Solid Waste Management – Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere

Bill Sponsor: Delegate Hartman 

Committee: Environment and Transportation

Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

Person Submitting:  Jared Schablein,  Chair of the LSPC   


I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB0391 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore. It is a top priority of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and our members to protect the environment and support legislation that would protect our pristine environment for generations to come. HB0391 is a bi-partisan common-sense bill that would better protect the environment from unnecessary pollution and trash.   

Balloons, on average, take six months to 4 years to fully decompose.   Once released into the atmosphere, they can wreak havoc on the environment for long periods. Once the balloon falls back into the environment, its waste poses a risk for wildlife in two significant ways. The first way is being ingested by wild animals attracted to the color, ribbons, and tassels. Eating the balloon is often a death sentence for the animal.  The second way it poses a risk to wildlife is the balloon waste forming the perfect trap for animals to become entangled.  Once entangled, the animal is often trapped until it dies or continues to live with extreme discomfort and limited mobility.

It is for these reasons the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.

A Progressive Love Letter to Somerset County

So I have been reading Obama's The Audacity of Hope.

Based on what is going on right now, I'm having a hard time seeing where the hope fits in. From what I can glean from history, once LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 this pissed off a whole segment of our country (the white supremacist God, guns & country segment) who had previously supported the New Deal vision of fair wages and benefits, patronage and public works, and an ever-rising standard of living for Americans. Suddenly, this segment of America decided that the New Deal vision of fair wages and benefits, patronage and public works, and an ever-rising standard of living should be for only some Americans, not all Americans.

I live in an area where the majority of the population represent the God, guns & country vision of America, one where minority folks do not enjoy the same privileges as many, if not most, of their white counterparts. Although I vote and campaign for progressive ideals, I live in Trump country.

Interestingly enough, this area and specifically Somerset County, used to be economically successful and a bright spot in Maryland. Yet, decades of keeping certain people in charge, not adapting as the market changed, not allowing for new growth, calling people who migrated to the area 'Come Heres', and keeping things the same, has resulted in economic decline for Somerset County, specifically for Crisfield, MD. Many people in Crisfield have tried to bring new business, arts, tourism, etc. to the community. Over my 15 years living here, although there have been small successes, the community is still just hanging on.

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LSPC FYP Partnership


Media Contact:

Seamus Benn

(443) 523-2195

[email protected]




Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and Fenix Youth Project Form Partnership To Better Serve the Lower Shore

SALISBURY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 -- The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and Fenix Youth Project are excited to announce that they will be forming a partnership to more constructively serve everyone, but more specifically, the youth, on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. This alignment will help strengthen youth activism and community organizing; advocate for criminal justice reform on a state and local level; and provide skills and opportunities to make legislative changes.

“As a fellow youth activist, it’s important to give back and provide resources to other youth activists to get their voices heard,” said 22 year-old Chair of LSPC, Jared Schablien. 

“We are in the middle of an uprising of young leaders and changemakers; as adults it’s our responsibility to prepare youth for the torch we must pass along to them,” said Amber Green, Executive Director of Fenix Youth Project. “This is our responsibility and I’m grateful that LSPC is willing to answer that call.” 

This new and remarkable partnership will:  

  • Strengthen youth activism and community organizing in the Lower Eastern Shore region by offering workshops, classes, and opportunities to organize effectively in the community.
  • Put young voices of the Lower Eastern Shore on the frontlines of advocating for criminal justice reform on a state and local level.
  • Provide skills and opportunities to make legislative changes on a local and state level. 

To get involved with either one of these organizations more information can be found at https://www.lowershoreprogressives.com and http://www.fenixyouthproject.org/.



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Lower Shore Progressive Caucus endorses Jessica Scarane for Senate.

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus endorses Jessica Scarane for Senate. 


SALISBURY, MD (July 13, 2020) -- This year, members of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus voted to support several progressive candidates running for office. With this goal in mind, we encourage all our friends on the Delaware side of the Eastern Shore to support progressive champion Jessica Scarane in her bid to unseat conservative, pro-corporateSenator Chris Coons in the 2020 Democratic Primary on September 15th.

