Young Democrats of Maryland Statewide Convention

Proposed by the 2018-2020 Platform of the Young Democrats of Maryland

2018-2020 Platform of the

Young Democrats of Maryland

 

The story of Maryland has been one that other states often have overlooked the last few years. While other states have cut investments, withdrawn resources from our most at-risk communities and decentralized priority issues like education, transit-friendly communities, green initiatives, public safety and healthcare, Maryland has done the opposite. Our decision is to continue to persevere through the storm and not accept conditions that are unjust and detrimental to the people of this great state. 

 

The Platform of the Young Democrats of Maryland will layout our vision of a more progressive, successful, and fair future that meets the needs of all residents.

 

Education:

We believe:  The Democratic party firmly believes that education is one of the bedrock principles behind a strong economy, a thriving middle class, and a qualified workforce. Education not only provides the skills needed in today’s workplace, but also nurtures the abilities of future entrepreneurs and business owners. We continue to recognize that education is still not accessible to all populations. One of our goals is to ensure accessibility to students of all walks of life and urge state policy-makers in Annapolis, as well as Congress in Washington, to make this one of their primary objectives. As technology advances and new markets continue to emerge, we must explore innovative options to educate our current and future workforce in order to push ahead and remain competitive. 

 

  1. We support federal and state financial policies that ensure substantial and consistent educational funding regardless of economic cycles.
  2. We support education programs that reduce the public school dropout and illiteracy rates as well as initiatives that eliminate the school to prison pipeline. 
  3. We support addressing financial obstacles that interfere with any Marylander’s right to higher education. We support increased funding towards need-based grants, as well as changes to federal financial aid programs to ensure that taxpayer investments are used strategically and effectively to maximize benefits and accessibility for all students.
  4. We support making college education accessible and affordable at both two and four-year public academic institutions in the State of Maryland.
  5. We support comprehensive, fact-based, age-appropriate sex education that includes informing young people on abstinence, contraceptives, HIV/AIDS and other STI prevention programs and the purpose and importance of consent for all students regardless of their sexual orientation. 
  6. We support fair and competitive wages and benefits for teachers, which includes annual cost of living increases and accounts for the cost of living in the county in which the teacher works. 
  7. We support the provision and adequate funding of the fine and performing arts, physical and health sciences, vocational careers and technical education programs embedded in the curriculum of Maryland public schools.
  8. We support the statewide implementation and expansion of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs or accredited language immersion programs at educational entities serving non-English speakers as early as Pre-K.  
  9. We support financial literacy for all Maryland high school students and mandating it as a graduation requirement. 
  10. We support policies that diversify the areas of study within Maryland’s community college system, including continuing education programs for adults.
  11. We support the inclusion of students with disabilities through classroom integration at all levels of education and improving accessibility issues on school grounds or in the classroom.
  12. We support new and innovative approaches to address educational challenges and needs, and to seek options that will assess a student’s knowledge of materials through methods outside of standardized testing.
  13. We support efforts to allow local jurisdictions the flexibility to extend the school day and/or school year at schools that have students who struggle with poor academic performance. 
  14. We support efforts for the Maryland General Assembly to review how it calculates qualification for free and reduced lunch programs. No child should go hungry in any of our Maryland schools and we will continue to push for this promise to be met.
  15. We support Maryland’s trailblazing Maintenance of Effort law and the results it has delivered for our students. The Young Democrats oppose efforts in the legislature to repeal or weaken this law.

 

Health:  

We believe: That securing a health care system that values people before profits is vital to the general welfare of our nation. We believe in universal access to affordable, quality health care, reflecting patient preferences and sensitivities. 

 

