Maryland Green Party Calls for Constitutional Protection for Reproductive Rights

April 21, 2022

The Maryland Green Party urges state legislators to prioritize guaranteeing the right to contraception and abortion in the state's Constitution. Vermont passed a similar amendment proposal - Proposition 5 - earlier this year, which will go before Vermont voters this fall.

“As an elder, I’ve been working for reproductive rights for nearly 50 years in Maryland, and we’re losing ground instead of making progress. We need a party that’s serious about protecting access to birth control and abortion as medical options–and that’s the Green Party,” said Maryland Green Party co-chair Mary Rooker.

The Green Party has defined health care - including abortion care - as a human right since the party's initial platform in 2000. The Green Party continues to unequivocally support reproductive freedom, including contraception and legal abortion.

While Maryland is considered protective of abortion rights, it is vital to protect abortion rights and Maryland abortion providers through a Constitutional amendment protecting the procedure. Recent laws and bills in states such as Texas and Missouri target both in-state and out-of-state abortion providers with criminal and civil liability for providing abortion services. The Abortion Care Access Act passed over Governor Hogan's veto on April 9 does nothing to address this new conservative strategy.

Maryland must act to protect abortion providers by amending its Constitution to give the highest level of protection to abortion care and take further action to protect Maryland abortion providers from legal liability for providing abortion care.

In addition to amending its Constitution to protect contraception and abortion, Maryland should join California and Connecticut in proposing bills to protect Maryland abortion providers from lawsuits filed by out-of-state abortion opponents.
According to David Cohen, a professor at Drexel University, "states should enact laws that block law enforcement agencies from cooperating with civil or criminal out-of-state investigations related to the legal provision of abortion in their states."

The Maryland Green Party urges state legislators to pursue the highest protections for reproductive freedom by working to amend the state Constitution to protect contraception and abortion care.

The Maryland Green Party Needs Your Help to Keep Its Ballot Status

July 30, 2019

Dear Supporter,

Last weekend was the Green Party's national meeting in Salem, Massachusetts. Several Maryland Greens were there to share notes on strategy and hear about projects Greens around the country are working on. One goal the party has set is to get our Presidential nominee on the ballot in all fifty states and DC!

For the first time in nearly twenty years, the Maryland Green Party is on the outside looking in. After losing ballot status last year, we have to submit 10,000 valid signatures by next summer to nominate a Presidential candidate in 2020 and candidates for local office in 2020 and 2022.

We have a plan, but we need your help. Part of our strategy is to hire a part-time ballot access coordinator to collect signatures, coordinate volunteers working throughout the state, and work with local parties to make our ballot access drive as efficient as possible. Because of your past support we are in good shape to make this hire, but we need to budget to make sure we can pay a coordinator throughout the rest of the year.

Please donate today!

We need to raise $1,000 in the next week so we can hire a ballot access coordinator to make sure the Maryland Green Party gets back on the ballot for 2020 and 2022. Can you make a contribution today?

You can also help us hire more staff and invest in long-term projects by making a monthly pledge. Click here make a monthly contribution to support the long-term growth of the Maryland Green Party.

Thank you for your support! Since the MGP was established, we've never missed an election. With your help, we will keep our streak alive and give voters the choices they want in 2020 and 2022.

Universal Basic Income — Not Stop BEZOS Act — is the Solution to Poverty

September 7, 2018

Ian Schlakman Green Party nominee for Governor of Maryland calls on Congress to stop finding ways to patch a broken welfare system and focus their efforts on establishing a basic income guarantee.

"Senator Sanders introduced the
Stop BEZOS Act, which he frames as a mechanism for making corporations pay their fair share," said Schlakman. "In reality, he is looking for a permanent funding option for inefficient welfare programs that keep Americans dependent on means-tested assistance, and would keep them permanently poor. A universal basic income is the fastest and most efficient permanent solution to poverty."

Stop BEZOS Act is an attempt to shame uber-wealthy CEOs into paying their workers more and improving conditions in their factories," said Schlakman. "But shame cannot work in the capitalist system. Jeff Bezos' job is to maximize profits for his shareholders, no matter what. He is so rich he can insulate himself from any attempts to shame him. We need to invest in programs like a basic income guarantee that do not rely on shaming wealthy individuals to support their workers. We need our representatives to step up and take on that responsibility."

