Report on 2017 MD Legislative Session

Our Revolution Maryland worked hard to push our progressive agenda through the 2017 Maryland Legislative Session. We saw many good achievements as well as some disappointments. Below is a quick summary of how it went.

Successes

  • Eliminate bail for those who can’t afford it and are neither a risk to society or to flee
    • The Court of Appeals ruled that pre-trial detention should be sensitive to ability to pay; encouraged no bail for violent defendants considered dangerous to the community.  We blocked efforts to roll back the ruling which was led by the bail bondsmen.
  • Ban Fracking
    • Maryland become the third state to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
  • Strong Paid Sick Leave Legislation SB 230/HB 1
    • Coverage for all employers with over 15 employees
    • Expect a probable veto by the Governor.

Mixed Results

  • Fight for $15 and oppose pre-emption legislation
    • Increases in the state minimum wage did not get out of committee
    • Efforts to pass a ‘pre-emption’ law restricting local counties or cities from adopting $15/hour wage was defeated

Failures

  • Protect our vulnerable communities with the TRUST ACT
    • The TRUST Act would, among its requirements, outlaw local law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration law and undermine the community’s trust in policing. It passed the House of Delegates but did not pass the Senate
  • Provide a degree or job certification without debt funded by closing tax loopholes
    • Make community college free for working and middle income families;
    • Funding this by closing corporate loopholes
    • This legislation did not get out of committee

Other Significant Accomplishments

Resisting The Trump Agenda

  1. Tasking Maryland’s State Attorney General, Brian Frosh to: take Trump to court when he violates the law or the Constitution (e.g., Muslim Ban) and sue price-gouging drug companies as Trump cuts back enforcement
  2. Overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, protecting blue-collar jobs as Trump cuts investment in renewables
  3. Passing a resolution opposing Trump plan to zero-out Chesapeake Bay Program and cleanup and pressuring Gov. Hogan to publicly oppose the Trump cuts.
  4. Appropriating state funds to backfill potential Trump cuts to: Planned Parenthood services, public television, and Meals on wheels for seniors.
  5. Setting up watchdog commissions to: spotlight the impact on Maryland of Trump plan to repeal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and review Trump’s plans to cut Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Protecting Our Schools:

We passed legislation to limit testing in our public schools, to prohibit the state from privatizing public schools, and to give whistle-blower protection to school employees.

Protecting Oyster Sanctuaries:

We passed a ban on opening Maryland’s oyster sanctuaries to harvesting. This legislation protects our existing oyster recovery investments, gives these sanctuaries additional time to grow, and makes sure that decisions related to oyster harvesting are guided by science.

Stopping Use of Antibiotics in Animal Feed

To reduce antibiotic resistance, legislation was passed to prohibit the use of antibiotics in chicken, cattle and swine feed prophylactically, absent sick animals.  The practice contributes to the existence of ‘superbugs’ resistant to treatment.

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