Fight for $15

Senator Rich Madaleno recently proposed a $15 minimum wage bill for Maryland, SB543.  A companion bill was proposed by Delegate Shelly Hettleman, HB664. These bills propose a gradual increase in the state minimum wage from its current level of $9.25 to $15 in 2023.  After that, the minimum wage will be increased annually based on the consumer price index. My daughter and step-son are both struggling to survive in Columbia on part-time minimum wage jobs.  For them, even $0.50 more an hour makes a noticeable difference.

As of this writing, the House bill has 73 cosponsors for a total of 74 votes, ensuring passage of the bill by majority vote. On the other hand, the Senate bill has 20 cosponsors for a total of 21 votes.  Since there are 47 Senators, 24 votes are needed for passage by majority vote. So we need at least three more Senators to sign on as cosponsors to ensure passage in the Senate. If Gov. Hogan vetoes the bill, we would need 85 votes in the House and 29 in the Senate to override the veto.

To get contact information for your state Senator, go to <>. While there please sign the petition in support of the $15 minimum wage bill.

We have three state Senators who serve Howard County, Gail Bates (Rep-District 9), Ed Kasemeyer (Dem-District 12) and Guy Guzzone (Dem-District 13.)   None of our Senators has signed on as a cosponsor of the bill. I corresponded with Sen. Kasemeyer's office and he expressed some reservations about supporting the bill because of a slow economic recovery of the Lower Shore region.  He also expressed concern that raising the minimum wage would encourage automation to replace low paying jobs, eliminating those jobs and ultimately hurting the workers. Both of these are spurious arguments. A study of minimum wage hikes in 137 localities around the country showed no adverse affect on the minimum wage workers.  An article referencing the work can be found at:


Similarly the worry about automation in unfounded.  Automation is part of our future and will certainly be replacing jobs whether we have a minimum wage hike or not.  Some minimum wage jobs are vulnerable to automation, but many are not because they involve human interaction. These include jobs in daycare and elder care where the point is to have people take care of people.  And these are some of the lowest paying jobs in the country.

When I called Senator Guzzone's office I asked what his stand was on the bill.  They were not very familiar with the issue (there are a lot of bills, they said) and asked what my opinion was.  I told them I was strongly in favor of it and that I encouraged Sen. Guzzone to sign on as a cosponsor.

I have not contacted Gail Bates office.

From my interactions with Howard County's Senators, I feel that they can be persuaded to support the Senate bill and to sign on as cosponsors.  But they need to hear from you, their constituents. I am sharing the petition and contact information (<>) in the hope that you, the residents of Maryland, will engage your Senators and tell them that you want them to cosponsor this bill. I only takes a call or an email to let them know what you think about the Fight for $15!


Stay involved!


Weekly Memo March 5th ,2018

Welcome to the Weekly Memo.


Fight for $15 hearing in Annapolis,

Progressive Maryland needs you to show up. If you want to speak and tell your legislators why Maryland workers deserve at least $15/hr, arrive by 12 noon on Thursday, March 8th, The hearing will be held in State Senate building in Annapolis.

It will take each and every one of us involved and engaged to get the things we need and deserve to live and thrive in our state!

Progressive Maryland will be hosting a remote phone bank to recruit canvassers to the March Monthly Canvass! Join us at our office (35 University Blvd East, Silver Spring, MD 20901) or remotely on Thursday, March 8th from 5 pm-8 pm. Sign up here to make calls to others to be canvassers!

From Protest to Power Canvass

Meet your neighbors. Explore your community. Win elections. Make positive social change. 

We will connect with voters about the Protest to Power Platform, working to elect Ben Jealous & Susan Turnbull Governor/Lt. Governor of Maryland, and the most important issues in voters’ lives. Join us March 31, 2018, at 10 am and April 01, 2018 at 10 am

Sign up to HOST your own canvass, so others in your area can sign up to go door-to-door with you or RSVP for an event happening near you here:

Member Leaders:

Come Out To Movement Politics Interest Meeting

If taking back our democracy by winning elections is where you want to build your organizing home, complete the Movement Politics Team Survey! I will be holding an in-person meeting on Wednesday, March 7th from 5:30 pm-6:30 pm to talk about volunteer strategy around the 2018 Primary. RSVP here!

