Young Democrats of Maryland Statewide Convention Proposed by the 2014-2016 Platform of the Young Democrats of Maryland As Proposed by the Select Committee on Platform Drafting 2014-2016 Platform of the Young Democrats of Maryland The story of Maryland has been one that other states often have looked to over the last few years. While other states have cut investment, withdrawn resources from needy communities and priority issues like education, transportation, and public safety, Maryland has done the opposite. Our decision to push through this economic storm and not just hunker down is why today we are now seeing the results. The Platform of the Young Democrats of Maryland will layout our vision of a more progressive, successful, and fare future that meets the needs of all residents. Education: We believe: It is in our partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opinion that education is one of the bedrock principles behind a strong economy, thriving middle class, and qualified workforce. Education not only provides the skills needed in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workplace, but also nurtures the abilities of future entrepreneurs and business owners. These skills are not inherent in society, and ensuring their transference to students of all walks of life ought to be the primary objective of policy-makers in Annapolis as well as Washington. A new century, with new emerging markets and even newer technology, requires new approaches to how we educate our workforce and prepare them for the future. 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. 3. We support addressing financial obstacles that interfere with any Marylander's right to higher education. We support increased funding for need-based grants, as well as changes to federal financial aid programs to ensure that taxpayer investments are used efficiently to maximize benefits for all students. 4. We support making a college education accessible and affordable at both two and four year public schools. 5. We support comprehensive, fact-based, age appropriate sex education that includes abstinence, contraceptives, HIV/AIDS and other STI prevention programs for all students regardless of their sexual orientation. 6. We support fair and competitive wages and benefits for teachers, which include annual cost of living increases at all levels of education, and accounts for the cost of living in the county in which the teacher works. 7. We support the provision and adequate funding for the fine and performing arts, physical education, health and sports sciences, and vocational, career and technical education programs in the curriculum of public schools.
8. We support the statewide implementation and expansion of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at educational institutions serving non-English speaking persons as early as preK. 8. We support financial literacy for all Maryland high school students and mandating it as a graduation requirement. 9. We support policies that expand the community college system, including continuing education programs for adults. 10. We support the mainstreaming and inclusion of students with disabilities when appropriate through classroom integration at all levels of education. 11. We support new and innovative approaches to address educational challenges and needs, and find different ways to assess a student’s knowledge of materials through methods outside of standardized testing. 12. We support efforts to allow local jurisdictions the flexibility to expand the school day and school year at schools in “at-risk” areas shown to have poor academic performance. 13. We support efforts to push Maryland to review how it calculates income levels for free and reduced lunch programs. No child should go hungry in Maryland schools and this review should ensure that promise is met. 14. 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 PERIOD. 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, and 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. We support a woman’s right to choose because when coupled with family planning options, abortions are safe, legal, but also rare. 5. We support expanding health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, MHIP, SCHIP, and other similar programs until universal coverage is achieved. 6. We support the expansion of state and federally funded medical research including stem cell research. 7. We support recognizing addictions, such as substance abuse and substance dependence disorders, as a health issue and provide increased access to treatment as opposed to the sole use of the criminal justice system. 8. We support funding for home health and hospice care. 9. We support the transition to electronic health records, established with the assistance of government funding to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and lead to a better collaboration between health professionals for a higher quality of care.
10. We support cultural competency training for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers in the medical profession. 11. We support expanded coverage to meet the health care needs of Marylanders with both long-term and temporary disabilities. 12. We support access to quality, healthy food options for all Maryland families. 13. We support the expansion of HIV/AIDS and STDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; clinics for all Maryland communities. 14. 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 society. We believe government has an indispensable role in empowering individuals and their families with the tools to become self-sufficient. Moreover, through investment in education, community building, and targeted efforts to expand economic opportunities for individuals from impoverished backgrounds; we believe government can be a powerful force in alleviating the destructive generational cycles of poverty. 1. We support the funding and effective management and expansion of public assistance programs such as Section 8 housing, SNAP, WIC and TANF so 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 make safe and secure communities a reality for more Maryland families. 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 that is tied to inflation and increases in costs of living for Maryland families. Civil Rights: We believe: All Marylanders deserve equal rights and equal treatment under the law. We are a pluralistic society where all people should be treated with respect and dignity. 1. We support civil marriage equality for all couples, including same-sex couples in all fifty states. 2. We support adoption and foster parenting laws that do not discriminate based on 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, or disability. 4. We support increased funding for assistive technology and interpreters that make access to government services a possibility for every Marylander regardless of their native language. 5. We support increased support for programs and curricula that raise awareness about civil rights. 6. We support the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 7. We support programs that encourage educational, government, and hiring systems to include diverse populations such as Affirmative Action programs.
