Last week, I testified at hearings in Annapolis to support Senate Joint Resolution 5 and House Joint Resolution 3, which give Maryland’s Attorney General the authority to decide to sue the federal government over actions or inactions that affect Marylanders.
Under the current system, we elect our governor, our legislature, and our attorney general. Our attorney general can respond to lawsuits and can pursue legal action if they have permission from the governor or legislature. Since our attorney general is directly elected by the people, we feel that the they should have the power to pursue federal lawsuits that are important to Marylanders.
The attorneys general in 41 other states have this power to bring lawsuits up against the federal government on their own. Marylanders may remember when 21 states joined the lawsuit against the federal government to block our Chesapeake Bay Blueprint. They were able to do this because the attorneys general in those states had the authority to sue the federal government. Scott Pruitt, the nominee to be the Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, was the attorney general for one of these states. From Oklahoma, he used his power to sue the federal government to try to overturn our locally-negotiated pollution plan.
We want our attorney general on the same playing field to be able to vigorously defend the Chesapeake Bay Blueprint. The progress that Maryland and our surrounding states have made is making a difference, and we can’t slide back now!
We need to make sure that our attorney general has the power and authority to defend our clean water and our Chesapeake Bay.
That is why we are proud to support of Senate Joint Resolution 5 and House Joint Resolution 3. Read our testimony below.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 Attorney General - Powers - Maryland Defense Act of 2017
Senate Budget and Tax Committee
February 8, 2017
1000 Friends of Maryland, Clean Water Action,
Mid-Shore River Keeper Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Maryland is one of the very few states in which the attorney general lacks common law authority and has only the powers from the State Constitution and various action of the General Assembly. We need to empower this important office to protect effectively and fully the people and places of Maryland like most other states.
The Maryland Attorney General is entrusted by voters of Maryland to defend their interest in the courts of law. He has his own mandate by the people to take action. We need an empowered Attorney General to challenge federal threats including any attempts to undermine:
- The Chesapeake Blueprint
- Clean air standards
- Clean water standards
- Safe drinking water standards
- Federal worker protections
- Transportation laws
To protect the best interests of Marylanders we need to enable our Attorney General to independently perform the job for which Maryland voters chose him.