2019 Year in Review

2019 was another big year in the fight for the public interest. Here's just a small taste of some of our work and accomplishments. Thanks for standing by us in 2019, and we look forward to another incredible year!

2019 was another big year in the fight for the public interest. Here’s just a small taste of some of our work and accomplishments. Thanks for standing by us in 2019, and we look forward to another incredible year!

You can see some of our Opinion Editorials published from this year in the Baltimore Sun and Maryland Matters on antibiotic resistancetoxic chemical exposureplastic pollution, and nuclear power.

BUILDING A STRONGER DEMOCRACY: 

Fair Elections victory

In 2019 we finally passed Election Day voter registration. Along with Automatic Voter Registration, these policies modernize our voter registration systems and can increase registration rates and participation.

In the face of ever-increasing election spending by mega-donors and corporations, we’re working to ensure that every Marylander, regardless of wealth, has equal opportunity to influence the actions of our government. In 2019 we worked with the Baltimore City Council to finalize their Fair Elections program. We released a report on the results of Montgomery County’s first election using small donor public financing, and found that participating candidates had nearly twice the number of small donors as those who chose traditional fundraising.

Now we’re working to establish a small donor fair elections program for statewide offices and working to increase youth voter participation.

STOP THE OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS:

We must protect public health by stopping the overuse of antibiotics on farm animals. In 2019 we successfully updated Maryland’s Keep Antibiotics Effective Act to be the strongest law in the nation governing antibiotics use on farms. The updated law clarifies when antibiotics can be used on farms and requires annual reporting on antibiotics use.

Now, we’ll make sure the law is properly implemented and continue our work to convince major restaurant chains to stop serving beef and other foods raised with routine antibiotics.

HEALTHY KIDS, HEALTHY MARYLAND:

Lead Report Card

We shouldn’t have to worry that our families are being exposed to toxic chemicals that harm our health. In 2019 we released a report outlining what needs to be done to protect Maryland children from lead in school drinking water and we expanded protections by providing schools access to additional grant funding to remediate for lead. We also helped convince Amazon, Menards, and Ace Hardware to commit to stop selling paint strippers that contain the deadly chemicals DCM and NMP. 

In 2020 we’re working to pass the Family and Fire Fighter Protection Act to ban toxic flame retardant chemicals from children’s products and furniture so we can protect our children, families, and first responders from exposure to these carcinogenic and otherwise toxic chemicals.

Topics
Authors

Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Emily has helped win small donor public financing in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. She has played a key role in establishing new state laws to to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms, require testing for lead in school drinking water and restrict the use of toxic flame retardant and PFAS chemicals. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working. Emily lives in Baltimore City with her husband, kids, and dog.