For Immediate Release:
Tuesday April 12, 2022
For Additional Information:
Akshaya Balaji, MaryPIRG Students President, [email protected]
Sarah Shames, MaryPIRG Students Campus Organizer, 650 388 2577, [email protected]
College Park, Maryland – As the 2022 MGA session comes to a close, student leaders share highlights and reflect on advocacy during the 2022 legislative session.
“We learn so much in the classroom about the problems in our world but we don’t often talk about solutions. Even more rarely do we talk about what we can do, as students, to change the status quo.” Reflects Glin Brower, MaryPIRG’s Treasurer “Through my work with MaryPIRG, I’ve learned that real change takes real organizing – petition by petition, volunteer by volunteer – until we build up the support we need to fight, and often win legislation that creates a better world for all of us.”
The George “Walter” Taylor Act (SB273/HB275)
The George “Walter” Taylor Act restricts the use of PFAS chemicals in food packaging and rugs and carpets and switches to safer alternatives for fire fighting foams. It also requires notification for firefighter turnout gear that contains PFAS and stops the landfilling and incineration of PFAS foam. To build support for our bill, students collected photo petitions, wrote letters to the editor, and made phone calls to decision makers.
“I learned a lot about the Maryland legislative process and what it takes to pass a bill.” Says Eleena Ghosh, MaryPIRG’s Public Health Campaign Coordinator “I am thrilled to have brought the voices of students into the conversation and have played a part in this victory for public health!”
Climate Solutions Now (SB528)
“As young people we are anxious about tomorrow’s future if we do not act on climate change today. We call upon our legislators to ensure that our generation, and those to come, have a safe and healthy future.” Said Sophia D’Alonzo, MaryPIRG’s Recruitment and Coalitions Chair at a coalition rally earlier this spring.
MaryPIRG Students contributed to the passage of Climate Solutions Now, Maryland’s landmark environmental bill. The bill commits Maryland to net zero emissions by 2045. Students hosted events, posted on social media, spoke at rallies, and provided testimony for the bill. Climate Solutions Now passed through the senate and house before landing on the governor’s desk. Because Governor Hogan did not veto the legislation by the deadline, the law will go into effect!
“Climate Solutions Now is an important first step towards building the greener, cleaner, more meaningful future we are all envisioning. I am excited to see what we can accomplish moving forward.” Commented Akshaya Balaji, MaryPIRG’s President.
The FUTURE Act (HB729)
The FUTURE Act is a student written bill that would commit every USM campus to carbon neutrality.
“The FUTURE Act is designed to put Maryland universities right at the forefront of climate action.” Explains MSCAC Campaign Coordinator and Bill co-author Reese Barrett, “Our state’s higher education institutions are producing the next generation of leaders in Maryland, and our researchers are already at the cutting edge of climate science, so it only makes sense that our schools should be the ones leading the charge into a more sustainable future.”
While it did not pass from committee this session, students made a huge impact by collecting over 3000 petitions, hosting a rally, and sharing 85 handwritten letters from students across the state with legislators.
MaryPIRG Students: Students have the power to shape the future we will inherit. We work with professional staff at colleges and universities to make sure our peers have the skills, opportunities and training they need to create a better, more sustainable future for all of us. Our chapters provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For over 40 years we’ve helped students to get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change.