Public Interest Priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session

Maryland's 2020 Legislative session begins on January 8th. We'll release a full agenda soon, but in the mean time here are our top priorities.

Maryland’s 2020 Legislative session begins on January 8th. We’ll release a full agenda soon, but in the mean time here are our top priorities.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland

Companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical they want into the products we use every day, despite the fact that the government doesn’t test those chemicals for safety or require any pre-market approval. We support policies to reduce our exposure to chemicals linked to harmful health and environmental impacts, including:

Family and Fire Fighter Protection Act

Restricts the use of toxic flame retardant chemicals in furniture and children’s products to protect families and fire fighters. These chemicals are not effective for fire safety. Commonly used chemical flame retardants are linked to cancer, lower IQ and poor attention in children, hormone disruption, thyroid effects, and obesity.

Healthy Living

We’re committed to creating a future in which all families and communities have access to clean air, safe drinking water, and healthy and sustainably produced food, and in which vulnerable populations are protected from dangerous products. 

Protect our Kids from Nicotine Addiction

We need to protect kids from nicotine addiction and all of the harms that come with it. This bill stops the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, and flavored cigars. 

Democracy for the People

The influence of wealthy special interests in elections has eroded public trust in our political system and helped to depress civic participation. We should do everything we can to ensure all eligible voters are able to have their voice heard on Election Day. Maryland PIRG supports legislative policies that strengthen our democracy, including:

Student Voter Empowerment Act 

This bill encourages Universities and Colleges the necessary tools to increase civic engagement and participation in democracy among young voters.

Big Money Out: Maryland Fair Elections Act

This bill creates a campaign finance program for statewide offices that enables candidates to run for office without large or corporate campaign contributions by providing limited matching funds for small donations.

Clean, Efficient Energy Use

Maryland’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels puts our health and safety at risk. The growth of cleaner technologies in Maryland benefits both our environment and our economy. Maryland PIRG is working to increase clean, efficient energy use. 

No Nuclear Power Subsidies

Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous, and prohibitively expensive. Subsidizing new or existing nuclear power is wasteful of ratepayer dollars and counter to our energy goals.


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.

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