Can you hear us? Nearly 200 people registered for the Maryland Interfaith Legislative Briefing on Sunday, January 31st -- the most attendance ever in our years of offering that event! The Zoom room was energized and ready to make our voices heard. Watch in the coming weeks as the faith community has an impact on shaping Maryland laws to protect and restore God's Creation.
Attendees gathered to learn about priority legislation for the current Maryland legislative session, including: the Plastic Bag Reduction Act, Transit Equity Package, Coal Community Transition & Climate Omnibus Bills, and legislation to drive an amendment to the Maryland constitution to protect Environmental Human Rights. Attendees broke out into virtual meetings rooms to hear from lead advocates on each of these bills and learn about the specific actions they could take to help advance the bills. Eager to get involved? We've gathered the key take-away's from the bills that IPC is working on here.
Plastic Bag Reduction Act -- Why are we using fossil fuels that have been in the Earth for millions of years in order to produce a plastic bag that will be used once and thrown away? All faiths hold the central "golden rule" which calls us to "love our neighbors." By reducing plastic use, we will reduce plastic pollution and treat others the way we would want our own communities treated. The proposed bill would ban plastic bags with a thickness of less than 4 mils. If retailers want to offer customers paper bags, or plastic bags that are greater than 4 mil thickness, they can do so at their convenience and can choose to charge for the bag or give it away for free. The spirit of this is to cut back on cheap bags that have become ubiquitous simply because they are so cheap. If the plastic bags are more costly to purchase, retailers will think twice before freely handing them out. We're asking you to call your state senators and delegates and let them know you support this bill. Click here for talking points and the specific bill numbers. Not sure how to contact your state representatives? No problem! Visit mdelect.net and enter your home address. It will pull up all of your elected representatives, with links to click on their names and get their contact information. Phone calls are best -- don't be shy! Emails are fine as well, but sometimes get lost in the noise. If you're uncomfortable contacting them directly, you can also sign this online petition instead.
Transit Equity Package - This package includes two pieces of legislation: the Transit Safety and Investment Act of 2021, and the Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act of 2021. The Transit Safety and Investment Act will provide badly needed funds for maintenance of MTA buses, light and heavy rail, and commuter buses - all while creating middle class jobs likely to be held by women and people of color. The Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act of 2021 mandates that starting in 2024, all public transit contracts for buses purchased by the state will be zero-emission vehicles, and an all-zero-emission fleet by 2035. Electric vehicles reduce health risks from air pollution, improve air quality, and reduce health care costs especially for low-income communities and students who use buses to get to school. Please read up on both bills by clicking here and then reach out to your state representatives to ask them to vote YES. If you prefer, there's an easy online petition you can sign instead.
The Interfaith Legislative Briefing was co-hosted with Interfaith Power & Light DMV and Earth Forum of Howard County. The partners collaborated to produce this Resource Document that provides important links and fact sheets. Join our cadre of 600+ Advocacy Volunteers to be alerted to actions you can take and events like the Legislative Briefing.
Public policies are needed to bring about major change and to undo the harm that has been done to our environment. We all have a moral obligation to engage both in the political process and to adopt behaviors that ensure justice and respect for the entire web of life. Be part of our work and help make our collective voice even louder!
Do you like this page?