Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for March 6-12

The Weekly Memo with a full week of action in Annapolis plus MoCo town halls on the school system. Plus the great news about the advance of earned, paid sick leave after a five-year struggle. Now you need to call your senator to pass it with a veto-proof majority on the Senate floor this week.

 Welcome to the Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for March 6-12

The best news of last week was that the earned, paid sick leave bill, after five years of fighting, passed the full House and was reported out pretty much untouched by the Senate Finance Committee. Now we hear from our coalition allies at Working Matters that “the Senate is voting on earned paid sick days THIS WEEK. Call your Senator now!! If you haven't made a call yet to your legislator about the earned paid sick days bill, NOW IS THE TIME. Click here to call your Senator.

“The Senate is just days away from voting on the Healthy Working Families Act (SB230), which would allow hundreds of thousands of Maryland families to earn paid sick days. Over 750,000 Marylanders don't have access to a single paid sick day, meaning they face impossible choices between things like staying home to care for their sick child or missing the paycheck that will put food on the table that week. The Senate is the one of the last HUGE hurdles before the Healthy Working Families Act can become Maryland law. It's time. Tell your Senator Marylanders need earned paid sick days so they can care for their families! Click here to make a phone call.    Click here to send an email.  One phone call can make the difference for hundreds of thousands of Maryland families. We've been fighting for this bill for FIVE YEARS, and victory is within reach!! Don't wake up next week wondering if things could have been different if you made a phone call. This is our big chance!”

We would add that this bill came through clean despite the totally inadequate substitute proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan this year, probably in a last-ditch effort to derail this effort – which is supported by a clear majority of Marylanders. So a veto-proof majority is critical. The House vote exceeds the 60 percent required. The Senate bill has 24 sponsors, but even assuming all of them vote for it on the floor, we need 31. So make that call anyway, but check here to see if your senator is one of the 24 (“All Sponsors”). If not, make two calls.

TOMORROW (March 7) at 11:30 a.m., supporters of the $15 minimum wage bill for Maryland will meet the press and public to make the case for a $15 minimum wage soon. A House committee will give the bill a hearing at 1 p.m. The raises will be phased in through 2024 both in actual dollars and in the sizes of the businesses subject to the regulation. As Progressive Maryland emphasizes, “Nowhere in Maryland can working families afford to live on less than a $15 minimum wage (Maryland Community Action Partnership).’ More about the bill and why it’s needed is here. More about tomorrow’s schedule is in the calendar below.

 Also in the calendar for tomorrow, (March 7, 1 p.m.) Progressive Maryland will testify on an important bail reform bill, HB1390, which would reduce the use of cash bail, increasingly understood to discriminate against low-income and poor persons.  And Friday, March 10, the House Health and Government Operations committee hears HB909, the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act, which would help shield Marylanders from the effects of Congressional actions on the Affordable Care Act.

 ON THE CALENDAR FOR THIS WEEK:

Tuesday, March 7, at 11:30 a.m. Fight for $15 Press Conference

House Office Building, Room 145 in Annapolis, MD  kicking off our statewide #Fightfor15 campaign with a press conference at the statehouse. Join us as we stand with workers to demand fair wages for all and an end to economic exploitation. If you have a story to share about living on minimum or near-minimum wage or want to get further involved, email Justin Vest at justin@progressivemaryland.org. A public hearing in the House of Delegates will follow at 1 p.m. 

Tuesday, March 7, Progressive Maryland will testify at the Judiciary Committee (1 p.m.) on an important bail reform bill, HB1390, which would reduce the use of cash bail, increasingly understood to discriminate against low-income and poor persons.

 Wednesday, March 8, 6:30 p.m. MoCo Education Forum - Silver Spring  Montgomery Blair High School Montgomery County Council and education officials are hosting a series of education town halls throughout the county. This is our opportunity to address our public officials about the urgent issues facing our students and schools including Fully funding educational programs and staff to support successful outcomes for all students; a $15 minimum wage to reduce childhood poverty, improve student nutrition, and close the achievement gap; resisting threats to public education posed by the Trump Administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Stand up for public education in Montgomery County and help us pack the room.We are also looking for people who can speak at the forum on one of the above issues. If you are willing to ask a question during the forum, please email justin@progressivemaryland.org.

 Friday, March 10, the House Health and Government Operations committee hears HB909, the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act, which would help shield Marylanders from the effects of Congressional actions on the Affordable Care Act.

 LONGER TERM ACTIVISM (Like, next week…)

Wednesday, March 15, at 1 p.m. Senate Hearing on State Fight For $15 Bill, Senate Office Building in Annapolis. A bill has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hr. If passed, this will be a huge victory for working families in our state where there is not a single county in which working families can be self-sufficient on less than $15. The legislation as introduced would: Raise wages to $15/hr by 2022 for most workers; Index the minimum wage to inflation to prevent loss in buying power; eliminate the subminimum wage and unfair pay practices for tipped workers. Help us pack the hearing room in solidarity with working families across Maryland and demand fair wages for all.

Wednesday, March 15, 6:30 p.m. Montgomery County Education Forum - Takoma Park at Montgomery College – Takoma. Montgomery County Council and education officials are hosting a series of education town halls throughout the county. This is another in the series (see March 8, above).


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 woodlanham@gmail.com. We recently published these:

March 03, 2017   Maryland Workers Are Fighting for Survival

Following last year's landmark victories in Washington, DC and New York state, the Fight for $15 continues along the eastern seaboard. The fight picks up Tuesday (March 7) as the House hears a bill that puts Maryland's minimum on a path to $15/hr, because nowhere in Maryland can a family survive and thrive on less than that.

March 3, 2017   Flying high with the Fourth Estate: Progressive Maryland made the news this week

Progressive Maryland made news and made the news this week and last. A roundup from Larry Stafford, our executive director, of links to news coverage of our activities and causes.

March 02, 2017   Progressive Maryland testifies in support of Trust Act.

Prince George’s County lead organizer Jennifer Dwyer delivered Progressive Maryland’s testimony Feb. 28 to the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of a bill protecting vulnerable immigrant populations in Maryland from “unethical, racist and legally questionable” practices of the Trump administration, insulating local governments from complying with federal demands.

March 01, 2017   Earned Income Tax Credit changes at state level will help struggling families

Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit in Maryland would help more than 355,000 Marylanders who are struggling to get by on low wages, most of whom do not currently receive the credit. Two bills now in the Assembly would make big progress on this front. (from Maryland Center on Economic Policy)

 February 27, 2017   Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Feb. 27- March 4

Welcome to the Weekly Memo for Feb. 27-March 4. Lots of hearings in Annapolis this week and more next week; the crunch time is approaching as the legislature hits the halfway point on the way to sine die. Plus local organizing opportunities and links to the past week's blog posts. One-stop shopping for progressives.

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.