LSPC Testimonies

  • TESTIMONY FOR SB0088

    State and Local Government - Participation in Federal Immigration Enforcement

    Bill Sponsor: Senator William Smith

    Committee: Senate Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Sam Harvey

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of  SB 88 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive Movement.

    Caucus members consistently support legislation that directs local resources toward their most beneficial local uses, and SB 88 safeguards those resources from being improperly used for law enforcement that's more appropriately the bailiwick of federal immigration enforcement. Local law enforcement officers may be acting with the best intention of protecting their communities when they blur their traditional role of community policing, toward federal immigration enforcement – for instance, when they inquire about an individual's citizenship or immigration status during a traffic stop, or other arrest. However, best intention aside, they must recognize that if community members don't agree that this is the way they want law enforcement executed, in case of point how they want their law enforcement resources spent, then local law enforcement should and must recognize this fact.

    It may be some will consider SB 88 a complication for law enforcement officers, an impediment to their ability to achieve their objectives. However, there is a ready counterargument – that people who are treated like neighbors are much more likely to behave like neighbors. And, as we emerge from a dark season of unreasonable animus toward the Other, of scapegoating, and of inhuman cruelty at our southern border, it will be most well when everyone takes a giant step toward treating each other as if we were indeed all members of the communities we all live in. First and last, to the best safety of our communities, we must be decent to one another. 

    So, SB 88 insists on law enforcement of maximum effectiveness from a strictly pragmatic standpoint, based on the recognition that local resources are finite. It is not within the language of the bill to answer the strange contradiction that recent arrivals lending their labor to the building up of a place are lopsidedly blamed for every problem there – while they are simultaneously exploited and dehumanized. But the bill does suggest that people should not be harassed simply because the law, when read in a somewhat less than thoughtful way, can justify it. SB 88 derives from a different reading, and emphasizes a different approach to law enforcement – one that will ultimately help local officers more effectively keep their communities healthy and safe.

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR SB0042

    Public Safety - Police Officers - Screening for Violent Behavior, Aggressive Behavior, and Bias

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Young

    Committee: Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting: Jared Schablein 

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB0042 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive Movement. 

    Caucus members consistently support legislation that builds toward a more perfect justice system, and legislation that promotes the highest level of transparency possible, toward the greater ability of the people to review the ways its government operates.

    This legislation addresses many of the issues that have caused the horrific acts of brutality we saw over the summer and for years now primarily towards communities of color.  The issue addressed is training. This legislation ensures that our law enforcement officers are well trained and adapting to changing environments and methods of de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crime reduction.  

    The second issue that is addressed is ensuring only individuals who can fulfill the standard and stresses of the job get hired. This is accomplished by prohibiting a law enforcement agency from employing an individual as a police officer unless the individual has undergone and achieved a satisfactory result on a certain psychological screening By implementing this policy we can ensure the integrity and stability of our law enforcement agencies by preventing the hiring of unqualified and dangerous individuals unsuited for the job.

    The third issue is removing those who violate their oath and commit acts of brutality from their duty so they no longer pose a threat to the community. By requiring that a police officer who has been convicted of killing or causing a debilitating injury against another person be terminated from employment we can assure that there are tangible consequences for committing acts of brutality and prevent individuals from being repeat offenders of these horrendous crimes 

    It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR SB0178

    TESTIMONY FOR SB 178

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Carter

    Committee: Senate Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting: Sam Harvey

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB 178 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive Movement. 

    Caucus members consistently support legislation that builds toward a more perfect justice system, and legislation that promotes the highest level of transparency possible, toward the greater ability of the people to review the ways its government operates.

    Following the tragic death of Anton Black, on September 15, 2018, his family and friends sought for ways to change the system, to prevent tragedies like the one they and so many others had suffered, from befalling others. They sought a requirement that law enforcement should release information about any investigations into incidents like this, and that law enforcement should release information about any prior complaints against the involved officers. 

    There is some risk that the release of prior complaints could lead to a diminution of the investigated officers' rights to due process, as these incidents could be “tried in the media” once their records are made public. SB 178 effectively safeguards against this risk, granting the custodian the ability to deny inspection if it would “deprive another person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication.” This seems just – the civil rights of one party must not be sacrificed to advance the civil rights of another.

    However, the degree of risk that the civil rights of law enforcement officers may be diminished, must be set against the absolute certainty that all of Anton Black's civil rights were entirely extinguished at age 19, and that is the most important issue and the one we must remain focused on.

    That Anton Black's family and friends had to wait, and wait, for answers – that was cruel and unnecessary (and when those answers finally came, they only confirmed what many had pessimistically suspected).  The system that rehired an officer who'd been fired from a different department, who had a record of being physically abusive to a suspect in custody, is not likely to change unless the people are given these records in the very instants following the occurrence of these tragedies. Without this information, all arguments seem strictly emotional, and therefore carry less weight. It could be argued that the emotional pain of grieving families should provide sufficient pressure to affect changes in policy, but in this world it takes cold, hard facts.