  1. We support the Affordable Care Act, and any measures to strengthen and rebuild the ACA as a means to give all access to affordable health insurance.
  2. We support positive efforts at both the state and federal level, when necessary, to reform the ACA and effective implementation at the state and local level.
  3. We support access to a full range of reproductive health options regardless of socioeconomic status. As well as organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and Planned Parenthood who provide them to low-income communities.
  4. We support a woman’s right to choose abortion in a safe, legal and accessible manner. 
  5. We support a person’s right to bring their physical sexual characteristics into parity with their gender identity if they choose to do so, and we believe that both physical and mental health care costs associated with such a transition should be covered as part of any comprehensive health coverage system.
  6. We support expanding health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, MHIP, SCHIP, and other similar programs.  
  7. We support the expansion of state and federally funded medical research, including stem cell research.
  8. We support recognizing addictions, such as substance abuse and substance dependence disorders, as a health issue and provide access to treatment as opposed to the criminal justice system.
  9. We support funding for home health and hospice care.
  10. We support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
  11. We support the transition to electronic health records, established with the assistance of government funding to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and lead to better collaboration between health professionals for a higher quality of care.
  12. We support cultural competency training for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers in the medical profession.
  13. We support sustained increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health to provide grant funding for basic science and translational research.
  14. We support expanded coverage to meet the health care needs of Marylanders with both long-term and temporary disabilities.
  15. We support the expansion of HIV/AIDS and STD’ clinics for all Maryland communities.
  16. We support outreach programs that reach out to poor and low-income families with opportunities to provide healthcare coverage.

 

Poverty:

We believe: Government is a valuable tool in addressing and ultimately eliminating the worst forms of economic hardship in modern day society. We believe government has an indispensable role in empowering the individual and their family with the tools necessary to assist them in becoming self-sufficient. Moreover, through investment in education, in community partnerships and targeted efforts to expand economic opportunities for individuals from impoverished backgrounds. We believe government can be a powerful force in solving the destructive and seemingly endless cycle of poverty.

 

  1. We support the funding, effective management and expansion of public assistance programs such as income-restricted housing, SNAP, WIC and TANF so long as they function as a safety net for families in need. 
  2. We support progressive public policies that move people out of poverty.
  3. We support the expansion of affordable housing opportunities that embrace the safety and security of our communities and aging populations as well as first-time homebuyer education initiatives.
  4. We support vocational training, financial education and adult education to provide opportunities for the students and adults from low-income communities.
  5. We support an increase in the state minimum wage as it relates to reducing inflation and accommodating the costs of living for Maryland families.

 

Civil Rights:

We believe:  All Marylanders deserve equal rights and equal treatment under the law, despite differences of opinion or appearance. We are a pluralistic society and we firmly believe that all people should be treated with respect and dignity leaving no human being as disposable.

 

  1. We support civil marriage equality nationwide for all couples, including same-sex couples.
  2. We support adoption and foster parenting laws that do not discriminate based upon sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
  3. We support local, state and federal employment non-discrimination laws that outlaw bias on the basis of race, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identity, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background, national origin, disability and (non-violent) criminal background. 
  4. We support increased funding for assistive technology and interpreters that make access to government services possible for every Marylander regardless of their native language and background.
  5. We support increased funding and initiatives for programs and curricula that raise awareness about the importance of becoming a global citizen in a cross-cultural and pluralistic society.
  6. We support the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  7. We support programs that encourage educational, government, and hiring systems to incorporate operational policies that ensure equal opportunities and practice inclusiveness among diverse and underrepresented populations. The programs include, but are not limited to, Affirmative Action programs or programs that support DREAMers.
  8. We support the mission and vision of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) as it serves in its capacity to address discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and state contracts.  

 

Family:

We believe:  The family is an integral part of our society and that families should have the ability to grow together so we can all benefit from a greater sense of community. Today the definition of family in America no longer simply means a mother, father and two children. As America has grown, so has the definition of family. We believe all of those families deserve the support and resources to build their family. Strong families lead to strong communities. Strong communities are what make strong towns, cities and counties. Strong cities and counties are what will make a strong Maryland.

 

  1. We support making affordable childcare a priority in Maryland and increasing access to Purchase of Care vouchers
  2. We support more parental involvement in children’s education and development of life and social skills.
  3. We support creating a culture that values balancing family time with work.
  4. We support all workers right to use their paid leave as part of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regardless of the size the business or institution.  
  5. We support moves to end discrimination in child custody cases based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or other protected classes.
  6. Maybe add parental leave for both parents extended and such 

 

Immigration:
We Believe: The state and nation’s immigration policies must reflect American values of opportunity, fairness, and equality. We believe it essential to the vitality and character of the country that we maintain our openness and our welcoming spirit to those from every walk of life..