Stop BEZOS Act would require large corporations to pay a new tax equal to the amount of benefits their employees draw from federal SNAP, school lunch, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing benefits.

"I believe dignified housing, food, and medical care are human rights, and should be provided unconditionally," said Schlakman. "But current federal programs are conditional and rooted in the capitalist market system, and Senator Sanders' plan only works as long as people stay poor and corporations and their CEOs stay rich. Even if Amazon and Wal-Mart were funding Medicaid and SNAP completely, people can only access those programs if they are living below a poverty level. We need to abandon these programs and others like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and use those resources to fund an unconditional program like a Basic Income Guarantee."

Schlakman has called for a new millionaire's tax and higher corporate tax rates to fund a program which would provide every adult Marylander with a monthly payment of $1,000. The benefit would not be dependent on ability, employment status, or income level. Schlakman also advocates a federal basic income guarantee.

"We need to take radical action to address the wealth imbalance that has widened in the past thirty years," said Schlakman. "Forcing Amazon to kick in a few dollars for the same welfare programs that put us here won't help. We need to abandon that failed patchwork and focus on universal health care, universal housing, and a universal basic income."

Ian Schlakman's Top Priority for Maryland is a Basic Income Guarantee

August 8, 2018

Ian Schlakman Green Party nominee for Governor of Maryland is highlighting his support for a basic income guarantee as a key difference between himself and all other candidates in the 2018 election.

"Big business will not provide economic prosperity for all Marylanders" said Schlakman. "Neither will small business. I am a small business owner and a champion of small businesses, but we have to acknowledge that relying on the capitalist business model will not provide economic prosperity for all Marylanders. Not even a jobs guarantee can do that. To do our duty to protect every resident of Maryland from hunger, from homelessness, and from struggling to get by every day, we have to establish a basic income guarantee."

A basic income guarantee is a version of established benefit programs such as Social Security. Under a basic income guarantee, every resident receives a payment from the government on a monthly basis, regardless of their age, ability, or employment status. Recipients of a guaranteed income payments are free to seek additional employment.

"As Governor, I will begin rolling out a basic income guarantee immediately by providing every resident of Baltimore City with $1,000 monthly to cover their basic living expenses - food, housing, electricity, and household necessities. Our state government has deviated from its responsibility to care for people. I will not bend over backwards to promote business with the hope that higher profits and few more percentage points of GDP will trickle down, because it won't."

After initiating the program in Baltimore City, Schlakman plans to initiate it in the Maryland counties with the lowest income per capita
Somerset and Caroline Counties on the Eastern Shore, and Allegany and Garrett Counties in Western Maryland. The program will soon provide a basic income guarantee to every Maryland resident.

"I support a federal basic income guarantee, and have worked to promote the idea with Basic Income Action, a non-profit group I helped found," said Schlakman. "I've worked with many experts from around the work, and they agree - establishing a basic income guarantee is the most effective way to eliminate poverty. It's better than expanded welfare programs, better than a jobs guarantee, and certainly better than pumping up the capitalist business model in the hope that more profits will magically elevate poor and working class people.

"I support a jobs guarantee only after we have established a basic income guarantee," said Schlakman. "Our first priority has to be to provide for the dignity of all people by making sure they can survive, with their housing, food, and basic necessities guaranteed. Every adult will be provided a basic income, and everyone will be free to work in addition to their basic income. But if our reforms create a situation in which people have to work in order to survive, millions of people in this country are going to stay poor. We have to prioritize helping everyone out of poverty before we expand our efforts."

Approximately 40 million Americans are living with "severe impairments," as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Schlakman is particularly concerned about people with disabilities, older populations, and people with child care responsibilities being pressured to work instead of being supported by a basic income guarantee. "Forcing people to work without guaranteeing them a basic income is cruel," said Schlakman. "It reminds me of the 'workfare' requirements established by the Clinton Administration in the 1990s. We would be pushing people out of their homes where they are needed into unskilled jobs that provide them with little value beyond their manual labor. We can
and must do better."

Schlakman supports expanding state or federal programs to provide more skilled jobs and job training, and promotes the idea of massive investments in infrastructure tied to jobs programs. He insists that a basic income guarantee is a better solution for solving poverty.