Jessica Scarane is the fresh new leadership that Delaware and the United States Senate desperately need after decades of massive wealth inequality, corporate pollution and climate change, an affordable housing crisis, and mass incarceration. Jessica’s campaign is a grassroots, people-funded movement that rejects all corporate PAC money. She is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All, a universal housing guarantee, a Green New Deal, and ending our nation’s endless wars These policies are crucial in America’s recovery effort from the COVID-19 pandemic and are critical for helping us build a better country and world.


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Lower Shore Progressive Caucus announces formation of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus Political Action Committee

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus announces formation of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus Political Action Committee

Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore— 9/3/20 Today at their monthly member meeting, the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus announced the approval by the State Board of Elections of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus Political Action Committee (LSPC PAC). 


Mission Statement of the LSPC PAC:

The mission of the LSPC PAC is to promote the election and re-election of candidates for public office who share the ideals and causes of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.



            As part of the fundraising efforts of the LSPC PAC, the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus is requesting contributions to the Political Action Committee so that they may begin their work to provide support to candidates and engage in voter outreach. For electronic donations please visit the Act Blue link at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/lower-shore-progressive-caucus-pac-1


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A rebuke to MD-01 Rep. Andy Harris

May 2, 2020
Congressman Andy Harris, M.D.
2334 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Harris,
          Here we are May 2020; Let me start by saying that your behavior on 05/02/2020 was reckless.  This COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-growing tragedy.  Being as though you are a physician, I would honestly expect more from you. (I am not sure why) YOU are a disgrace to every single elected official across this state. Governor Hogan has set measures in place to protect the citizens of Maryland, and you do not care. Let me explain something to you, opening this state will KILL us! How dare you take part in a rally to reopen the state, you’re not dependable! 
          As of yesterday, we had 1,730 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the state of Maryland.  I realize even with the stern guidelines; this state is becoming more ill by the day. I have so much more to say, but you will not care. YOU ARE AN IDIOT! There have been many instances where we needed your help, and you did not show up. However, you did today; you showed up in a big way.
         Back in 2011, I met you at the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake; I remember it like it was yesterday.  My boss encouraged me to stay away from you, yet I still took a picture with you.  I did not understand at the time why Jim did not like you.  Over the years, I have grown to understand.  In March 2019, The National League of cities set up a meeting with you and I.  When I showed up to your office, they treated me like a second-class citizen. THEN you never met with me.  I was extremely disappointed, I thought you would want to interact with officials from the Eastern Shore.
         You are not concerned with the well-being of Marylanders; you are concerned with life-risking labor.  YOU are corrupt, and WE WANT YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM THE EASTERN SHORE, just like you normally do. 
Todd J. Nock
District 4 Council Member
City of Pocomoke City

The Voice of Stability during Covid-19: Salisbury's Mayor Jacob Day

The Voice of Stability during Covid-19: Salisbury's Mayor Jacob Day

The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused significant stress on all aspects of life. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and struggle to operate what many would consider a healthy daily life. In addition to new daily stressors is the anxiety that comes from trying to figure out how we will continue to pay bills and avoid getting sick during these trying times. While millions struggle, the federal government has failed to put forth any meaningful response to provide aid to working-class people or slow the spread of this deadly disease.

Fortunately for us here on the Lower Eastern Shore, we have had a voice of stability and guidance in Mayor Jacob Day of Salisbury. Since this outbreak started, Mayor Day continues to relay crucial information that we need to stay safe and flatten the curve and to answer questions asked by the community via a daily video briefing on Facebook live.

Mayor Day has worked around the clock with our state and federal representatives to address things such as getting relief aid for our communities and ensuring constituents still get the state and federal resources they need.

Finally, Mayor Day has stepped up by implementing an emergency declaration to fight the spread of Covid-19 here. His orders include:

  • limiting the number of occupants who can be in retail or commercial facilities at one time;
  • prohibiting all self-serve foods and product sampling;
  • ensuring that cleaning guidelines set by the CDC and MDH are followed;
  • requiring a minimum of six feet of distance in lines, outside and inside stores; and
  • establishing 1 to 2 exclusive hours per day for high-risk populations, such as senior citizens and other high risk populations.

These measures will establish the conditions needed to reduce the spread of the disease and help keep the community safe. While the world around us exhibits instability and chaos due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it is reassuring to know that our community is taking action to fight this disease, and that we have the stability to overcome this all from calm leadership of Mayor Jacob Day.

