Green Amendments – Up to Four In The Works!
We now have proposals in New Jersey, New York, Maryland and West Virginia.
Maya van Rossum, founder of the Green Amendment movement authored a great piece with Senator Linda Greenstein of NJ about Green Amendments. It’s a great piece to share for those who wonder what a Green Amendment is and why it’s such a big deal. Take a read and be sure to share.
Pennsylvania is, of course, ground zero for this Green Amendments For The Generations movement. The people of Pennsylvania are working to take full advantage of their Green Amendment. In January a coalition of organizations and individuals called the Better Path Coalition, held a wildly successful event focused on reminding Pennsylvania’s legislators of their constitutional duty to protect environmental rights. Young people from elementary through college age were among those that took the podium and spoke up at a press conference held at the PA Capitol building. Dressed as Dr. Suess’ character The Lorax, these young people then delivered petitions to Governor Wolf and other lawmakers, urging them to uphold Article 1 Section 27, Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment.
A panel discussion about PA’s Green Amendment was held the day before the rally. Hear Franklin Kury, the original author of Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment, as well as Jordan Yeager and Maya van Rossum who were key to the effort that brought it to legal life in 2013, talk about how PA’s Green Amendment came to pass and is making a difference.
Here is a summary of what is happening in the four states where modern day Green Amendments have been proposed and what you can do to support them:
The super big news is that we have a fourth Green Amendment proposal in West Virginia.
On February 11, 2019 Delegate Evan Hansen of West Virginia led 31 of his colleagues in proposing a legislative resolution that would support and advance the addition of a Green Amendment to the West Virginia Bill of Rights. In his public statement about the proposal Delegate Hansen recognized both the economic, human and environmental value of the proposal stating:
“The best way to diversify our state’s economy is to create jobs that also protect the environment. We can grow our population and our industrial base while keeping the water we drink and the air we breathe clean.”
We look forward to working with West Virginia to build understanding of the power and importance of this pathway for environmental protection. Be sure to follow our West Virginia page to keep up to date on what you can do to help support this newest Green Amendment effort.
New Jersey is the one state that has a legislative proposal in both houses of government and has bi-partisan support. In fact, on October 15, a bipartisan supermajority of the Senate Environment Committee voted in support of SCR134, the proposal to amend the New Jersey Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. Sadly, the Assembly sponsors of the bill are not being as dedicated to its advancement and really need to hear from you – we need the Assembly to hold hearings as an important next step. Please consider signing this petition of support.
If you are part of an organization you can help expand the power of your voice by signing on your organization – all organizations that sign the letter of support will be invited to come and be recognized at the press conference when it is delivered.
As noted above, a great opinion piece was posted in the NJ Star Ledger that lays out the case for a NJ Green Amendment. It’s a great piece to share with those who are wondering about the value of such a provision.
You can also help advance a Green Amendment in New Jersey by encouraging your municipal leaders or county freeholders to pass a resolution in support. Click here for a flyer that can help you make that request in your home town.
New York’s Green Amendment continues to advance. January 22, 2019 Assemblyman Englebright re-proposed the NY Green Amendment. While in previous years it had passed out of the state assembly, there was not progress on the senate side. But that is changing and we are looking forward to success in 2019 in both houses.
On February 5, 2019, by a vote of 22 to 6, the bill was voted out of the Assembly Environmental Conservation committee and now moves to the Judiciary Committee. There are currently 40 sponsors on the Assembly version of the bill including:
Gottfried, Santabarbara, Ortiz, Dinowitz, Colton, Lifton, Glick, Fahy, Abinanti, Otis, Jean-Pierre, Lavine, Mosley, Simon, Galef, Jaffee, Cook, Rivera, D’Urso, Hunter, Steck, Peoples-Stokes, Williams, Bichotte, Ramos, Weprin, Titus, Hyndman, Seawright, Lupardo, Rosenthal L, Barron, Walker, Carroll, Barrett, De La Rosa, Cahill, Thiele, Reyes.
The parallel Senate version has 15 sponsors and is currently advancing through the committee process.
While we are making progress, we still have lots of work to do as the bills need to be voted by the full Assembly and Senate twice, and then it has to go before the people of New York. So please be sure to and sign the petition to legislators today. And urge your friends and family to do the same – so they can both learn about the New York Green Amendment and also help to be part of this history making moment.
If you head up an organization or business that supports a NY Green Amendment please be sure to sign on to our organization petition that will allow us to show big numbers of supporters when the moment is right.
Maryland’s Green Amendment got a hearing on February 20, 2019 and received great support from organizations across the state. Among the comments submitted were those of our organization, Green Amendments For The Generations who is working closely with the Maryland Environmental Health Network and others leading the statewide charge.
What does it mean to have a Green Amendment?
The question of what it means to have a Green Amendment is an important first question for many. Jordan Yeager, who argued the successful Pennsylvania Green Amendment case, explains important protections offered at the municipal level in PA resulting from that states’ Green Amendment. The benefits being experienced in Pennsylvania are instruction for all states. You can view the webinar here.
Remember, sharing the Book is a great way to introduce new people to this transformative idea. And Maya is always available to come speak if you have an audience willing and wanting to listen and learn more. All you need to do is get in touch and ask.
Whether you have attended a talk about the Book, are considering leading an action in your own state, have signed a letter or petition to advance the Green Amendments progressing in the state where you live, or have shared a copy of the book with a friend, family member or your favorite legislator, you have been part of advancing this important concept and conversation. Thank you for being a Green Amendment leader!