    These family members and friends should have this information immediately – not months and months later. It's already too much to ask that they should bear the responsibility for pressuring the system into changing, but we must face the harsh reality that the system hasn't changed, and it appears unlikely that it ever will, without that kind of public pressure. To apply this pressure in an effort to continually improve our justice system is in the best keeping with our democratic ideals, and this bill provides the necessary tools for that work. I urge you to support SB 178.

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR SB0190

    Firearms – Right to Purchase, Possess, and Carry – Use of Medical Cannabis

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Hough 

    Committee: Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB0190 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. It is a top priority of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members to legalize Marijuana and protect the rights of those who choose to smoke it.  That is why our organization strongly supports SB0190.  

    Our current law that prohibits users of medical cannabis from their second amendment rights is nothing short of unconstitutional and discriminatory. By prohibiting individuals from purchasing, possessing, and carrying a firearm solely because they are prescribed medical cannabis puts our residents into a horrible dilemma.  A dilemma where they must choose whether or not they will keep their second amendment rights or take medicine prescribed to them by a doctor to treat whatever health issues they might be facing.  When in reality they shouldn’t have to choose at all.  

    It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0285

    Workgroup on Statewide Vehicle Crash Data Collection and Reporting

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Lewis 

    Committee: Environment and Transportation

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB0285 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. It is a top priority of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members to improve transportation safety in our state.  HB0285 is a common-sense bill that would help achieve this crucial goal that can save lives.   

    Establishing a workgroup on statewide vehicle crash data collection and reporting is the first major step to creating a safer Maryland in terms of transportation.  This bill sets up the proper outlines for the workgroup to have the ability to effectively examine the processes used to collect and report statewide vehicle crash data for injuries and fatalities.  HB0285 would also allow the state to determine the most effective manner for the State to begin to collect, disaggregate, and report the data by race and ethnicity filling a major need in order to craft effective policy recommendations. 

    It is through these outlines that the workgroup will be able to make effective policy recommendations to address major issues on or before the December 1, 2021 deadline this bill sets.  

    It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0155

    County Boards and Public and Nonpublic Prekindergarten Programs and Schools - Discrimination - Prohibition

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins

    Committee: Ways and Means 

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Dr. Nicole Hollywood, LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB155 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus recognizes that there are insufficient protections for, and inequities in the treatment of, LGBTQIA+ learners enrolled in Maryland schools. The result of these injustices contributes to a climate that is unsupportive, and even often hostile, to LGBTQIA+ youth. Research conducted on LGBTQIA+ youth in schools has found that an unsupportive educational climate contributes to lower academic performance, lower GPA, increased absences, increased likelihood of school dropout, and less likelihood of attending an institution of higher education.

    HB155 would codify anti-discrimination protections for all students, pre-k through 12 who are enrolled in our public schools and in any other schools receiving public funding.  It also prohibits retaliation against a student or guardian who files a discrimination complaint, establishes a remedy process to resolve discriminatory action, and requires schools and school Boards to develop written policies for students and employees regarding civil rights protections.  Ultimately, this legislation seeks to codify existing MSDE guidance and prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

    HB155 is a major step forward to ensuring the civil rights of LGBTQIA+ youth enrolled in Maryland’s schools.

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0001

    Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Funding

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Adrienne Jones 

    Committee: Appropriations 

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Dr. Nicole Hollywood, LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB1 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus recognizes the significance that HBCU’s play in Maryland, and in our country. Founded during a time of hostility and forced segregation, for over 100 years Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been unique American institutions predicated on providing educational opportunities to students many of whom originate from historically underserved communities. While they account for only 3% of public and not-for-profit private institutions receiving federal student aid, they enroll 10% of African American college students nationwide, produce 17% of the bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans, 24% of the degrees earned by African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math, and are the top producers of African American Ph.Ds. Serving as critical access points to post-secondary education for many Black and first-generation students, the preponderance of research has found HBCUs to provide deeply supportive educational environments that are unparalleled elsewhere with Black graduates of HBCUs more likely than Black graduates of majority serving institutions to be thriving. 

    More than a decade ago, four Maryland HBCU’s, including one on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, joined together in a lawsuit to remedy longstanding racial disparities and funding inequities. U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that Maryland had maintained a dual and segregated education system and had grossly underfunded HBCUs for decades.

    HB1 will send a strong message to the people of Maryland that the State values its Historically Black College’s and Universities and is committed to ensuring their future by establishing a new unit to assist in evaluating proposals for new programs and substantial modifications of existing programs, creating an HBCU reserve fund, and dedicating $577,000,000 in the State budget in fiscal years 2023 through 2032 towards the settlement.


