priorities

Maryland PIRGs 2022 Legislative Priorities

The legislative session provides a unique opportunity to make progress on some of the most pressing issues in our state. We’ll weigh in on dozens of policy proposals in the next few months, but here are our top priorities.

 | 
Emily Scarr
Maryland PIRG State Director

Author: Emily Scarr

Maryland PIRG State Director

(410) 467-9389

Started on staff: 2005
B.A., Vassar College

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Recently, Emily helped win small donor public financing in Montgomery County, Howard County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City; the Family and Firefighter Protection Act to ban flame retardants in children's products, furniture and mattresses; and, the Maryland Keep Antibiotics Effective Act to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms. Emily serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition, the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working, and the Maryland Tobacco Free Kids Coalition. She also serves on the Steering Committees for the Maryland Pesticide Action Network and Marylanders for Open Government. Emily lives in Baltimore with her husband, children, and dog.

Today marks the beginning of my ninth legislative session in Annapolis, and Maryland PIRG’s 50th!

I’ve learned a lot in the last nine years, expanding on our half-century legacy as a scrappy and effective group working towards a bold vision with a pragmatic approach. From passing the nation’s strongest law to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and reducing our childrens’ exposure to lead and other toxic chemicals to passing bi-partisan democracy reforms, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in my time here, but I have a feeling our biggest accomplishments are yet to come.

The legislative session provides a unique opportunity to make progress on some of the most pressing issues in our state. We’ll weigh in on dozens of policy proposals in the next few months, but here are our top priorities:

Stop Toxic PFAS: Toxic PFAS chemicals have been found in 75% of the drinking water tested by the Maryland Department of Environment. These chemicals are often called 'forever chemicals' because they don't break down in our bodies or our environment, and they have been linked to negative health impacts. It's time to stop the use of PFAS chemicals in food packaging and carpets and to switch to safer alternatives in fire fighting foam.

Expanding Access to Repair: Electronics manufacturers intentionally make things harder to repair which increases costs to consumers and leads to excess waste. We need to give consumers and small businesses access to the parts, tools and service information they need to repair products so we can keep things in use and reduce waste.

Climate Solutions: A healthy climate is key to a healthy and safe future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. We’ll support efforts to strengthen Maryland's greenhouse gas reduction goals, accelerate our transition to electric buildings and transportation, improve energy efficiency, and ensure consumer protections in energy distribution and generation.

Strengthening our Democracy: We’re backing policies to improve our elections systems, establish special elections for General Assembly vacancies, and strengthen our campaign finance laws to promote transparency and participation and reduce the role of wealthy and corporate donors in Maryland elections.

Infrastructure Investments: The national bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act directs historic investments to Maryland, and provides an opportunity to protect Marylanders’ health and our environment. We’re calling on Gov. Hogan and the General Assembly to swiftly make investments to reduce lead in drinking water, electrify our transportation, expand access to broadband, and improve our transportation systems.

Advocating for reform is never easy, and doing so during a pandemic provides both opportunities and additional challenges to our work. But I know from experience that when we combine strong research, passionate grassroots support, strategic advocacy, and smart policy and policymakers, we can win on these issues and more. 

We’ll keep you updated on our work during the 90 day legislative session, and you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the most timely updates. Thank you for providing us with the support we need to work on these issues and deliver results for Marylanders.

Emily Scarr
Maryland PIRG State Director

Author: Emily Scarr

Maryland PIRG State Director

(410) 467-9389

Started on staff: 2005
B.A., Vassar College

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Recently, Emily helped win small donor public financing in Montgomery County, Howard County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City; the Family and Firefighter Protection Act to ban flame retardants in children's products, furniture and mattresses; and, the Maryland Keep Antibiotics Effective Act to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms. Emily serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition, the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working, and the Maryland Tobacco Free Kids Coalition. She also serves on the Steering Committees for the Maryland Pesticide Action Network and Marylanders for Open Government. Emily lives in Baltimore with her husband, children, and dog.