40,000 ft.² and larger) developments, excluding most single family residential properties.
For a complete, up-to-date list of Maryland environmental legislation:
Each week (on Monday), Maryland LCV presents the “Hot List” – a detailed list of environmental legislation moving through the Maryland General Assembly. Our dedicated team of volunteers delivers the Hot List to all legislators every week; it is also emailed to every legislator. mdlcv.ngpvanhost.com/weekly-legislative-hotlist. To sign up for the weekly Hotlist, email firstname.lastname@example.org