Black Caucus Plans Long-Term Policy Agenda

The Maryland Black Caucus Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, has embarked on a months-long process to put together a policy proposal it’s calling the 2030 Maryland Black Agenda.

The idea, said Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), chairman of the Black Caucus, is to roll out the policy agenda early in the 2019 legislative session. The caucus, he said, considers it a “road map” that will be presented to the governor and result in legislation to try to achieve the members’ policy goals.

In the months ahead, the caucus will be working together and with a variety of policy experts and stakeholders to craft the document.

“We’re looking for consensus, a collective buy-in of what the black agenda means,” Barnes said.

 

Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Darryl Barnes

For starters, lawmakers said, the agenda will be built around five pillars: affordable housing; criminal justice reform; education; health care; and economic justice. But Barnes suggested adding the environment to the list.

“That’s one of those things that’s typically left out of the conversation when you talk about African-American communities,” he said.

In the months ahead, the caucus will examine national and state data, consider what the state government currently invests to address priority issues, look at best practices around the country, and sketch out a five-year plan of action.

The conversation will continue at the foundation’s unity breakfast in Greenbelt on July 7, and lawmakers will spend a lot of time on the proposal during the caucus’ annual legislative weekend in the fall.

Barnes said the caucus aims to have a finished product in time for its annual meeting with the governor – whomever that may be – which usually takes place early in the legislative session. Legislation is sure to follow.

“The goal for 2030 is to make what we consider marked change,” said Darius A. Stanton, a management consultant who will serve as the primary facilitator for the public discussions. “We want to see forward motion, so it’s not just seen as something we do and put on the shelf.”

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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