 

  1. We support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrant, as well as legal status.
  2. We support commonsense immigration reform that includes revisions to the visa system to create a workable process for lawful migration to the U.S.; protections for refugees and human trafficking victims; recognition of bi-national couples; uphold due process; protections for our immigrant and native-born labor force. 
  3. We support legislation that humanely enforces immigration laws without militarizing U.S. borders, expanding detention, or increasing state & local immigration enforcement.
  4. We support the acceptance of refugees from unstable and dangerous states.
  5. We support a much simpler and accessible system for legal immigration.
  6. We support the Maryland Trust Act
  7. We support the ability of local jurisdictions to opt-out of the Federal Safe Communities Act for the protection of victims.
  8. We support the immigration enforcement practices that decrease deportation of our neighbors, friends and community members, especially immigrants who are considered a “low” priority under existing guidelines 
  9. We support empowering immigration judges to take into account personal circumstances and interpret the law as compassionately as possible. 
  10. We support a direct path to citizenship for those serving in the United States military.
  11. We support the rights of individuals to report criminal and civil violations without facing criminal retribution for undocumented status.
  12. We support increased efforts to stop human trafficking in all forms as well as abuse and exploitation of all workers. 

 

Labor

We believe: In expanding collective bargaining throughout our modern, service-based economy in order to maintain and build economic flexibility and opportunity. In addition we believe we must vigorously defend a century’s worth of hard-fought progress and protections won by the American worker who are united in purpose and organized in action. 

 

  1. We support pro-worker legislation and policies that strengthen the rights of workers, including public employees, to collectively bargain and unionize without employer intimidation or interference, including a ban on coerced “captive audience” meetings. 
  2. We support legislation designed to protect the employment and legal rights of corporate and governmental whistle blowers.
  3. We support efforts to allow greater access to unemployment and worker’s compensation benefits.
  4. We support the expansion of state and local employment programs for veterans, the homeless, the formerly incarcerated, disadvantaged young adults and those with disabilities.
  5. We believe employers should be encouraged to provide at-will employees reasons for termination.

 

Criminal Justice:

We believe:  Laws are the foundation of an orderly society and that abiding by them is beneficial to all Marylanders and essential to the functioning of a civil society. We also recognize that there is currently more people incarcerated in the United States than in any other nation the world. We strive to create a society where laws are followed, applied with consistency and equality, and rehabilitation is the primary focus.

 

  1. We support increased training of police and law enforcement officials, especially regarding mental illnesses and disabilities that affect communication.
  2. We support the housing of juveniles convicted of criminal offenses separately from adults.
  3. We support housing inmates inline with their gender identity. 
  4. We support programs focusing on outpatient rehabilitation for juvenile offenders rather than incarceration.
  5. We support laws that insure that all incarceration facilities are safe, clean and humane.
  6. We support reforms in sentencing procedure that allow greater judicial flexibility regarding sentences, alternative punishment, and community or victim redress, particularly for non-violent offenders.
  7. We support strict punishment for witness intimidation and jury tampering.
  8. We support the full funding and adequate staffing of Maryland’s Public Defenders.
  9. We support the legalization of recreational marijuana
  10. We support prosecution of domestic violence offenders and providing support to victims of domestic violence through counseling.
  11. We support reforming the process used to determine whether a juvenile is charged as adult.
  12. We support a reform oriented prison system that does not seek to incarcerate.
  13. We support the expansion of re-entry and reintegration programs for ex-offenders. 
  14. We support fair hiring practices for ex-offenders and legislation such as Ban the Box that help ex-offenders re-enter the job market.

 

Community Issues:

We believe:  That as the party of opportunity for all Marylanders, we must work to build strong, safe communities that are vibrant places to live, work and play. 

  