    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR SB 71

    TESTIMONY FOR SB 71

    Bill Sponsor: Senator Sydnor

    Committee: Senate Judicial Proceedings

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:   Sam Harvey

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of SB 71 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive Movement. 

    Caucus members consistently support legislation that aspires to deliver perfect justice, as elusive a pursuit as that may seem. I write to you in the hope that you’ll support SB 71 this session.

    Men and women in law enforcement are subjected to extreme stress in the line of duty, which has a profound impact on them, psychologically and physiologically. This is widely recognized – indeed, law enforcement training especially takes it into account. The ability to continue to perform their duties while experiencing a cascade of instinctual physical responses – elevated heart rate, increased respiration, surging adrenaline – is impressive. 


    However, while law enforcement training hardens officers, to make them capable of performing under these extremes, they are not superhuman. These conditions have an impact on their own health, both physical and mental. And, while concerned for their well-being, I also have grave concerns regarding their ability not only to successfully perform their duties at 100 percent under these conditions, but even their ability to 100 percent accurately report what happened, after the heat of the moment.

    It’s not a justice to anyone, neither the law enforcement officers nor the citizens they have interacted with, to ask those officers to recall what just happened, as the adrenaline washes away and the sweat dries on their skin. Neither party may be positioned to answer accurately, never mind objectively.

    This is the great benefit of the body-worn camera, now a tiny and inexpensive tech. Safe to say, we all want to progress toward a more perfect administration of justice. The body cam is a great tool for capturing from an objective viewpoint everything that went right, but also everything that went wrong. We can take those lessons, double down on the good – and make improvements where improvements appear necessary.

    The idea that anyone, no matter how extensively vetted, trained, and oath-taken they may be – that their testimony should receive preferential treatment, is problematic on its face. We with serious reservation allow it, in the name of social order, but it creates a very imperfect dynamic.

    Law enforcement officers enjoy the aegis of rebuttable presumption (the presumption that their account is true unless someone comes forward to contest it and prove otherwise). However, to in the strongest terms encourage law enforcement toward the better way now available to us, SB 71 would create a special case in which citizens, rather than law enforcement officers, are granted a rebuttable presumption themselves. 

    If officers can’t show some very good reason why they haven’t availed themselves of the body cam tech, now the civilian parties involved gain the rebuttable presumption that officers’ accounts (as they perceived them) of the unrecorded events should and will be inadmissible. 

    I believe this places the greatest emphasis on the diligent and rigorous use of the body cam, and this seems entirely appropriate to me. I encourage you to support SB 71.

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0074

    Income Tax - Credit for Energy Efficiency Upgrades - Passive Houses

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Brooks

    Committee: Ways and Means

    Organization Submitting: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting: Michaela Moses

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB0074 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore.

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and its members recognize the dangers posed by climate change and the particular vulnerability of our state to its disastrous effects. HB0074 promotes climate change mitigation and incentivizes Marylanders to reduce their negative impact on the environment with energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. Adding insulation, replacing windows, weather stripping, and other updates mentioned by this bill can significantly increase a building’s energy efficiency, thus decreasing energy consumption and reliance on unclean energy sources.

    In addition to reducing energy consumption, energy efficiency can also reduce costs. Using less energy per household also means paying less and easing the fiscal burden felt by working class households who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy. In fact, some passive houses or energy-efficient buildings can achieve net zero or even net positive emissions, meaning the building’s presence can actually create an environmental benefit. Owners of net zero or net positive homes pay far less for energy than other homeowners and are also protected from rising energy costs.

    Passing HB0074 allows Maryland to renew their commitment to energy efficiency and build upon existing environmental programs by incentivizing homeowners to update their homes. With the looming threat of climate change, the state of Maryland must remain on the forefront of innovation and equitable climate policy that prioritizes mitigation and efficiency. The adoption of passive house principles and other energy efficiency solutions recommended in HB0074 means a cleaner, safer state for all. 

    The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE result in committee.

  • TESTIMONY FOR HB0391

    Solid Waste Management – Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere

    Bill Sponsor: Delegate Hartman 

    Committee: Environment and Transportation

    Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

    Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   

    Position: FAVORABLE

    I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB0391 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. It is a top priority of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members to protect the environment and support legislation that would protect our pristine environment for generations to come. HB0391 is a bi-partisan common-sense bill that would better protect the environment from unnecessary pollution and trash.   

    Balloons, on average, take six months to 4 years to fully decompose.   Once released into the atmosphere, they can wreak havoc on the environment for long periods. Once the balloon falls back into the environment, its waste poses a risk for wildlife in two significant ways. The first way is being ingested by wild animals attracted to the color, ribbons, and tassels. Eating the balloon is often a death sentence for the animal.  The second way it poses a risk to wildlife is the balloon waste forming the perfect trap for animals to become entangled.  Once entangled, the animal is often trapped until it dies or continues to live with extreme discomfort and limited mobility.

    It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.