On March 11, 2019 students from all across Maryland gathered at the Annapolis Statehouse to lobby. Once our students arrived at the Statehouse, they split up into two groups and began meeting with Delegates and Senators. They were able to meet with Legislators such as Sen. Cheryl Kagan, Del. Terri Hill, Sen. Sarah Elfreth and many more! They even ran into our previous President, Ryan Kirby, who currently works for Sen. Cheryl Kagan as the Chief of staff.
During their meetings with the legislators, they were able to advocate and lobby for bills that were significant to them. Several bills they lobbied on include: improved funding for HBCU’s, accessibility of Senatorial and Delegate scholarships to undocumented students, prohibition of 3D-printed firearms and more concerning college students and the state of Maryland as a whole. Meanwhile one of the groups was meeting with legislators, the other had some free time between meetings and were able to attend the “March for Our Schools” that occurred outside of the Statehouse.
After all of the scheduled meetings of the day were over, our students attended a Senate session in the Statehouse. At the beginning of the session, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen gave a speech to the Senate since he was attending the “March of Our Schools” and the College Democrats were even recognized in the chamber by Sen. Sarah Elfreth. It was a very successful lobby day for our College Democrats and an unforgettable experience.
SUNDAY MARCH 23, 2019: ROBERT MUELLER REPORT CONCLUSIONS
On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr, released a summary on the report from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The investigation started almost two years ago, to investigate a possible Russian collusion with the 2016 Presidential Election and Trump administration. Mueller concluded that there was no Russian collusion found when it came to Pres. Trump’s 2016 campaign and the election. Even though there was no interference found with the 2016 Presidential Election, A.G. Barr included in his summary of the report that “The report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” The House earlier this month had voted for the report to made public and lawmakers have been requesting to see evidence that prove Mueller’s conclusions.
MONDAY MARCH 25, 2019: HOUSE DEMOCRATS DEMAND FULL MUELLER REPORT
After Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions, House Democrats are demanding to see the full report from the investigation. The report concluded that Pres. Trump had not committed a crime when it came to the 2016 election, and House Democrats are requesting to see the full report because they believe A.G. Barr’s summary was not “sufficient”. Six leaders of multiple House Committees, in a letter to A.G. Barr, are requesting to see the full report of the Mueller investigation. They have demanded in their letter to obtain the report by next week, and if not, they are willing to issue a subpoena in order to obtain it.
TUESDAY MARCH 26, 2019: U.S. BANS FOREIGN AID TO INTERNATIONAL ABORTION PROVIDERS
Earlier this year the Trump administration had announced that they would block Title X health care providers, such as Planned Parenthood, from referring patients for abortion. This ruling blocks such providers from receiving federal family planning money( Title X funding) if they do provide or refer patients for abortions. This Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, expanded that ban and mentioned that they would cut funding assistance to the Organization of American States. The reason given is that O.A.S. had at least two agencies lobbying for women’s health availability in the Western Hemisphere, which included abortions.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 27, 2019: U.S. SENATE REJECTS GREEN NEW DEAL
The Green New Deal, a resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), was up for a vote at the U.S. Senate. The resolution needed 60 votes to pass, but the vote ended up being 57-0 against the resolution. The resolution was not expected to pass in a Republican-lead U.S. Senate. Fourty-three Senate Democrats were expected to vote, but only ended up voting present, not formally taking a position on the issue. The Green New Deal has been a controversial resolution that has been mostly favored in the House than Senate.
THURSDAY MARCH 28, 2019: PRES. TRUMP OVERRULES DEVOS’S SPECIAL OLYMPICS FUNDS CUT
Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, had announced earlier this week that she was planning on cutting around $18 million from the Special Olympics, which would have been a part of the Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal. Pres. Trump on Thursday, released a statement saying that he will overrule Devos’s funding cuts and the Special Olympics will continue to be federally funded.
FRIDAY MARCH 29, 2019: PRES. TRUMP THREATENS TO CLOSE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER
Pres. Trump threatened on Twitter that he could possibly close down the U.S.-Mexico border next week. He mentioned that unless Mexico takes action and stops immigrants from illegally crossing the border, he would take action by closing down the border. In those same tweets, he blamed the Democrats for the U.S. having “weak immigration laws” and Mexico for “benefiting” economically from the situation.
