Greens Call For Further Work on Minimum Wage, Marijuana, Other Issues

The Green Party urges the Maryland General Assembly to work harder to promote economic, environmental and democratic equality for all Marylanders. Despite several "first steps" taken during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly, the Green Party urges lawmakers to continue working toward a sustainable, equitable society for all Marylanders.

The Maryland Minimum Wage Act will raise the Maryland's minimum wage gradually to $10.10 over four years. The Green Party called for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, based on research and statistics by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Greens called Governor O'Malley's and President Obama's focus on a state and federal minimum wage of $10.10 per hour "too little, too late". Greens urge lawmakers to continue working for  a living wage for Marylanders in the 2015 legislative session.

House Bill 490 and Senate Bill 749 - designed to establish collective bargaining rights for Maryland community college employees - failed to advance out of committee hearings. Greens support the democratization of the workplace and the rights of workers to collective bargaining.

The Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Act will become law. The Green Party supports decriminalization of marijuana as a step toward its eventual legalization and urges Maryland lawmakers to continue to shut down the failed "War on Drugs".

The Marijuana Control Act of 2014 - supported by the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, of which the Green Party is a coalition member - did not advance past House and Senate committee hearings. The Marijuana Control Act would have legalized possession, use, and limited growth of marijuana and established a state-wide system of regulation and taxation, which decriminalization did not. The Green Party advocates the full legalization of marijuana and shifting state resources from criminal prosecution of drug use to treatment of addiction as a public health issue.

The Maryland Health Security Act or any other attempt to create a state-wide universal, single-payer health care system did not progress during the 2014 legislative session. The Green Party continues to remind Marylanders that the federal Affordable Care Act is not a universal health care system, and that states are allowed under federal law to create their own systems to ensure that all their citizens receive adequate health care regardless of their ability to pay for private insurance. Vermont is currently the only state to have instituted such a system.

Greens applaud the passage of the Fairness For All Marylanders Act. The Green Party supports equal protections under law for all persons who identify as transgender.

Bills to prohibit hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") received unfavorable reports by both the House Environmental Matters Committee and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. The Green Party urges Maryland legislators to ban this incredibly destructive energy extraction technique during the 2015 session.

After the successful passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act during the 2013 session, development of a sustainable wind energy infrastructure may have stalled in the Maryland General Assembly. The legislature approved a 13 month moratorium on the development of wind turbines off the coast of southern Maryland. The Green Party urges Governor O'Malley to fulfill his commitment to renewable energy and not sign limitations on Maryland's wind energy infrastructure into law.

The Maryland Green Party introduced its "Green New Deal for Maryland" - a comprehensive set of legislative solutions for ongoing economic, environmental, and democratic inequality - before the 2014 legislative session.