About 140 students from student council programs in Anne Arundel County plan to converge on Annapolis on Wednesday as part of Lobby Day to support a slate of environmental legislation.
According to a release from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), which has been working with the group, the students are in support of bills to increase the Bay Restoration Fund, and to restrict new septic systems and sprawl development.
This is the first time county students are making a concentrated lobbying effort to support environmental bills, Aimee Poisson, administrator for Student Leadership Development in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools, said in the release.
“They are more interested in how they can do something. What can I as a 16-year-old do?” Poisson said.
The Maryland Association of Student Councils chose CBF as its charity of the year in 2011, and the two organizations have been working together since, according to the release.
The Clean Water, Healthy Families Coalition is urging lawmakers to increase the Bay Restoration Fund, also known as the “flush tax.”
The goal is to sufficiently to upgrade sewage plants, septic systems and stormwater systems, according to the release. If an increase is not adequate, legislators should also require local governments to collect stormwater utility fees. The coalition also is asking lawmakers to pass a bill to restrict the proliferation of 100-year-old septic technology in new subdivisions in rural areas, and to steer new growth to rural towns rather than farm fields, according to the release.
Poisson said students have regularly lobbied each year on student-related issues. Those issues are on the students’ agenda again this year, but for the first time they also will lobby for the environmental bills.
The plan is for students to lobby their representatives in staggered groups between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. At the same time groups also plan to meet with foundation scientists at Key Auditorium, St. John’s College. From 2-4 p.m. students will hold their own assembly in Key Auditorium, according to the release.
Bills on the students’ lobby agenda, include:
- SB 236 (support) Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012
- SB 240 (support) Environment—Bay Restoration Fund, Fees
- SB 72 (support) Medical Treatment—Youth-Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants
- SB 110 (oppose) Motor Vehicle Administration—Young Driver Improvement Program, Parent and Guardian Attendance
- HB191 (oppose) State Board of Education—Financial Literacy Curriculum, Graduation Requirement