Dylan Behler is currently a junior at the University of Maryland College Park and also serves as the Political Director of the College Democrats of Maryland. Over the past summer Dylan got involved in Anne Arundel County Democratic politics, primarily serving as staff on County Executive Pittman’s campaign, but before that he worked as a Committee Analyst for Senate President Mike Miller. Currently he serves as Senator Elfreth’s Legislative Aide in the State Senate. He also is a member of the Democratic Central Committee of Anne Arundel County, serves on the State Executive Committee for the Maryland Sierra Club, and serves on the boards of both the South County Democratic Club and the District 30 Democratic Club.
SATURDAY MARCH 16, 2019: MISSISSIPPI ORDERED TO REDRAW A DISTRICT
Senate District 22 in Mississippi was ordered to be redrawn by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, because it was not offering African- Americans an equal opportunity in voting. A judge had found that African-American’s voting power of that district had been weakened. This problem came to the judges attention, after three residents had sued the state in July because the way the district was put together, it violated the Voting Rights Act. The district stretches through six counties, with 51% of the population being African- Americans of voting age.
SUNDAY MARCH 17, 2019: KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND LAUNCHES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) earlier this year had launched an exploratory committee for the 2020 Presidential Election, and this Sunday officially declared her bid in the race. Even though she officially launched her campaign now, she had been campaigning in states that hold early primary contests. Sen. Gillibrand is set to deliver her first major speech of her campaign, on Sunday March 24th in front of Trump International Hotel in New York City.
MONDAY MARCH 18, 2019: BETO O’ROURKE’S RECORD BREAKING FUNDRAISING
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) raises $6.1 million, in the first 24 hours after he had launched his presidential campaign, making it the largest amount raised within the first 24 hours. The previous record-breaking amount was held by Bernie Sanders. Sen. Sanders was able to raise $5.9 million within the first 24 hours after launching his 2020 presidential campaign, but Congressman O’Rourke was able to take that spot after the record-smashing online donations towards his campaign.
TUESDAY MARCH 19, 2019: MICHAEL COHEN INVESTIGATION HAD BEEN GOING ON SINCE 2017
Records released on Tuesday show that the Michael Cohen investigation had been going on for longer than everyone thought. In the records it is said that the FBI started investigating Michael Cohen in July 2017. The FBI was able to keep their investigation secret, but it became public after Cohen’s home and office were raided by the FBI last April. The raid led to Cohen receiving three years in prison for tax evasion and campaign finances violations.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 20, 2019: DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER ETHICS PROBE
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for being suspected of violating ethics rules by promoting products of Boeing during his role in the Pentagon. Before taking the position as the acting Defense Secretary, Shanahan had worked for Boeing for over 30 years. C.R.E.W. (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) filed a complaint leading to the investigation, because Shanahan’s actions violated his signed ethics agreement, that calls for no conflicts of interest during his time at the Pentagon.
THURSDAY MARCH 21, 2019: PRES. TRUMP SIGNS FREE SPEECH EXECUTIVE ORDER
On Thursday, Pres. Trump signed an executive order aimed at protecting free speech on college and university campuses. This executive order was previously mentioned during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (C.P.A.C.) a few weeks ago. This executive order is supposed to “guarantee” free speech on campuses and schools that do not comply to these rules will lose federal research funding. An official from the Trump administration mentioned that this order will not affect aid programs that go towards tuition.
FRIDAY MARCH 22, 2019: ROBERT MUELLER’S INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has officially finished his investigation on Russian intervention during the 2016 Presidential Election. The report had been delivered to Attorney General William Barr on Friday evening. Attorney General Barr is currently reviewing the report and may announce Mueller’s results over this upcoming weekend.