"I support a massive investment in our energy infrastructure, our transit infrastructure, and our technology infrastructure," said Schlakman, "not because I want to put people to work but because I believe revitalizing those systems are critical to our survival. We need to transition to 100% clean renewable energy immediately, and to do so we have to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in wind and solar technology, retrofitting, research, construction, and other industries. We have to build an efficient mass transit system, and to do so we need to create jobs in both construction and design. We need to close the digital divide, and to do that we need people working both in technology and construction to wire all our cities for free municipal internet. We need to do these things because they are critical to our survival, not because we need to put people to work."

"Democrats who support a jobs guarantee but aren't calling for a basic income guarantee are acting out of fear," said Schlakman. "They want to say they are solving poverty, but instead of working for the most efficient solution
a basic income guarantee they call for a jobs guarantee because it is politically expedient. They will try to appeal to their liberal base as poverty fighters while being able to tell Republican voters that they put people to work. I don't believe you can make radical change and play both sides."

Schlakman is calling for a state-wide basic income guarantee of $1,000 per month per adult, regardless of age, ability or employment status.

A mIllionaire's tax can pay for a basic income guarantee, universal single-payer health care, and other programs designed to lift all Marylanders out of poverty.

"Maryland leads the nation in the number of millionaires per capita," said Schlakman, "and the Hogan administration has spent the past four years paving the way for more wealthy people to expand their businesses, pay fewer taxes, and deal with fewer administrative hurdles to getting and keeping more money. It is time that those who have benefited from this environment contribute their fair share and take on a small additional tax responsibility to help fund revolutionary poverty-ending programs."

Schlakman is the only candidate in this year's gubernatorial race to advocate a basic income guarantee, which would provide a guaranteed income of $1,000 per month to every adult resident of Maryland.

"The number of 'penta-millionaires', that is, people with $5 million or more in liquid wealth, has increased almost ten percent in the last year," said Schlakman, "and Maryland is one of the states with highest number of these ultra-weathy households. The top 1% of U.S. households now control over 25% of the liquid wealth in the United States, about $9.7 trillion. This is where I look to fund programs designed to eliminate poverty."

Schlakman points out that the top marginal tax rate in the United States has decreased from almost 90% in the 1950s to approximately 45% today.

"Bringing back the high marginal tax rates that were on the books sixty years ago would have an even more dramatic effect today," said Schlakman. "In reality, most wealthy people were not taxed at the highest rates back then, because the rates only applied to those were making an equivalent of $2 million annually. Not many people were that wealthy then, but because wealth is so concentrated at the top of households now, those higher tax rates would apply to many more millionaires, penta-millionaires and billionaires. Because those households are so vastly wealthy they can afford to pay higher rates without the responsibility affecting their way of life, and the funds collected would let us fund the revolutionary programs I am calling for, like a basic income guarantee and government-funded universal health care. I see this as a win-win scenario."

Schlakman also plans to fund a basic income guarantee by diverting funds for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grants and new taxes on casino gambling, lotteries, alcohol, and cigarettes.

"Despite the name, TANF funds don't actually go to needy families, they are paid to states as block grants from the federal government," Schlakman said. "Maryland's TANF funds are allocated poorly and should be used instead to fund a universal basic income, which will benefit every adult and every needy family in Maryland without means tests, or work requirements."

"Simply put," Schlakman said, "our government's top priority must be eliminating poverty and all the associated negative impacts of poverty. Anyone arguing otherwise need to defend their position and explain to the people of Maryland why something else is more important."

Schlakman considers a basic income guarantee a human right and urges local, state, and national governments to establish basic income guarantees in preparation for
not in response to automation and other economic developments.

"As a small business owner and advocate for worker cooperatives, I am not campaigning on bringing bigger business to Maryland," said Schlakman. "Big business yields big control over communities. Big business makes communities dependent on the success of the big business. Big business is only concerned with profits and marketing. Lately big businesses and their billionaire owners have been marketing their efforts by talking about piloting basic income guarantees. This is a bad idea. Our governments
local, state, and federal need to step up and establish publicly controlled and overseen basic income programs before we turn to CEOs to privatize yet another essential service."

"Last month President Obama gave a speech in which he said that 'we’re going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income' after mentioning the threat technology poses to jobs", said Schlakman. "An opinion columnist for Blooomberg News responded with an article titled 'Obama and Bezos Could Make Basic Income Work'. This is dangerous thinking. Tech billionaires want to rinse their corporate reputations after they put tens of thousands of people out of work. We need to provide for every Marylander and every American because it's our moral obligation to take care of people, not because we want to insulate Amazon or Tesla or some other corporation from the consequences of layoffs."

