We are committed to ending our state’s mistreatment of poor and working people and eliminating decades of structurally reproduced poverty.
1. Raising the Minimum Wage to $15/hour
You shall not abuse a needy and destitute worker, whether your kin or a stranger in one of the communities of your land. You must pay them their wages on the same day, before the sun sets, for they are needy and urgently depend on it. – Deuteronomy 24:14-15
Vision Statement: Our Jewish tradition holds sacred the value of work and the dignity of working people. It inspires us to advocate for a Maryland in which hardworking people are able to meet the financial needs of their families. The current statewide minimum wage of $10.10 is not enough to cover a person’s basic needs in Maryland, nor does it help rectify persistent gender and race-based pay and wealth gaps.
2019 Legislative Goal: Raise the Maryland minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 1, 2023 with subsequent increases tied to inflation.
2. Safe Housing and Fair Treatment for All Renters
One who rents a house to another is obligated to construct doors and to fix broken windows, to reinforce the ceiling and to fix broken beams, and to provide a bolt and a lock and similar things which are produced by skilled craftspeople and which are essential to living in a house. – Maimonides, Laws of Rental 6:3
Vision Statement: As Jews we are commanded to work to ensure that all people have what our Torah calls dei machsoro, resources sufficient for their needs. Safe and stable housing is a human right because shelter is something we all need. We are also taught that tenant’s rights are just as important as landlord’s rights.
Study after study have shown landlords have the upper hand in Maryland. Tenants living in homes posing threats to their health and safety are unable to seek justice through the courts due to a host of financial barriers. We have an obligation to ensure fairness in tenant / landlord law and to prevent homelessness.
2019 Legislative Goals:
Allow courts to consider landlords’ lead compliance during eviction proceedings. Require landlords to provide copies of their lead certificate and rental license in order to file a failure to pay rent complaint.
Enable renters to file escrow cases by paying the current month’s rent into an escrow account, rather than everything owed. Allow courts to determine a fair amount to pay for housing in disrepair, and allow a “fee shifting” provision for courts to be able to award reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.
Stop renewed efforts to pass the “Safe Neighborhoods Act,” an expanded definition of rent, and any other bills that further weaken the rights of renters in Maryland.
4. Guaranteeing Water Access and Affordability
G-d spoke to Moses, saying, “You and your brother Aaron take the staff and gather the community and before their eyes speak to the rock to give its waters. You shall bring forth for them water from the rock and provide drink for the community and for their animals.” – Numbers 20:7-8
Vision Statement: As Jews we are commanded to work to ensure that all people have what our Torah calls dei machsoro, resources sufficient for their needs. Water is a resource we all need. Yet tens of thousands of Marylanders have had their water shut off or have been forced into a tax sale due to their inability to pay outrageous and often arbitrary water bills. We will work with our legislators to reject this unjust system, and guarantee water access and affordability.