SUNDAY MARCH 10, 2019: PRES. TRUMP LOOKING TO INCLUDE $8.6 BILLION IN 2020 BUDGET FOR WALL
Pres. Trump is set to announce his budget on Monday, where the White House announced he will be seeking for $8.6 billion to go toward his border wall. That request does not stop the national emergency declaration. He is asking for the $8.6 billion on top of the previously requested $7 billion. In order to receive that money, he will have to strip several programs benefiting people and the environment from their funding.
MONDAY MARCH 11, 2019: PRES. TRUMP’S BUDGET OF $4.75 TRILLION
Pres. Trump announced his $4.75 trillion budget on Monday which he sent to Congress for the 2020 fiscal year. This budget is said to be one of the biggest in federal history. The new budget would drastically increase military spending and cut funding for education, environmental protection programs, Medicaid and Medicare. The budget would cut around $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and $818 billion from Medicare. Social security programs would also lose $26 billion and the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding would decrease by 31%. The new budget proposal would decrease education funding by 10% and have $8.6 billion towards the border wall.
TUESDAY MARCH 12, 2019: PRES. TRUMP SIGNS PUBLIC LANDS LAW
On Tuesday, Pres. Trump signed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation Management and Recreation Act into law. This bipartisan law includes natural resources and public lands proposals. This law would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation fund. This act was originally named the Natural Resource Management Act, but was renamed after the passing of former Rep. John Dingell, Jr. (D-MI) to honor him.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 13, 2019: PAUL MANAFORT RECEIVED EXTRA TIME
The former campaign chairman of Pres. Trump, Paul Manafort, was sentenced 3.5 additional years for conspiracy linked to lobbying in Ukraine for a pro-Russian political party. Manafort was sentenced to almost 4 years last week, which his sentence now is about 7.5 years. There is a possibility Manafort could be pardoned from his sentence by Pres. Trump but he has said that he has not entirely considered it yet.
Former Texas Congressman of Texas, Beto O’Rourke announced he is running for President Wednesday morning. O’Rourke gained his popularity after his run for Senate against Ted Cruz, where he lost by only 3 points. During the 2018 Senate race, he was able to increase the numbers of young and Democratic voters in Texas, which showed at the results of the race.
THURSDAY MARCH 14, 2019 (PART 2): RESOLUTION TO BLOCK NATIONAL EMERGENCY PASSED IN SENATE
The Senate voted 59-41 to overturn Pres. Trump’s national emergency declaration where 12 Republicans joined Democrats to vote in favor of it. The resolution was passed by the House last week and surprisingly in the Senate this week. This showed weakness within the Republican party, since many Republicans turned away from Trump’s request for the national emergency. Even though it was passed by the House and Senate, there is a possibility for it to be overturned by the President vetoing it. Pres. Trump attempted to persuade Senate Republicans to vote against the resolution, but that did not work for many as the vote showed.
FRIDAY MARCH 15, 2019: RESOLUTION TO BLOCK NATIONAL EMERGENCY VETOED BY PRES. TRUMP
Pres. Trump rejected the resolution to block his declared national emergency, by issuing the first veto of his presidency. Next steps after the vote are that the legislation will be send back to Congress for a vote but it is unlikely that it will be overridden. The American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) released a statement saying that if Congress is not able to override the veto, they will take the national emergency declaration to court. The House will vote on March 26th to override the veto.
SATURDAY MAR. 2, 2019: PRES. TRUMP PROMISES EXECUTIVE ORDER REQUIRING “FREE SPEECH” ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (C.P.A.C.), in Oxon Hill, MD, was held last week and Pres. Trump spoke at it last Saturday (March 2). During his speech, he mentioned that soon he will be signing an executive order that would require universities and colleges in the U.S. to maintain “free speech” on their campuses. It was later on mentioned in his speech, that schools that would not comply with the new executive order, could potentially lose federal research funds which annually are more than $30 billion total.
SUNDAY MAR. 3, 2019: DEMOCRATS VISIT SELMA TO ATTEND “BLOODY SUNDAY” MARCH
On Sunday it was the 54th anniversary of the horrific “Bloody Sunday” march, in which on March 7th, 1965 peaceful protesters trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a civil rights march were violently attacked by law enforcement. Many 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates attended Sunday’s march, including Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sen. Booker was able to give a speech to the crowd in attendance, followed by 2016 Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton who also spoke at the event.