Written by Jared Schablein

Chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

On migrant workers in Maryland

     Just past midnight on a Saturday morning twenty-eight year old Melva Guadalupe Vázquez of Ciudad del Maíz, México wakes up to her phone alarm in a cramped bedroom she shares with five other women in Woolford, Maryland on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. She puts on her work uniform, which despite washing still reeks of crabs, and heads out into the darkness to walk a quarter-mile to Lindy’s Seafood, where the graveyard shift is due to begin at 2 a.m. A half hour later she is part of a team of a dozen women on the picking line as crabs are wheeled in on a huge dolly and put in piles on a long, stainless steel table. Vázquez puts on her fingerless blue gloves, picks up a crab and cracks the shell. She then quickly maneuvers her two small knives to extract the meat and puts it into a small plastic container labeled #9. A supervisor will record how much she has produced during the shift, so she works fast, deshelling roughly two crabs per minute. No one speaks while working. Spanish music plays on one of the women's iPhone. Most of them spend the time thinking of their children back home. At 7 a.m. Vázquez takes an hour for lunch, when she puts a Band-Aid on a self-inflicted cut to a finger on her right hand, which burns painfully from the salt. She works another 4 hours for a total of 10 -- there are a lot of crabs to process that day. Now it’s 1 p.m., and exhausted she walks back home in the bright midday sun. She is looking forward to tomorrow, Sunday, the one day she usually gets off, when she plans to attend church and do grocery shopping.

                                       *                                                        *                                                            *

     Like the Jim Crow laws of the 19th century that enforced racial segregation in the U.S., there are ways in which our modern day temporary immigrant visa system resembles the historical institution of slavery. There are differences of course. Workers come to America of their own free will, and they are in principle afforded equal protection under the law, both in the workplace and as visitors to our country. For instance, they are entitled to enroll in the ACA if they choose while they are here. However, they are effectively segregated from the general population and take up the kind of low-paying, manual labor that occurs out of the sight and mind of most people. They are also subjected to not-so-subtle forms of racial discrimination that is inspired these days directly from Washington. “A lot of the Hispanic people are afraid of going to certain stores because there are some people who look at them disapprovingly,” said Margarita Marquez, an outreach worker. “But they know how to avoid those situations.”


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TESTIMONY FOR SB0701 Maryland Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End of Life Option Act


                                             Maryland Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End of Life Option Act 

Bill Sponsor: Senator Waldstreicher

Committee: Judicial Proceedings

Organization Submitting:   Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

Person Submitting:   Marie Velong 


Honorable Committee Members: 

On behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus, I am writing today in support of the Richard E Israel and Roger "Pip" Moyer Maryland End of Life Option Act to authorize medical aid in dying in our state. I would strongly encourage the committee to vote for this compassionate option that would allow a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with six months or less to live, the choice to receive a prescription for self-ingested medication enabling a peaceful, pain-free death. 

In my 72 years of life, I have helped many of my pets to achieve a pain-free death because of the pain they were currently in. When I had to watch my husband, mother and other people I cared about die in so much pain, I could not understand why we can show so much compassion to our animals and not the people we love. Even convicts on death row get more consideration. We should at least have the option for a better death. People choose when and how they will give birth, why can't they choose when and how they themselves can leave this earth? 

By supporting the Maryland End of Life Option Act, I hope my home state is the next to join eight states and the District of Columbia in authorizing medical aid in dying. Thank you for representing me, The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus and others in this state. I truly hope you will vote  Favorable on this bill that is so vitally important to me and our organization.

Updates from the legislative committee

Recap of legislative committee activities:

We started out the season with a two-meeting review of a substantial list of legislative items the LSPC and the Maryland Legislative Coalition had supported in the last session, and narrowed in on six items from that list that the committee would make top priorities. 

One item, an idea for a bill that would help young people with disabilities transition into the workforce, never made it onto paper this session. In retrospect, we could have encouraged one of our representatives to pick up the ball on this one, or I guess we could have submitted draft legislation – not sure how that works - but we waited too long, and will have to revisit this next session. 

The remaining five are 

  1.  Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education
  2.  Single Payer Healthcare
  3.  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO, moratorium on the Eastern Shore
  4.  End of Life Act
  5.  Correctional Facilities and Police Officers – Immigration status


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