Progressive Caucus Candidate Slate Interest Meeting

Progressive Maryland has set electing progressives into positions to govern as our top objective this year. We have recruited and endorsed a number of candidates that match our values for governing and we must put every effort possible into making sure that they run viable campaigns. Our candidate pipeline and endorsed candidates need to be one accord with the organization. I will be holding an in-person meeting on Wednesday, March 7th from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm to talk about strategy. RSVP here!

If questions contact:
Alexiss Kurtz ¬∑¬†[email protected]¬†

If you aren't able to join us this week, Sign up for our Movement Politics Team and stay informed about the upcoming events by clicking here!  



(The previous memo, announced the non rescheduled date for this event)

Baltimore Chapter Office Opening and Community Meeting, RSVP here

On March 15th, 2018 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, the Progressive Maryland Baltimore Chapter will be having its official Office opening.

CONTACT: Brittany Oliver ¬∑¬†[email protected]/
Mass Incarceration Listening Session

We want to hear from you! On Thursday, March 22nd at 7 p.m. we'll be focusing on the problems and crafting community solutions to solve the problems in PG County. RSVP  here

Take Action Anne Arundel County 

Four of the 6 bills that the chapter is prioritizing have public hearings this week. 
Tuesday, March 6 at 1 pm -  In the Senate - Hearing for SB732 - Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2018
  • Is an issue of environmental justice, as low-income communities and non-white communities are often disproportionately exposed to air pollution from nearby fossil fuel-burning (usually coal) power plants
  • Bill contains job training for workers and support for minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned clean energy companies
Wednesday, March 7 at 1 pm -  In the Senate - Hearing for SB1002 - Healthy Maryland Act of 2018  
  • Many Marylanders are either still uninsured or are struggling to pay forever rising medical bills
  • Benefits will be non-discriminatory without regard to pre-existing conditions & include dental, vision and prescription drugs
In the Senate - Hearing for SB1028 - Youth Mental Health Protection Act of 2018  
  • This bill requires a ban of conversion therapy for minors
  • LGBTQ youth suffer from depression and low self-esteem due to the message society sends them that they are wrong for being who they are. This practice reinforces that damaging message.¬†¬†
Thursday, March 8 at 1 pm -  In the Senate - Hearing for SB543 - Fight for $15 Minimum Wage  
  • A $15 minimum wage would benefit hundreds of thousands of kids. Over 300,000 children have at least one parent that would be affected by a $15 minimum wage in Maryland.
Take Action Anne Arundel County Monthly Chapter Meeting:
Thursday, March 15 at 7 pm, Personal Storytelling for Legislative Change at Edgewater Community Library  
  • Do you have a personal story that you are willing to share to help make change happen? We need your voice!
  • Join Take Action Anne Arundel County in a discussion about stories that matter. Our chapter is supporting 6 bills that will impact people's lives in this county including a $15 minimum wage, healthcare for all Marylanders, keeping immigrants safe in Maryland, clean energy jobs in Maryland, expanded legal definition of hate crime against groups, and a conversion therapy ban for minors.¬†
  • Learn key talking points about these bills and add your personal story to persuade your legislator to vote yes!¬†
  • RSVP here
Other Anne Arundel County Events
On Friday, March 9 at 7 pm, Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis will view and discuss the film An Inconvenient Sequel.  An announcement is on the CSGA website and on Facebook.  

