Our 2023 Legislative Agenda and Priorities

Agenda for the 445th session of the Maryland General Assembly

All Marylanders want a healthier, safer, more secure future. Maryland PIRG works to find common ground around common sense solutions that will help make that future a reality.

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All Marylanders want a healthier, safer, more secure future. Maryland PIRG works to find common ground around common sense solutions that will help make that future a reality. The problems we work on aren’t progressive or conservative, they’re just problems that our state shouldn’t tolerate in an age of great abundance and technological progress.

This year Maryland PIRG plans to tackle issues such as shifting from polluting fossil fuels towards clean, efficient energy use; making progress towards a future free from plastic litter and waste; and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals that threaten the health of our communities and families.

Here are the problems Maryland PIRG is working to solve in 2023.

We’ll update the list with bill details and more information as it becomes available.

Clean, Efficient Energy Use

Maryland’s reliance on polluting fuels puts our health and safety at risk. Marylanders deserve access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy service. By using energy more wisely and getting clean sources of energy plugged into the grid, Maryland can achieve its potential for a cleaner, safer, cheaper and more reliable energy future. We support policies to increase clean, efficient energy use.

Bills we support

Energy Savings Act - PRIORITY BILL

This bill updates the state’s energy efficiency program to provide greater energy savings, protect ratepayers, and help repower Maryland’s homes and buildings with 100% clean renewable energy.

Sponsors: Sen. Karen Lewis Young and Del. Lily Qi (SB689/HB904)

Low Income Energy Efficiency Bill

Sets a standard of 1% annual energy savings for low-income households, enables state-funded home energy performance audits in qualified low-income homes and funds energy efficiency improvements such as new insulation, better windows, EnergyStar® appliances, LED light bulbs and more.

A version of this bill passed in 2022, but was vetoed by Governor Hogan.

Sen. Brian Feldman (SB144) and Del. Lorig Charkoudian (HB169)

Read our testimony.


Maryland has tremendous potential for generating power from offshore wind. The Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act will set a state goal for offshore wind generation, and ensure we have the technology ready to utilize the power of the wind.

Sponsors: Sen. Katie Fry Hester and Del. Lorig Charkoudian (SB781/HB793)

Reclaim Renewable Energy Act

This bill stops state renewable energy subsidies for incineration, woody biomass, and burning of gas from landfills and farms.

Sponsors: Sen. Lewis Young (SB590)  and Del. Stewart  (HB718)

Healthy Living

All families and communities should have access to clean air, safe drinking water, and healthy and sustainably produced food, and we should protect vulnerable populations from dangerous products.

Bills we support

Clean Lighting - PRIORITY BILL

Fluorescent light bulbs are a common sight in offices, garages, and basements—but they contain toxic mercury and are incredibly inefficient compared to newer alternatives. Stopping the sale of fluorescents in Maryland will mean huge energy savings, less pollution, and reduce mercury exposure.

Sponsor: Del. Jen Terrasa (HB1021)

Learn more about our campaign to say farewell! to flourescents.

Antibiotic Use Reporting

Laws such as the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act of 2019 are our best defense against antibiotic resistance. This bill updates the reporting timeline for the Department of Agriculture on the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs for large Maryland farms.

Del. Love (HB516)

Read our testimony.

Protect our Kids from Nicotine Addiction

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

Sen. Clarence Lam SB259.

Read our testimony.

Democracy for the People

The influence of wealthy donors in elections has eroded public trust in government and depressed civic participation. We should ensure all voters are able to participate in elections.

Bills we support

Improving our Elections’ Systems

We support policies to increase voters’ ability to participate in voting and to streamline voting processes, including: improving ballot tracking and ballot processing. This bill directs local Boards of Election to begin processing mail-in ballots before election day, creates a system for fixing mail-in ballots that are missing a signature on the envelope, and enacts precinct level reporting for all ballots cast.

Sponsors: Sen. Kagan  (379) and Del. Feldmark (HB535)

Read our testimony.

Expanding Local Fair Elections

Enables Counties and Baltimore City to establish local small donor public financing for additional offices after they locality has completed one cycle of the program for Executive and Legislative offic

Sponsor: Delegate Jessica Feldmark (HB176)

Read our testimony.

Don’t Trash Maryland

Our neighborhoods, highways, waterways and the Chesapeake Bay are littered with bottles, cans, and plastic waste. We burn, bury, our export more than 50% of our waste in Maryland. That means more leaky landfills, dirty air from incinerators, and more litter and litter cleanup costs. We support policies dedicated to the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle and put us on a path to zero waste.

Bills we support

Plastic Packaging Reduction Act - PRIORITY BILL

Requires producers to bear financial responsibility for recycling the products they create, reducing waste, and saving taxpayer money.

Sponsors: Sen. Malcolm Augustine (SB222) and Del. Sara Love (HB284)

Learn more about our campaign to shift incentives so plastics producers stop flooding our lives with throwaway single-use plastic.

Read our testimony.

Recycling Task Force

Established a task force to study the recycling and waste systems in Maryland, and make recommendations on updating the Maryland Recycling Act.

Sponsor: Del. Sara Love (HB109)

Truth in Recycling Act

Ensures products labeled as recyclable actually have the potential to be recycled in Maryland.

Sponsor: Del. Sara Love (HB031)

Paint Stewardship

Establishes a producer lead program for disposing of household paint to protect our waterways and environment, public health, and sewer infrastructure.

Sponsor: Sen. Chris West (SB260) and Del. Regina Boyce (HB255)

Bottle Bill

The Bottle Bill is a beverage container deposit program proven effective to increase recycling and reduce litter.

Sponsor: Del. Mary Lehman (HB1089)

Transform Transportation

Each year, pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles cuts short an estimated 58,000 lives, and increases the risk of lung cancer, stroke and heart disease. Transportation is also America’s number one source of carbon pollution.

Bills we support

Clean Truck Act

Trucks are some of the most polluting vehicles in the transportation sector. The Clean Trucks Act of 2023 will direct the Department of the Environment to adopt new regulations for the sale of zero-emission medium and heavy duty trucks in the state.

Sen. Malcolm Augustine (SB224) and Del. Sara Love (HB230)

Read our testimony.

Consumer Protection

We work to get dangerous products off store shelves, end exploitative practices and ensure a level playing field in the marketplace.

Bills we support

Sound Budget and Tax Policy

Marylanders have the right to know how our money is being spent, and no company should be able to game the tax system.

Bills we support

Combined Reporting

Prevents companies from reducing taxable profits by shifting revenue to out-of-state subsidiaries. 

Sponsors: Sen. Lewis Young and Del. Lehman (SB576/HB46)


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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