In The News
Some lawmakers are throwing their support behind an effort to give the National Park Service some oversight over the Chesapeake Bay, but they warn further scrutiny is needed…. In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order recognizing the nation's largest estuary as a national treasure and calling on agencies to better coordinate on restoration efforts…. But bay champions say the National Park System — which includes national parks, national monuments, trails and recreation areas — would yield additional benefits, including more visitors and recognition. "The designation of the bay as a national recreation area can bring crucial resources to our conservation efforts, while driving continued economic success," an aide to Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told E&E News. Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is actively organizing support for the effort and soliciting feedback…. In the House, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force, will lead a bipartisan legislative effort. "The Chesapeake Bay has long been an economic driver for our region and an environmental treasure for our nation. It deserves close consideration for a national park unit designation," Sarbanes said. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the bay is one of Maryland's and the nation's greatest natural resources and is critical to the livelihoods of Marylanders. Hoyer said the "potential designation of the Chesapeake Bay as a national park is an interesting idea that deserves careful consideration." House Natural Resources Committee member, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), is eager to advance "innovative conservation efforts" with partners like the Chesapeake Conservancy but is concerned about the lack of investment into the bay by the current administration. "The Chesapeake Bay is absolutely vital to Maryland's ecosystem, cultural heritage and economy," said Brown in a statement. "At a time when the Trump Administration has consistently tried to cut funding for Bay restoration," he said, "our priority must be first and foremost protecting existing conservation efforts and laying the groundwork to expand the promising work being done."
Maryland’s congressional delegation said Monday that the state’s colleges and universities will receive over $170 million in federal aid through a measure in the CARES Act that Congress passed late last month. U.S. Sens. Chirs Van Hollen (D-Md.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andrew P. Harris, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David J. Trone jointly announced that Maryland is in line for $170,544,958 in funding, half of which is to be applied directly to assistance efforts for students confronting emergency expenses in the face of the public health crisis. “The coronavirus has upended the lives of students across our state,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “These funds will provide targeted relief to students, and longer-term assistance to our colleges and universities, to help them weather this storm.” Students enrolled in University System of Maryland institutions are to receive a combined $40,253,827; other public university students will collect $6,222,058; community college students will be awarded $26,942,996 in aid; and private, non-profit school students will net $11,351,623 in assistance. The state’s HBCUs will see $11,065,055 in assistance from this pot of money. The news release said that additional “dedicated assistance” for HBCUs and minority serving institutions has been allocated under the CARES Act, as well, and will be announced soon.
Black Marylanders are suffering disproportionately from the new coronavirus shows information released Thursday by the state for the first time, drawing frustration, but not surprise from area political leaders and observers…. In addition to racial data, Scott said, officials need geographic data to understand disparities. He recently introduced a bill requiring the city health commissioner to report patients’ races and ZIP codes during a health emergency. Others also are calling for that kind of geographic information, including the Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation, which sent a letter Thursday to Hogan. “We share your concern about the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 appears to be having on black Marylanders and believe that this initial data demonstrates a need for more granular reporting by ZIP code,” said the letter. “Additionally, we urge you to report complete and comprehensive data for all patients as expeditiously as possible and ensure that this data is informing Maryland’s COVID-19 response efforts,” said the letter from Democratic Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen as well as Democratic U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone.
Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) along with the Maryland Congressional Delegation are urging FEMA to fulfill the state’s request, claiming that Maryland has only received about a third of supplies requested.... The medical supplies needed would help fight the coronavirus in the state. The supplies requested from FEMA include ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing chemical supplies, nasopharyngeal swabs, pharmacy cache for medical surge site and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mobile labs/examination center.... In addition to the supplies, the Maryland Congressional Delegation also supports the Crisis Counseling Program (CCP), which was requested by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) but still awaits approval. “Crisis counseling seeks to prevent the onset of diagnosable disorders by helping survivors understand that they are experiencing common reactions to extraordinary occurrences” said Congressman Sarbanes and the Maryland Congressional Delegation in a press release. “Counselors help enhance social and emotional connections to others in the community and promote effective coping strategies and resilience.”
The LCV used 35 votes in the House of Representatives on clean air and water, lands and wildlife protections, investments in clean energy, and more, to grade the members…. All the Democrats in Maryland’s congressional delegation acquitted themselves well in the LCV scorecard. Both senators, Benjamin L. Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, rang up perfect scores, as did Reps. Jamie B. Raskin and the late Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October. Reps. Anthony G. Brown, Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes and David J. Trone got 97% scores.
The Baltimore Sun editorial board is right on the money about our city's brand new Fair Elections Fund ("Here's how $2.5M can help protect Baltimore residents against public corruption," March 9). To bolster confidence in our political syste, small donors must be empowered to compete with deep-pocketed special interests. Baltimore's groundbreaking effort to institute a citizen-owned clean elections system can get us there.... Drawing on the momentum of local reform efforts all across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives acted on year ago this week to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act — a transformative anti-corruption and clean elections bill that would rebalance power in Washington, uproot entrenched special interests and put the American people back in charge of our democracy. H.R. 1 includes a multiple matching system for congressional campaigns for all the same reasons that Baltimore is pursuing its new system. With the combined energy of local and federal reform efforts, we can clean up political corruption and return power back to the American people — where it belongs.
The Coronavirus Aid Package passed by Congress this week is now a law. President Donald Trump signed the $8.3 billion measure on Friday, providing public health agencies with much-needed resource. Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes, who serves on the House Subcommittee on Health, discusses the new law.
Maryland’s greatest natural resource is getting attention in Congress. The Chesapeake Bay Funding Reauthorization Act provides $90.5 million a year for five years…. U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Baltimore) is a key supporter in continuing that funding. “Last year, in terms of the bay program, we actually protected ourselves and the bay against the draconian mindless cuts that were coming in the president’s budget.” Rep. Sarbanes said. The bill proposes funding to restore clean water, protect drinking water, preserve fish and wildlife habitat and reduce flooding. Six states and the District are included in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, 64,000 square miles and 18 million people, including Maryland and Virginia. “We can make a very powerful case to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that they gotta step up.” Rep. Sarbanes said. “If they truly want to protect clean water and do the right thing for the environment, make sure that the Chesapeake Bay is healthy they should do that in a bipartisan fashion.” The bill has passed the U.S. House, and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin is leading the effort in the Senate.