  1. We support measures to protect the unique character of communities, including smart growth policies that preserve farmland and open space while expanding economic opportunity for community residents. 
  2. We support downtown and neighborhood revitalization efforts through public and private partnerships.
  3. We support educating the community about the epidemic of domestic violence through prevention and education programs.
  4. We support measures to encourage community involvement in the development process to ensure it benefits the community in the best way possible.
  5. We support expanding affordable broadband Internet access to all areas of the state.
  6. We support efforts to encourage the development of arts and culture programs.
  7. We support the expansion of public transportation opportunities with a focus on green and hybrid technology in all Maryland communities
  8. We support the use of inclusionary zoning to ensure that urban neighborhoods reflect the full socioeconomic diversity of their cities.
  9. We support the efforts of cities in maintaining sidewalks and other access points that are safe and ADA accessible.
  10. We support the preservation of historic areas and buildings.
  11. Recognition of unique needs of various communities that should be incorporated into state and federal policies.
  12. We support the prohibition of predatory lending practices, especially those that feed upon lower-and middle-income families.
  13. We support the MD HOPE program, the Pro Bono Foreclosure Prevention program and other programs instituted by the State of Maryland to help families at risk of foreclosure or who have begun the foreclosure process.
  14. We support transit-oriented development that contains workforce housing.
  15. We support the elimination of food desserts throughout Maryland.

 

Environment: 

We believe: That safeguarding the environment is a fundamental human responsibility and that active stewardship of the planet is critical to improving the health, safety, and overall conditions of life in the world we live in. We further believe that there is an essential synergy between protecting the environment, spurring economic growth, and promoting environmental justice. Finally, we embrace the broad yet scientific consensus that mankind is largely responsible for climate change and believe that we must act unreservedly to prevent its most destabilizing and destructive ramifications (i.e. – the possibility Maryland’s sea level rising six feet by the end of the century). 

 

  1. We support policies that aggressively protect our natural resources, including our air, water, soil, forests and wetlands as well as historical spaces such as Native American reservations, Maryland’s historical preservations and Federal parks.
  2. We support policies designed to promote sustainable business practices such as investing in environmentally responsible building and construction materials and operational supplies. We also support recycling and composting behaviors. 
  3. We support the aggressive enforcement of existing environmental statutes and adherence to the Polluter Pays Principle.
  4. We support incentives to encourage environmentally sustainable farming practices including water conservation, methane capture, and innovative use of land to balance and improve upon food and energy needs.
  5. We support increased stringency of environmental standards under the Organic Food Production Act.
  6. We support policies that encourage the expansion of small, local, sustainable agriculture.
  7. We support policies that advance animal welfare.
  8. We advocate for informing consumers to create a level of accountability for companies and producers to lead a healthier, more sustainable, and more efficient marketplace. 
  9. We support management of public lands according to the principles of multiple use and responsible stewardship, including the preservation of open spaces and the protection of native and endangered species.
  10. We support fully funding stormwater management infrastructure and restoration projects to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, achieve compliance with the Clean Water Act, and safeguard the livelihoods of fishermen.
  11. State and local governments should work together to ensure that all Marylanders have access to and education about residential recycling and composting programs.
  12. We support any additional funding of natural resource protection areas, state parks and national parks, as recreational facilities and unique educational opportunities for all.
  13. We support equipping all students with a robust understanding of the symbiotic relationship between human activity and the natural environment through the implementation of the environmental literacy requirement.
  14. We support continued regional partnerships, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program, as critical efforts to protect the environment across state boundaries.
  15. We support the development of an ambitious state climate change mitigation and adaptation implementation plan that outlines steps and a proposed timeline for achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cuts of over 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations in its Fourth Assessment Report. This plan should also identify and set in motion the completion of necessary green infrastructure projects, such as wetland restoration, to buffer Maryland from climate change’s most acute consequences. 
  16. We support the adoption of economically efficient market-based mechanisms to price GHG emissions commensurate with their social cost in order to spur necessary emissions reductions while also minimizing the resulting economic impact on poor and middle class families through revenue recycling methods such as tax credits. 
  17. We continue to support the Paris Climate Agreement, as it stands, despite the U.S. recent stance to disassociate in 2017.  

 

Energy:

We believe: That our future is dependent upon clean energy solutions, which will reduce pollution, contribute significantly to our state’s and country’s commitment to climate change mitigation, diversify our national energy portfolio, promote national security, jumpstart innovation while creating jobs and stimulating investment, and provide Marylanders with cost savings benefits over the long-term. Thus, we urge a strong national and state commitment to a clean energy future that promises environmental, economic, national security, and social benefits. 

