This Progressive Group Created its Own Grading System for Md. Lawmakers

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Photo by Kevin Galens – Flickr

Where do your delegates stand on fracking? How did your district’s senator vote on the issue of mandatory lead testing in schools?

Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Food and Water Watch has done that research for you. In a new report card rolled out yesterday, the clean energy advocates have ranked all 188 of Maryland’s state lawmakers based on their voting records from the 2017 legislative session. Food and Water Watch based its report card on progressive voting patterns for nine bills. As a basic example, the senator who voted to ban fracking earns more points than the one who voted against the bill, under the group’s methodology.

Most of the grade revolves around how delegates and senators voted on six specific bills, including measures to ban fracking, require paid sick leave for small business employees, stop price-gouging by pharmaceutical firms and prohibit tax lien sales of homes for unpaid water bills, among others.

Lawmakers cold also earn “extra credit” (a “+”) if they sponsored one of three bills for which Food and Water Watch helped campaign. Just like when you were in school (except for Montessori folks), grades range from A+ to F.

Speaking for the entire political spectrum, each grade is relative depending on your views about progressive policies. Voters in Baltimore and Harford counties who have supported Del. Pat McDonough, for example, will be pleased to see that he scored an F, as he voted “nay” on proposals to ban fracking (later signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan), require paid sick leave for firms with 15 or more employees (vetoed by Hogan) and to make periodic lead testing mandatory in schools (signed into law by Hogan).

Unsurprisingly, all 16 lawmakers repping left-leaning Baltimore in Annapolis this past session scored A’s or A+’s, by Food and Water Watch’s count.

A spokeswoman for the group wrote in an email that the report card was based on original criteria, rather than grading systems used by other groups that give out grades for lawmakers. Next year’s report card is expected to include issues pertaining to factory farms, water infrastructure and renewable energy.

Click here to see how your legislator’s record stacked up with the group’s progressive agenda in 2017.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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2 COMMENTS

  1. A glaring deficiency, IMO, is the absence of any mention of either Single-Payer, or tuition free state education institutions. This is my pledge, after 63 years as a Democrat, I will never again cast a vote for any Democrat who does not embrace these two issues; and, please do not give me the “lesser of two evils” argument.

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