"The dream of automation was always to put work into the hands of robots and computers so human workers could relax, contribute to their communities outside of the factory, and live fulfilling lives," said Schlakman. "It was never force millions of Americans to have to struggle working two or three jobs or stay in the homes and eat decent meals."

Schlakman advocates immediately establishing a basic income guarantee in Baltimore City, then quickly rolling out the program to Allegany and Garrett Counties in Western Maryland and Somerset and Caroline Counties on the Eastern Shore, the lowest-earning counties in Maryland. "I am not advocating a pilot program," said Schlakman. "The research has been done, experts have weighed in and we know that the most efficient way to solve poverty is through a basic income guarantee. Billionaire capitalists are obsessed with demonstrating their skills with data, and they always talk about piloting basic income programs. People are not data points and have the right to basic support regardless of how pilot programs perform."

"As Governor, I will make sure Marylanders will have a basic income guaranteed. I am the only candidate calling for this, and I'm not calling for a pilot or a study. We're going to get it done."

Ian Schlakman Calls for Public Ownership and Oversight of Water, Health Care, Housing, Electricity, and Internet

August 10, 2018

Ian Schlakman
Green Party nominee for Governor of Maryland applauds the Baltimore City Council for passing a proposal for banning the sale of Baltimore's water system to private operators.

"Giving the people the choice to ban the privatization of their water is a good first step," Schlakman said. "But we need to take a step further and socialize our water utility so we can work toward providing quality water to all Baltimoreans regardless of their ability to afford it. I urge Baltimore and all jurisdictions in Maryland to move toward a public water utility."

Schlakman urges the city to further steps to establish community control and accountability over utilities that are vital to the everyday lives of Baltimoreans.

"I want the city of Baltimore and state of Maryland to investigate taking over Comcast and providing broadband internet access as a public utility," said Schlakman.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party's nominee for Governor of New York, is calling on the state to take over Spectrum, the state's leading internet provider, after Spectrum's party company Charter failed to live up to the requirements of a 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable. "The New York State Public Service Commission has ordered Spectrum to be sold after their merger requirements weren't met," said Schlakman. "I call on the Maryland Public Service Commission to examine Comcast's treatment of consumers and investigate ways to establish public control of internet as a utility."

Schlakman also urges the Maryland Public Service Commission to investigate BGE's and PEPCO's treatment of electricity consumers and make recommendations for establishing a public electricity utility. "We need to make dramatic changes in the way we power our lives," said Schlakman. "In response to the climate crisis, I have already called for a massive investment so we establish a 100% clean renewable energy infrastructure. As we are making this transition we need to make a transition in how our energy is administered and paid for. I support greening and socializing our grid and treating electricity as a publicly-owned utility."

Schlakman considers health care and housing to be human rights and supports programs for universal, single-payer health care and universal housing.

"I support a National Improved Medicare-for-All system," said Schlakman, "and would work to create a system that provides care for every Marylander regardless of their ability to pay. We have world-leading medical resources in Maryland and need to leverage them in a way that benefits everyone."

"We also have an amazing stock of existing housing that is more than enough for everyone who needs affordable housing," said Schlakman. "We can provide good quality jobs for tens of thousands of Marylanders by rehabbing and retrofitting thousands of vacant homes and providing them at low or no cost to Marylanders experiencing homelessness.

"Public housing, particularly in Baltimore, is a joke," Schlakman said. "My running mate Rev. Annie Chambers fights this battle every day as a public housing resident and member of the city's Resident Advisory Board. Our campaign is committed to radical changes in public housing policy. Our first priority will not be to realtors, builders, or investors. It will be to people struggling to pay for housing or experiencing homelessness."

The Maryland Green Party Responds to the 2015 State of the State Address

February 5, 2015

In response to his first State of the State address this week, the Maryland Green Party urges Governor Larry Hogan to consider Green values as he plots his administration's "new direction" for Maryland.

Governor Hogan spent a significant amount of his address outlining plans for resolving what he described as "economic problems". Governor Hogan focused on "high taxes, over-regulation, and an anti-business attitude" as the basis for what the Governor views as sub-par growth and competitiveness. The Green Party urges Governor Hogan and all members of the General Assembly to adapt alternative means for measuring the state's success, and to recognize that stagnant economic growth
regardless of planning or regulatory schemes will be inevitable as we continue to use more resources than are naturally available to us.