 

  1. We support aggressive efforts to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency improvements, energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives.  
  2. We support the security and oversight of our energy production sites including nuclear plants and nuclear waste disposal sites.
  3. We support workforce-training programs that educate or retrain Maryland workers to create the green-collar workforce necessary for a clean energy and sustainable future.
  4. We support the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, which distort energy markets and hinder the competitive marketization of clean energy technology.
  5. We support the development of a state roadmap towards a 100% renewable energy future, free of fossil fuels and with ever-decreasing reliance on nuclear and hydroelectric power. 
  6. We support catalyzing the rollout of low-impact, renewable energy systems as fast as possible to achieve the aforementioned 100% renewable energy target.
  7. We support greater investment in clean energy research and development.
  8. We support the development of offshore wind power generation with consideration given to preserving the aesthetics of the environment it serves and is located within. 
  9. We support significant new investment and improvements in clean and efficient transit systems that travel through the state of Maryland such as Amtrak, MARC and WMATA.  

 

The State Budget

We believe:  Quality leadership requires responsible stewardship of public resources that restrains governmental spending growth while protecting the adequacy and sustainability of government revenue. An individual’s tax burden should be tied directly to his or her ability to pay, progressive in character and in spirit with reasonable checks within the system to avoid fraud and abuse.

 

  1. We support continued and increased investment in Maryland’s aging and critical infrastructure. 
  2. We support a dedicated funding source for WMATA.
  3. We support refraining from the passage of tax cuts benefiting only the wealthy and corporations.
  4. We support Maryland ensuring fiscal responsibility in passing a budget, which is balanced and consistent to the needs of Maryland citizens. 
  5. We support, a broad based, progressive tax system that fully funds all of the necessary functions of the Maryland Government.
  6. We support transparent and accountable government budgeting.
  7. Proper funding by the local, state and federal government of the medical establishment, 911 operators, emergency personnel- first responders, EMTs, firefighters, and police – is necessary in order to be able to respond to crisis situations.
  8. We encourage the General Assembly to tie a funding source to any legislation mandating long-term funding.
  9. Formulated revenue garnered from video lottery terminals designated for education, should only be used to enhance education.
  10. We support the implementation of combined and transparent reporting in Maryland.
  11. We support best efforts to maintain dedicated revenue sources for the funding of the Maryland State Government and its safeguarding of necessary programs.

 

Electoral Reform:

We believe: Free and fair elections are essential to democracy in our state. Young people often find themselves disenfranchised due to residency laws, lack of education, and the transient nature of young adults. The state government should encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. We further believe the state government should set realistic and reliable standards for election administration to ensure fair, accurate, and accessible vote casting and counting.

 

  1. We support fair and free elections that include early voting, same day registration, automatic voter registration, Election Day registration, no-fault absentee voting, vote by mail and voting systems that ensure accuracy, fairness, and transparency while safeguarding privacy and accessibility.
  2. We support increased campaign finance reporting in election years. 
  3. We support a cap on an individual’s personal donation to their own campaign.
  4. We support strict penalties for people who impede access to polling places, intimidate voters, or purposefully distribute false or misleading information about voting procedures, candidates, slates or their campaigns. 
  5. We support reasonable efforts to provide adequate, well-staffed polling locations serving all areas where voting occurs and that these polling locations are accessible to all voting populations including college campuses and rural populations.
  6. We support the creation of a public campaign financing system in Maryland.
  7. We support efforts to overturn Citizens United. 
  8. We support an effort to reform the slate system in Maryland.
  9. We support legislation that increases the transparency in election cycle donations, as well as any capital held or spent by related PACs.

 

Social Security:  

We believe:  Social Security (including Social Security Disability Insurance [SSDI] and Social Security Insurance [SSI]) has been a successful and visionary social program and we will fight to ensure that Americans receive the benefit of this program for generations to come. 

 

  1. We support a Social Security system that protects the funding, structure, benefits, and long-term viability that Social Security provides for all Americans.
  2. We support the elimination of the income cap on the payroll tax, to ensure fiscal stability and maintain the system’s progressive character.
  3. Congress should immediately study and expeditiously implement an overhaul of the Social Security system to provide for its long-term sustainability and viability.
  4. We strongly believe that the privatization of Social Security is not a viable option.
  5. We encourage more detailed solutions such as increasing the tax rate for the wealthy, or capping social security for the wealthy.

 

Note: For the purpose of definition, in this document Marylanders are defined as “people who are citizens, residents or are in the process of becoming a citizen or resident of the State of Maryland”