2016 Legislative Agenda

Our Legislative Priorities for 2016

Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics
At least 23,000 Americans die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the widespread overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is making them less effective and is serious threat to public health.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that stop the overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms that raise poultry, pork or beef by:

  • Stopping the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in meat production.
  • Requiring reporting of antibiotics used by percentage of flock of treated.
  • Allowing antibiotic use for sick animals or to stop an outbreak once a disease is present.

Reclaiming our Democracy
The influence of wealthy special interests in the funding of elections has eroded public trust in our political system and discouraged civic participation.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that ensure that every citizen, regardless of wealth, has more or less equal opportunity to influence the actions of our government, including policies that:

  • Amplify small donors at the federal, state and local level by providing limited matching funds for small donors if the candidates do not take large or corporate contributions.
  • Modernize voter registration systems to ensure all eligible voters are automatically and permanently registered to vote.
  • Help overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions which have unleashed unprecedented election spending by millionaires and corporations.
  • Force political spending into the light of day and promote democratic shareholder decision making in corporate campaign spending.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland
Every day, our families are exposed to toxic chemicals found in consumer products which are linked to cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, reproductive problems and other chronic diseases.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that:

  • Protect vulnerable populations, like women of reproductive age, developing children and workers, from being unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals through expanded green cleaning regulations and other measures.
  • Phase out BPA, formaldehyde, toxic flame retardants and other toxic chemicals from consumer products and replace them with safer alternatives.
  • Provide consumers with accessible health and safety information about the presence of toxic chemicals used in everyday products.

Transit Not Traffic
Our transportation system should reflect and support the way we want to travel. Despite mounting evidence that Marylanders are seeking to shift away from driving, tax dollars continue to go to new and wider highways, instead of funding expansion of public transit, fixing existing roads and bridges, or making it easier for people to travel by biking and walking.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that:

  • Invest in transportation infrastructure that creates more transportation choices, improves air quality and serves communities in need.
  • Prioritize repair and maintenance of our current aging infrastructure.
  • Invest in infrastructure to empower Marylanders to travel by rail, bus, bike and on foot.
  • Ensure that funding and planning decisions are open, transparent and accountable to the public.

Don’t Trash Maryland
Our neighborhoods, highways, waterways and the Chesapeake Bay are littered with bottles, cans and plastic bags. Nothing we use for a minute should pollute our environment for decades.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that reduce litter and move toward zero waste, including policies that:

  • Ban single use plastic bags.
  • Create a container deposit program.
  • Hold industry responsible for the waste they produce.
  • Promote recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion.
  • Shift away from burning, burying or exporting waste.

Sound Budget & Tax Policy
We have the right to know how our tax dollars are being spent, and no company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. Unfortunately, multi-state corporations are able to use accounting tricks to avoid paying what they owe in Maryland, leaving individuals and small businesses to bear the brunt of the tax burden.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that:

  • Encourage transparency and accountability in public spending, subsidies and incentives.
  • Eliminate corporate tax-avoidance schemes.
  • Ensure checks and balances in budget decisions

Smart Energy Solutions
Marylanders deserve access to safe, reliable, and affordable electricity service. By using energy more wisely and plugging clean sources of energy into the grid, Maryland can achieve its potential for a cleaner, safer, cheaper and more reliable energy future.

Maryland PIRG supports policies that:

  • Protect and renew funding for energy efficiency programs.
  • Protect ratepayers from unnecessary rate hikes and poor service.
  • Support investment in clean, renewable energy.
  • Move us away from of energy production that threatens human health like incineration, nuclear power, coal and fracking.