As the General Assembly drops the balloons and goes home on Sine Die today, we pat ourselves on the back for a quite successful session and note that our work continues all over the state. Plus recent blog posts you may have missed.
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for April 10-16
Sine die! The General Assembly slog is finally over and progressives have significant victories to celebrate in this session, including the finale of the five-year push to get earned, paid sick leave for three quarters of a million Maryland workers, most of them low-paid and with struggling families. Later this week we’ll hear directly and fully from our allies at Working Matters, whom we joined in this struggle. For now, the task is getting a signature on the hard-won bill. “But we're not done yet. To make earned #paidsickdays a reality for hundreds of thousands of Marylanders, we ask Governor Hogan to sign HB1,” Working Matters says. “Call Governor Hogan: 410-974-3901; email the Governor’s office: http://governor.maryland.gov/mail/default.aspand sign the petition urging Hogan to sign HB1: http://www.earnedsickdaysmd.org/?page_id=1146Let's do this!”
And later this week we’ll hear from our Progressive Maryland folks who have been testifying in Annapolis since January for pro-people bills (and against corporations’ and lobbyists’ influence). Many of the bills we backed passed, a heartening litany of victories that’ll be paraded in a session roundup blog.
Meanwhile we’re working on many fronts.
Our fast-growing effort in Frederick County was central to a big “Medicare for All” health care rally in Frederick last week. “Healthcare is a Human Right”: Frederick County Residents Demand Single Payer. Here’s their release:
"FREDERICK – On Saturday, April 8, around a hundred people gathered in Frederick for a march and rally organized by Frederick Progressives and the Frederick chapter of Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland in support of HR-676, National Improved Medicare For All. Wearing yellow T-Shirts reading “Healthcare is a Human Right”, marchers assembled at the Bandshell and made their way through downtown Frederick to Carroll Creek Park Amphitheater.
Speakers included a member of the clergy, health practitioners and local residents who recounted a number of struggles with the current, for-profit health insurance system. (See the Frederick News-Post story).
"One of the things we’ve got to do is get out of the idea that insurance is a blanket that covers us,” said James French of Healthcare Is a Human Right Maryland. “We know that this can be paid for because so much is wasted by the industry now… We know there’s a model, we know there’s the funding, we can make it happen as long as we get elected officials who aren’t afraid of the insurance industry.”
Dr. Margaret Flowers of Healthcare is a Human Right and Health over Profit for Everyone told the crowd that in all her years of advocating for HR-676, she’d never seen this level of momentum for single payer.
Beth Landry, a Frederick-based nurse [Chair, Frederick County Progressives] and organizer of today’s event, said, “Years of direct patient care has shown me that people suffer when they lack insurance coverage and have significant barriers to healthcare. Our country needs to adopt a system that honors the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and guarantees quality healthcare to every individual regardless of their income or zip code.”
Of the two US Representatives whose districts cover Frederick County, one, Jamie Raskin, has cosponsored HR-676. John Delaney has not yet endorsed Medicare for All."
IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY Progressive Montgomery members have been pushing ahead at full steam since the March 28th chapter meeting.
Last week four members of the Grassroots Democracy team testified before the County Council in support of the new Public Elections Fund, requesting an additional $1 million to fully fund the program in advance of the 2018 election cycle. Members have been holding house meetings throughout the county on issues ranging from the minimum wage to environmental and LGBTQ issues. Our District 5 team is holding an organizing meeting this Wednesday at 7pm to prepare for the April 19th Council Town Hall.
Next week, members in council district 2 interested in participating in the national Science March are holding a planning meeting. The Transformative Community, Family Economic Security, Outreach, and Communications teams all have meetings next week to make plans for upcoming projects. For more details, contact lead Montgomery County organizer Justin Vest and be sure to visit www.progressivemaryland.org/montgomery to become a member of the Montgomery County chapter and join one of our teams.
From the Eastern Shore, a member wrote this to the Sun about Andy Harris, the hyperpartisan member of Congress: http://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-ed-harris-letter-20170405-story.html
In Howard County, Fair Elections work continues as the County Council is pushed to follow up on the public financing initiative passed by voters in November.
Rev. Diane Teichert is co-leading a consolidation of the work that’s been going on in Prince George’s: “The Coordinating Committee (new name) decided to wait on reporting out about Progressive Prince George's until we could announce first chapter meeting. Waiting on confirmation of location for that.”
Tuesday, April 11 Rep. Steny Hoyer (Dist. 5) Town Hall Meeting with Constituents -- Reid Temple AME Church, 11400 Glenn Dale Blvd., Glenn Dale Doors Open: 6:00 p.m. Town Hall: 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. No RSVPs needed.
It all happens for free… right? Not exactly. Organizing for change in our society and our politics requires both people and money. Keep change moving with a quick, secure impulse-buy contribution here.
Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our blogs for the previous week are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at email@example.com
We recently published these blogs:
April 06, 2017 Bail Bond Industry Tries to Head Off Court Ruling
Maryland's highest court has ruled that cash bail as applied in the state is unconstitutionally discriminatory -- on racial and economic grounds. The bail bond industry, built on the lucrative supplying of emergency funds to the desperate, sees economic ruin in the ruling and is trying to head it off in the General Assembly with a last-minute bill. Progressive Maryland argues before the House Judiciary Committee that undermining the court's ruling is against the public interest.
Activists in Bladensburg and three neighboring towns -- the Port Towns -- are fighting the siting of a concrete batching plant in Bladensburg that they say endangers historic sites, the environment and public health. The town council meets on a special exception request next Monday (April 10) and faces an aroused community.
Steve Melkisethian walks the Progressive Montgomery walk and finds a comfort zone in the Town Hall environment, where public officials hope they control the tempo and agenda. Sometimes, thanks to activists like Steve, their plans don't quite work out...
April 03, 2017 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for April 3-9
One week to go in the 2017 legislative session, with plenty still on the table. Democratic leaders in the Assembly are hoping to put some veto bait in front of Governor Hogan well before sine die so he’ll be vulnerable to an override on some big-ticket items now, not next year. Meanwhile some important measures are still stuck in traffic and it may be time for us to blow the whistle on those who are slow-walking bills.
April 01, 2017 Montgomery County Chapter Enters New Phase of Growth
Progressive Maryland is building power in Montgomery County to take on corporate Democrats and resist the Trump agenda by fighting for family economic security, grassroots democracy, and community institutions that benefit all residents.
Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace since June 2015 are all available with descriptions and links here.