Talbot Rising

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

PMD Montgomery



Thursday, April 5 -- County Council candidates forum. Details to be announced. 7:00 -- 9:00 p.m. Hoyer Education Center

Protect Our Community Against ICE Agents
The 2017 Maryland Trust Act bill that passed in the House last year but not in the Senate. It is being re-introduced in 2018 as the SAFE (Supporting All Families Everywhere) Act. It intends to create protections against ICE Agents. 
Greenbelt People Power would like you to take four actions:
  1. We need a crowd of supporters at the SAFE Act press conference in Annapolis on March 8th at 2 p.m in Room 145 of the House Office Building.  If you can attend, kindly RSVP here. Bring your friends and colleagues, too.
  2. Attend the SAFE ACT press conference on March 8 at 2 PM. RSVP here
  3. Attend the hearing¬†SAFE Act¬†hearing on¬†March 13th at 1 PM¬†or email a written testimony in .doc or PDF format to Delegate Gutierrez's office at¬†[email protected]¬†
  4.  Contact Jeff Harrison, Greenbelt People Power, 240-604-4475, with questions or to discuss other possible actions.  

Reading the Progressive Maryland Blog Space: our blogs for the previous week are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track ‚Äď and never miss a blog post ‚Äď you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blog space and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don‚Äôt like ‚Äď or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at [email protected]


Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM Blog Space from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here


Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for February 19-26, 2018

It will take each and every one of us involved and engaged to get the things we need and deserve to live and thrive in our state!

Join us to knock on doors in your community on Saturday, February 24th


Read more

How Democrats can win: don't shy away from populist themes

Wobbles in the polls may unnerve Democrats, but recent Democratic candidates have won in deep-Red territory by speaking truth to power, Hal Ginsberg relates. "All is not lost for those hoping for an end to Republican hegemony in Washington, however, as recent victories on seemingly unfavorable terrain have shown."


Read more

Last hurdle for sick leave bill passed, thanks to House committee

Great breaking news from the Working Matters coalition (Progressive Maryland is on board):

The Working Matters coalition is delighted to report that the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA) will continue with no delays thanks to the House Economic Matters Committee (ECM).

Read more

Progressive Maryland backs Assembly bills to widen and strengthen access to voting

In these difficult times when access to voting is under attack from the Right ‚Äď especially access for poor people and those of color ‚Äď some good pushback bills are in the General Assembly that deserve support. They will expand access to voting for all Marylanders.

Below is the testimony on two of them by Progressive Maryland (through Jennifer Dwyer, PM policy and legislative director) on one and by Common Cause with endorsement from Progressive Maryland on the second. The League of Women Voters, ACLU, PIRG, Brennan Center, SEIU, Sierra Club, Black Girls Vote and other organizations also signed on to the bill proposing election-day registration.

Read more

Mental health monitoring, access to treatment must begin in schools

Statistics from the National Alliance for Mental Health are evidence of the importance of implementing psychologists within schools and obtaining more psychologists working in the juvenile justice system, PM's Prince George's intern shows. Without their help, many children and teens are susceptible to mental illness. We can reverse this detrimental trend by taking action and offering them access to therapy from certified mental health professionals.


Read more

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for February 12-19, 2018

Bend your energy toward the future‚Ķ if everyone who marched against the current administration went out and spent a four-hour shift knocking on doors in their neighborhood in a mass canvass‚Ķ. Well, you do the math. Energizing folks to realize their power ‚Äď the power to vote, the power to engage in community action ‚Äď is the simple startup solution to a lot of complex problems.


Read more

Action Report: January 30 Women's State of the Union at the National Press Club

People's Action helped organize the Women's State of the Union event at the National Press Club Jan. 30, countering the SOTU by Pres. Trump. At the invitation of People's Action, Brandy Brooks organized a contingent from Progressive Maryland.

Claire Miller from Take Action Anne Arundel County and Chrissy Holt, State Senate District 30 candidate in Anne Arundel, joined in attending this landmark event with Progressive Maryland organizers.


Read more

Thoughts, comforting and not so comforting, after Trump Year 1

Acting locally lets us touch the people we are affecting, HoCo activist Dave Bazell notes.  And it allows them to touch us.  And this feedback is essential in getting it right.  Which is not to say activism on a national level is not important or essential, it is just harder.  Harder to comprehend, harder to organize, harder to feel the immediate benefits of.


Read more