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Progressive Groups Press Case for Bottled-Up Clean Energy Bill

More than 20 progressive and community groups hand-delivered a letter to every member of the House of Delegates Monday night, urging them to pressure House leaders to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

The bill, which would mandate that the state’s electric utilities get 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030, passed in the state Senate two weeks ago but has been bottled up in the House.

“All of our member groups were deeply involved in knocking on doors, working directly on campaigns, and doing everything we could to elect candidates with strong environmental records to the Maryland Legislature during the last election cycle,” the groups wrote.

“We consider the Clean Energy Jobs Act to be one of the most important bills to be considered in the legislature this year. We are concerned that the House Economic Matters Committee has not felt the urgency to enact legislation to combat climate change this legislative session.”

The committee in fact attempted to kill the bill last month, but fell one vote short of doing so – even though the panel’s leader, Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), said he expected the measure to pass sometime during this four-year legislative term.

So the House version sits in the Economic Matters Committee, while the Senate version sits in the Rules Committee, where it can’t be acted upon unless the Rules panel votes it out. The Rules Committee last met Monday night – without acting on the Clean Energy Jobs Act – and meets next Wednesday morning.

In a brief interview Tuesday, Davis pledged that his committee would vote on the bill before the legislative session ends next Monday.

“We’re definitely going to vote,” he said. “When that’s going to be, I don’t know yet. We’re getting to that point [in the session] where we need to decide something.”

Davis said he could not predict how his colleagues on the committee would vote.

The groups signing the letter to House lawmakers were:

Maryland Legislative Coalition
Baltimore County Progressive Democrats Club
Catonsville Indivisibles
DoTheMostGood MoCo
Earth Coalition
Indivisible Baltimore
Indivisible Central Maryland
Indivisible Dorchester
Indivisible Howard County
Indivisible Montgomery
Indivisible North Baltimore County
Indivisible Worcester
Kent and Queen Anne’s County Indivisible
Laurel Resist
Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
Our Revolution Maryland
Salisbury State College Democrats
Take Action AAC
Takoma Park Mobilization
Together We Will – Baltimore Area
WISE
Women’s Alliance for Democracy and Justice

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