Md. Environmental Scorecard Finds a Lot to Like

The House chamber in Annapolis. Ninety of 99 House Democrats voted in lockstep with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. File photo

An overwhelming majority of lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly racked up perfect scores in the latest annual report card of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

The report card, released Thursday, used nine votes on the floor of the state Senate and nine floor votes in the House of Delegates, along with committee votes, to grade legislators on their commitment to the environment in this year’s General Assembly session.

The organization characterized 2019 as “a very successful year for conservation” in the legislature, citing the bill to ban Styrofoam and the Clean Energy Jobs Act as major accomplishments.

“With a class of bright and thoughtful first-time legislators joining with our veteran champions there is tremendous opportunity for progress this term,” said Chuck Porcari, Maryland LCV’s interim executive director. “We will all need to work together as the urgency of the climate crisis becomes more apparent with every passing day, and we are proud of the legislation that was written and passed this past legislative session.”

Ten legislators were singled out as “Green Champions” – lawmakers who have earned a 100% environmental score in the current and previous legislative year, possess a lifetime score above 95% since 2011, were primary sponsor for at least one Maryland LCV legislative priority in the past three years and did not support any legislation opposed by Maryland LCV during the most recent legislative session.

The legislators to receive that distinction this year are Sens. Shirley Nathan Pulliam (D-Baltimore County) and Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), along with Dels. Luke V. Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-Montgomery), Tawanna P. Gaines (D-Prince George’s), Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s), Robbyn T. Lewis (D-Baltimore City), Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City), and Nick J. Mosby (D-Baltimore City).

Former Del. Steven W. Lafferty (D), who resigned last month to take a job with Baltimore County government, was also cited.

But most lawmakers in fact voted for LCV priorities this year.

In the Senate, 31 of 32 Democrats received perfect 100% scores. The only Democratic senator who didn’t, Katherine A. Klausmeier of Baltimore County, scored at 90%.

Baltimore County Sen. Christopher R. West was the highest-scoring Republican, racking up an 89% score from LCV. He was followed by Anne Arundel County Sens. Bryan W. Simonaire and Edward Reilly, who each got 50%. Sen. Jack Bailey (R-St. Mary’s) – a former Maryland Department of Natural Resources police officer – and Sen. Jason C. Gallion (R), a farmer, got the lowest Senate scores, 20%.

In the House, 90 of 99 Democrats rang up perfect scores from the LCV. The lowest scoring Democratic was Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes of the Middle Shore, with 56%.

Six Republican delegates – Jason C. Buckel of Allegany County, Rick Impallaria of Baltimore County, Joseph C. Boteler of Baltimore County, Trent Kittleman of Howard County, Warren E. Miller of Howard County, and Christopher T. Adams of the Middle Shore – got zeroes on the LCV report card. Ironically, a vote by Impallaria in the House Economic Matters Committee may have saved the clean energy bill, when he surprised colleagues by voting against an early attempt to kill it.

The highest-scoring Republican in the House was Del. Andrew Cassilly of Harford County, who scored 60%, followed by Del. Kevin B. Hornberger (56%) of Cecil County.

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Wow, it’s awesome to read about the work that Maryland is doing! It requires leaders that are willing to take charge in order to initiate change in the world. Thanks for this great article and keep up the good work!

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