In 2013, Governor Martin O'Malley introduced a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as an alternate means for measuring success beyond traditional productivity measures. While the state's Department of Natural Resources advertises the GPI measure as an "index for sustainable prosperity," the O'Malley administration did little to promote the measure. The Green Party urges the Hogan administration to promote the GPI as the main tool for determining the success of Maryland's business, regulatory and tax agenda.

Governor Hogan highlighted several of his administration's tax priorities, including the elimination of income tax on retirement and pension income and cuts to taxes on personal property for small business owners. The Green Party believes that the Governor's responsibility as chief executive is the prosperity of all Marylanders, not just those living on a public service pension or those who own a business. In order to ensure economic justice for all Marylanders, the Green Party calls for an immediate increase in the state minimum wage (currently set to phase in by mid-2018), an additional increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and the establishment of a statewide living wage. The Green Party also calls for a national basic income guarantee ("Social Security for All") and universal, single-payer health care ("Medicare for All"). Maryland can be a leader among states by implementing both programs on the state level.

Governor Hogan pledged to improve public transportation, and promised to "give counties and municipalities the most money they have received for road improvements since Fiscal Year 2009". The Green Party urges the Hogan administration to resolve decades of uncertainty over the Baltimore Red Line and DC-area Purple Line projects, and make a commitment to funding safe and reliable transportation for all Marylanders, even those without access to private transit.

Governor Hogan said that it is "time for a new approach" on protecting the Chesapeake Bay. The Green Party is concerned that the Hogan administration's "new approach" relies on a continually-disproved "hands-off" approach to waste and resource exploitation. The Green Party urges a national fee-and-dividend system for lowering climate emissions, under which producers of climate-changing gases would be charged per unit of emissions. Maryland can once again be a leader among states by moving toward adopting this model, and expanding it to nitrogen, phosphorous and other water-based pollutants.

Governor Hogan highlighted the value of the Chesapeake Bay and the issue of stormwater management early in his address, and promised to repeal the Stormwater Remediation Fee, which he said taxes Marylanders "for the rain that falls on their homes." The Green Party urges Governor Hogan show his commitment to environmental protection by abandoning the disingenuous use of the phrase "rain tax" and treating the issue of how the design of our homes, neighborhoods, streets, farms and stormwater systems effects our natural environment with the respect the topic deserves.

Governor Hogan noted the seriousness of Maryland's heroin abuse issue, and called for stakeholders to develop a "plan to tackle the epidemic." The Green Party calls for an end to the failed "War on Drugs", the legalization of drugs and treating drug abuse as a public health
not criminal issue. The party calls on Governor Hogan to include legalization advocates in the stakeholders he invites to develop a heroin epidemic response. Governor Hogan concluded his first State of the State address with a call for campaign finance and election reform.

The Green Party agrees with the Governor's statement of support for an "honest and open political process that challenges convention." The party supports Governor Hogan's call for public financing of Gubernatorial campaigns and his call for independent redistricting to address rampant gerrymandering. The Green Party asks Governor Hogan to amend his proposal for a "bipartisan" redistricting commission to a "nonpartisan" commission, in which minor party and politically unaffiliated individuals would feel welcome to participate in suggesting reforms to Maryland's electoral system.

End the Campaign Finance Madness!

April 2, 2014

Ugh. This morning the Supreme Court released its decision in the
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case, striking down current limits on the amount an individual donor may contribute to political campaigns. The majority of the justices decided that the right to free speech includes the right to spend money on political campaigns. Although reasonable campaign finance rules had already been gutted by the 2010 Citizens United decision, today's decision reinforces the idea that money is speech and the richest 1% of Americans should have the right to buy and sell limitless political influence.

In contrast, the Green Party continues to work for a truly democratic electoral system including public financing of federal, state, and local elections. We support a Constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are NOT persons and money is NOT speech. Finally, it is important to have a vigorous, well-funded government watchdog empowered to enforce federal campaign laws.

The Green Party is working to overturn the new regime of corporate elections.
Citizens United allowed unlimited spending on independent campaigning, and now McCutcheon has struck down more limits on contributions to candidates and elected officials. Join us as we work to end the madness!