MONDAY MAR. 4, 2019: JOHN HICKENLOOPER ANNOUNCES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
On Monday the former Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper (D), announced his 2020 presidential campaign joining many other hopefuls for the Presidential spot. Hickenlooper is only the second Governor that has joined the race, along with the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee (D). Hickenlooper held his first rally this past Thursday, March 7th, at a park in Denver.
TUESDAY MAR. 5, 2019: COMMISSIONER OF U.S. F.D.A. ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION
Scott Gottlieb, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, announced on Tuesday that he will be stepping down from his position as soon as next month. Gottlieb was nominated by Pres. Trump. As the head of F.D.A., he took many measures against the increasing teen vaping rates and has taken an aggressive stance towards e-cigarette makers. He is also known for his fight to reduce tobacco levels in combustible cigarettes and lower consumer prices for prescription drugs. He mentioned that the reason he will be stepping down, is to be able to spend more time with his family.
WEDNESDAY MAR. 6, 2019: DEMOCRATS REVIVE NET-NEUTRALITY BATTLE
Democratic leaders introduced a new bill called “Save the Internet Act” that would restore regulations from former Pres. Obama’s administration. This bill would prohibit internet service providers from prioritizing or blocking certain web traffic. There’s optimism that this bill will be accepted by both sides, but soon after it was announced, Republican leaders announced their opposition for the new net-neutrality bill. A similar bill was introduced last year in the Senate but it eventually died in the House, since it was controlled mostly by the G.O.P.
THURSDAY MAR.7, 2019: PAUL MANAFORT SENTENCED TO 47 MONTHS IN PRISON
Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, was sentenced to 47 months in prison on Thursday. He faced charges on conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses in D.C.. Sentencing guidelines for such charges are usually 19-24 years, therefore Judge T.S. Ellis III has been strongly criticized for sentencing Manafort to only 47 months in prison. Manafort was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release and pay a $50,000 fine and $24 million in restitution. This past August, Manafort was also convicted of 8 criminal charges by a jury which are: five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts. Manafort is facing almost 4 years in prison, but there is a possibility that the charges could be dropped if Pres. Trump pardons him.
FRIDAY MAR. 8, 2019: HOUSE DEMOCRATS PASS ELECTORAL REFORM BILL
In a 234-193 vote, the House was able to pass H.R. 1, the “The For The People Act”, which aims to expand voting rights, implement new ethics rules and increase transparency in elections. This bill would more specifically enable automatic voter registration and make Election Day a national holiday for federal workers. The bill would also force the President and Vice President to disclose a decade of their tax-records. The vote was very split between the two parties, since Republicans have been openly opposed to it because they believe that it limits free-speech and oversteps on rights the states have. The bill has passed onto the Senate which has low chances of passing, since the Republican majority, including majority leader Mitch McConnell (R), have been extremely opposed to the passing of this bill.
Tyler Bauer is a junior at Frostburg State University double majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. During his freshman year at Frostburg, he revived the Frostburg State College Democrats. He has remained the President of the organization throughout the entirety of his time at Frostburg. During the spring of his freshman year, he teamed up with several of his colleagues to start the National General Assembly. After his freshman year, he interned with the Washington County Democratic Central Committee where he learned how run and organize under former Chairman of the Central Committee, Peter Perini. After his internship he began working with Roger Manno and his congressional campaign. During his time interning with Roger Manno, he was also a volunteer with Ben Jealous. Soon after, he was offered an internship with Ben Jealous. While interning with Ben Jealous, he was also volunteering with, Peter Perini, who was running for the House of Delegates as well as Carmen Jackson and her run for school board. Tyler is now working at Frostburg as a tutor and with Frostburg State University’s Upward Bound program as a tutor counselor. With election season being over he has directed the College Democrats attention toward Brownsville which was an African American community that used to exist on the land that Frostburg stands on today. Their goal is to help raise awareness and to find different ways to honor Brownsville and its people.