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. Immigration: We Believe: The state and nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immigration policies must reflect American values of opportunity, fairness, and equality. The United States is a beacon of hope for those yearning for freedom and opportunity around the world. We believe it essential to our vitality and character that we maintain our openness and our welcoming spirit to those from every walk of life who come seeking the promise for which our country stands. Progressive immigration policies brings benefits both economic and cultural, but we believe these benefits will not be enjoyed to there fullest without immigration policies that are more reliable, more fair, and more secure than in their present form. 1. We support federal comprehensive immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Commonsense immigration reform should also include revisions to our 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. 2. We support legal status and a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. 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 Maryland Trust Act 5. We support the ability of local jurisdictions to opt-out of the Federal Safe Communities Act for the protection of victims. 6. We support the immigration enforcement practices that decrease deportation of our neighbors, friends and community members, especially immigrants who are considered a â&#x20AC;&#x153;lowâ&#x20AC;? priority under existing guidelines 7. We support empowering immigration judges to take into account personal circumstances and interpret the law as compassionately as possible. 8. We support a direct path to citizenship for those serving in the United States military.
9. We support the rights of individuals to report criminal and civil violations without facing criminal retribution for undocumented status. 10. 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 national universal background checks prior to any firearm purchase, including purchases at gun shows. 3. We support the decriminalization of physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. 4. We support the housing of juveniles convicted of criminal offenses separately from adults. 5. We support housing inmates inline with their gender identity. 6. We support programs focusing on outpatient rehabilitation for juvenile offenders rather than incarceration. 7. We support laws that insure that all incarceration facilities are safe and clean. 8. 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. 8. We support strict punishment for witness intimidation and jury tampering. 9. We support the full funding and adequate staffing of Marylandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Public Defenders. 11. We support the legalization of medical marijuana
12. We support the full decriminalization of marijuana 13. We support prosecution of domestic violence offenders and providing support to victims of domestic violence through counseling. 14. We support educating the community about the epidemic of domestic violence through prevention and education programs. 15. We support reforming the process used to determine whether a juvenile is charged as adult. 16. We support the expansion of re-entry and reintegration programs for ex-offenders. 17. We support fair hiring practices for ex-offenders and legislation such as Ban the Box that help ex-offenders reenter 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 measures to encourage community involvement in the development process to ensure it benefits the community in the best way possible. 4. We support expanding affordable broadband Internet access to all areas of the state. 5. We support efforts to encourage the development of arts and culture programs. 6. We support the expansion of public transportation opportunities with a focus on green and hybrid technology in all Maryland communities 7. We support the use of inclusionary zoning to ensure that urban neighborhoods reflect the full socioeconomic diversity of their cities. 8. We support the efforts of cities in maintaining sidewalks and other access points that are safe and ADA accessible. 9. We support the preservation of historic areas and buildings. 10. Recognition of unique needs of various communities that should be incorporated into state and federal policies. 11. We support the prohibition of predatory lending practices, especially those that feed upon lower-and middle-income families. 12. 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. 13. We support transit-oriented development that contains workforce housing. 14. 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 informed by peer-reviewed science is critical to improving the health, safety, and richness of life. We further believe that there is a synergetic relationship between protecting the environment, spurring economic growth, and promoting social justice. Finally, we embrace the broad scientific consensus that mankind is largely responsible for climate change and
believe that we must act unreservedly now to prevent its most destabilizing and destructive ramifications, which include the possibility of up to six feet of sea level rise in Maryland by the end of the century. 1. We support policies that aggressively protect our natural resources, including our air, water, soil, forests, biodiversity, wetlands, and open spaces. 2. We support policies designed to promote sustainable business practices such as environmentally responsible purchasing and investment as well as recycling and composting. 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 land uses that balance 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 support expanding product labeling requirements to ensure that consumers are informed about the origin, ingredients, and ecological life cycle of all products, including animal testing and the product's organic, recycled and genetically-engineered content. More information means 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 greater funding of natural resource protection areas, state parks, and national parks, as recreational facilities and unique educational opportunities. 13. We support equipping all students with a robust understanding of the symbiotic relationship between humans 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 action 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 Changeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 changeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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. Energy:
We believe: That our future lies with clean energy, 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 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, both through energy efficiency improvements and energy conservation. 2. We support the security and oversight of our energy production sites including nuclear plants and nuclear waste disposal sites. 3. We support job-training programs that educate or retrain Maryland workers to create the greencollar workforce necessary for a clean energy 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 the prohibition of fracking in Maryland and vigorously oppose efforts to expand infrastructure in Maryland that would encourage the expansion of fracking in the United States. 9. We support the development of offshore wind power generation. 10. We support significant new investment in clean, efficient transportation systems such as highspeed rail, bus rapid transit, the Purple Line in the Washington D.C. metro area, and the Red Line in the Baltimore metro area. 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, EMT's, 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, 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 individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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. 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. Privatization of Social Security is not a viable option. Note: For the purpose of definition, in this document Marylanders are defined as â&#x20AC;&#x153;people who are citizens, residents or are in the process of becoming a citizen or resident of the State of Marylandâ&#x20AC;?