[Maryland Episcopal Public Policy Network] – TAKE ACTION! Along with our partner the Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights, we urge you to support three important bills that must pass in the Senate during this General Assembly session in order to make Maryland as a safer place for all of God’s people to live.

In the Diocese of Maryland we believe, “Every person, as a matter of basic human dignity, has a fundamental and inalienable right to a healthful and stable environment.” (Resolution 2021-03, 237th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland)

We are in the final stretches of the legislative session and there is positive momentum for several priority bills that align with our values of protecting environmental health on behalf of current and future generations.

Follow the links below and write to your senators. You can easily find your senators here.

Maryland the Beautiful Act: HB631/SB470

This bill sets an intentional goal of the Maryland General Assembly to conserve 40% of land in Maryland by 2040, which goes beyond the federal goal of 30% of land protected by 2030. This bill will: create a rapid-response revolving loan fund program to allow land trusts to move quickly on conservation opportunities; increase the capacity of partner land trusts to assist the state in meeting the goal; and ensure that the lands are protected in perpetuity. It also authorizes the Governor to appropriate funds in the annual budget bill to fund grants through the Keep Maryland the Beautiful Program.
The House has passed HB631 and the Senate has passed SB470 and these bills are now being heard in the opposite chamber. There is no action needed for these bills. They appear to be on track for getting passed this year, which is good news!

Action Alert – Help these House Bills Pass Out of the Senate Education, Energy and Environment Committe

The following bills are environmental priorities for the environmental advocacy community this year. The House has passed each of these bills, but now it is up to the Senate to move them forward. Several of these had Senate cross-files that did not move out of committee.

If your State Senator sits on the Senate Education, Energy, and Environmental Committee (see the membership of this committee here), you could help ensure these bills move ahead by writing your State Senator and asking them to vote in support of these three bills.

Green Space Equity Program – HB503

This bill establishes the Greenspace Equity Program in the Department of Natural Resources to provide grants to enhance the public health and livability of overburdened and underserved communities by implementing projects to preserve, create, and enhance community greenspace. This bill has been approved in the House and is now being heard by the Senate Education, Energy and Environment Committee on Thursday March 30.

Community Solar Energy Generating Systems Program – HB908

This bill makes the Community Solar Energy Generating System Pilot Program permanent. It also aligns with the Justice 40 initiative and requires community solar programs to reserve 40% of its output to serve low and moderate income subscribers and those communities who are overburdened and underserved. It has passed the House and is sitting in the first reader in the Senate with no assigned hearing date.

Sustainable Buildings – HB6

This bill requires the Maryland Department of General Services to establish standards for state buildings (and those buildings with 51% or more state funding) based on LEED Innovation Credit for Bird Collision Deterrence to reduce the amount of energy-inefficient and bird-dangerous glass. This is a win-win for both the climate and to help save 1 million birds that are lost each year through collisions with glass and other structures. It passed the House for the second year but it is sitting in first reader in the Senate with no assigned hearing date.

Is your Senator on the Education, Energy, and Environment Committee? If yes, write your Senator here TODAY to ask them to vote in favor of HB6, HB908, and HB503!