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Get Involved with Our Efforts in Annapolis in 2009
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by David O’Leary | 2008

The Maryland General Assembly will be in session from mid-January through mid-April of 2009.

The Maryland General Assembly will be in session from mid-January through mid-April of 2009.

Some members of our chapter have worked with legislators and other state environmental groups to develop legislation and review budget priorities of the past few months to make sure that we do as much as possible to protect the environment.

The chapter needs your help, now and throughout the session, to pass strong environmental bills and protect our funding priorities, especially now that the state budget is so strained. There are many ways to get involved, including some that don’t take much time. Here is a list of actions and opportunities:

Check the Sierra Club chapter web site—maryland.sierraclub.org—to decide which issue(s) you would like to focus on.

Find out who are your elected officials and review their official government web pages using the web site www.mdelect.net

Everyone in Maryland has one State Senator and one or more Delegates in the General Assembly.  In preparation for lobbying, it is helpful to learn about which committees your representatives serve on, which legislation they have sponsored, and what other issues they care about. In addition to their official state web sites, most elected officials maintain personal web sites with information about their backgrounds, interests, legislative work, and efforts in the community. To find a senator’s or delegate’s web site, simply do an Internet search for their name along with “Maryland Senate” or “Maryland Delegate.”

Learn where your elected officials stand on high priority environmental bills and the issues you care about by checking the appropriate web sites and the site of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (www.mdlcv.org ), and by talking with your group leaders and people working on the campaign you are interested in. Don’t assume that a high score from the Maryland LCV insures a favorable vote on a particular environmental bill, but it is an indicator of how elected officials will vote on related bills.

Participate in a meeting with one or all of your Senators and Delegates before or during the session. If you would like to help arrange for or participate in one of these meetings, please contact Alana Wase in the chapter office, alana.wase@mdsierra.org, 301-277-7111.

Plan to attend the Environmental Legislative Kickoff from 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. on January 26, 2009, in the Senate Office Building in Annapolis. Watch the Maryland chapter web site for updates, and contact the chapter office if you are interested in attending. We can help coordinate carpooling and, if you can arrive early, help you set up a meeting with your elected officials before the kickoff.

 

Take the lead in coordinating our activities for particular bills. This entails at least some of the following:

u   reviewing the legislation and related materials

u   meeting with one or more elected officials, including the bill’s sponsors

u   working to inform chapter leaders and membership on the status of the bill and how to get involved

u   traveling to Annapolis on one or more occasions

u   preparing and possibly presenting testimony on the bill at committee hearings

 

Contact David O’Leary at 301-588-2990 or at dave.oleary@mdsierra.org if you are interested in supporting or coordinating the chapter’s advocacy of a particular bill.

Check the accompanying article on legislative priorities on page 1 of this newsletter for more information about some of the issues and bills that are expected for the 2009 legislative session. Please consider getting involved in 2009! 

 

David O’Leary is the Conservation Chair of the Maryland Chapter.

> 2008 Table of Contents

   
   

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