TO: House Speaker Jones, and members of the Economic Matters Committee
FROM: Larry Stafford, Jr., Executive Director, Progressive Maryland
DATE: February 23, 2023
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on HB549. Progressive Maryland is a grassroots, nonprofit organization with 9 regional chapters from Frederick to the Lower Shore and more than 100,000 members and supporters. They live in nearly every legislative district in the state. In addition, there are dozens of affiliated community, faith, and labor organizations across the
state that stand behind our work. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families in Maryland. Please note our strong support for HB549.
Maryland’s current minimum wage of $13.25 per hour translates to only $27,560 per year for a full-time worker. Numerous cost of living studies have found that Maryland is one of the most expensive state in the nation for basic necessities such as groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and health, and now the burden of such a high cost of living is being exacerbated by an inflation rate that's the highest it's been in 40 years. These factors make the acceleration of the $15 per hour minimum wage imperative to support our state's most vulnerable working people.
Nowhere in the entire State of Maryland can a person be self-supporting on a wage lower than $15.00 an hour, according to a study by Maryland Community Action Partnership. As of now, the minimum wage will not reach $15.00 per hour until 2026 for all minimum wage workers in Maryland. HB549 would mean that all minimum wage workers will be paid $15.00 per hour by 2023 instead of 2026. This will have a massive impact on the lives of close to 1 million workers in the state who currently and will continue to make less than $15.00 an hour until 2026 unless the General Assembly takes action. The economic reality and hardship are so
blatantly apparent to residents that the majority of Marylanders support the acceleration of raising the minimum wage to $15.00.
We also need to ensure that the minimum wage is indexed to inflation and passing this bill would do that. Indexing the minimum wage to inflation is an important part of worker protection because it ensures that wages stay up with the cost of living. If the minimum wage is not indexed to inflation, low income workers may not be able to afford basic necessities as the cost of living increases. Indexing wages to inflation also helps businesses plan and budget, without having to worry about sudden changes in labor costs due to unanticipated increases in the cost of living.
Maryland workers deserve better than to continue working in excess of forty hours per week just to meet their most basic needs. For these reasons, we urge a favorable report on HB549.
Larry Stafford, Jr.
Testimony Supporting Maryland Senate Bill 590
Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Eligible Sources - Alterations
(Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2023)
TO: Chair Feldman, and Members of the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee
FROM: Christianne Marguerite, Director of Communications at Progressive Maryland
DATE: February 27, 2023
POSITION: FavorableRead more
Today, we're testifying in the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment committee for the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act (SB590/HB718) - the latest, and hopefully final, step in the years-long campaign to end "renewable energy" subsidies for trash incineration. This year, communities on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland are facing new, but parallel, threats from factory farm methane production and woody biomass incineration. The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act eliminates subsidies for all three, redirecting the money to the real renewable energy we need to actually clean the air and fight climate change. Environmental disaster should not be subsidized with public funds. Makes sense, right? Check out the testimony below for more details, and take action here!
As February comes to a close, so does Black History Month, a time dedicated to recognizing the contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. This month serves as a reminder of the many Black leaders and organizers who have fought tirelessly for justice and equality in the face of extreme adversity. Black leaders have played a crucial role in shaping the world we live in today. It is important to continue to honor and celebrate their legacies beyond just one month, and to recognize the ongoing struggle for racial, social, and economic justice that still exists. As we move forward, we must amplify the voices of Black leaders and organizers and work to dismantle the systems of oppression that continue to harm Black communities.
Around 2,300 bills have been filed for this legislative session, including some that are actually good. But leaders are already moaning about the lack of time to give them all the attention tney deserve.
Our Maryland General Assembly leaders have a history of reluctance to extend the three-month session or schedule special sessions, even when needs are obvious. Longtime observers see this as a dodge to allow leadership to cherry-pick their preferred bills for fast-tracking while they cry bitter crocodile tears about the ones that don’t make it. Letting the 90-day session limit dictate what gets to passage is a mug’s game, and leadership works it to the hilt. Marylanders should push their legislators to stay in session as long as it takes to get ALL good bills across the finish line.
Read about bills and scuffles as the new administration and the Assembly experience a leetle friction and start to lose their permanent smiles.
As we approach the halfway point of the legislative session this Friday, bill hearings are picking up and testimony is needed more than ever. So far, this year’s session has been marked by a flurry of activity, with lawmakers considering a wide range of bills on issues ranging from police reform to education funding. While no bills have been passed yet, we’ll continue to keep you updated on the good and the bad as we expect to see some shifts and movements on bills regarding our legislative priorities. Read on for updates and actions you can take today to support progressive legislation and build a more just future for our state and communities!
The Progressive Maryland Team
Human needs, violently active (environmental emergency responses) and newly visible (worrying new child poverty evidence -- and solution possibilities) occupy the General Assembly as it gets into the grind-it-out hearings section of its schedule. We have local and national news about human needs from the toxic-bombed railroad town in Ohio to wondering why we can't seem to get traction on restoring the Chesapeake Bay. It is News you can Use for this week. Read on.
To The Black Community:
This month is special for us. It allows us dedicated time to celebrate the beauty and strength of our community - something that has flourished despite centuries of oppression. We are a shining example of how resilience, joy, and compassion can persevere through deep racism and adversity.
From the creators who crafted groundbreaking music to the inventors who forever changed technology and everyday essentials, Black people and Black culture have been an invaluable source of inspiration, creativity, and leadership over time. Our fortitude has laid down foundations for justice and progress in our society.
From affordable housing to community control of police, Progressive Maryland is dedicated to fighting for a better world where everyone is treated with respect and valued equally regardless of ethnicity or skin color. As a Black-led organization, we are deeply connected to this cause – one that we fight for on behalf of those who have been wronged by an unjust system that was built for the purpose of working against us.
We understand that often the pressure put on you by society can be suffocating, yet you continue to show up, thrive, lead and create despite the odds being stacked against you. The weight and strength of the Black experience cannot be understated: even with constant pressures from society, you continue to show up, thrive, lead and create despite the odds being stacked against you.
We hear your voices calling out for justice loud and clear, as if they were echoing through the generations — from our ancestors before us all the way up to today. We cry out with you in solidarity as we work towards a future where all Black people can finally be free.
You are courageous. You are loved. You are valued. You are seen. Thank you for continuing to strive for justice even when it feels impossible. Keep pushing forward, keep dreaming big, keep inspiring others to stay strong until real change arrives.
In Solidarity & Love,
Director of Communications at Progressive Maryland
Happy Monday! We’re just over a month into the Maryland General Assembly session and the pace is picking up as more bill hearings get set. Here at Progressive Maryland, we’re stepping up our grassroots advocacy. On Saturday we held a virtual town hall with Del. David Moon on how the legislative process works in the Maryland General Assembly. Thanks to Del. Moon and all the folks who attended! We’re ready to enlist you in our efforts.
Our Task Forces will submit written and in-person testimony on priority bills related to healthcare, environmental justice, police accountability and cannabis reform. It’s all part of our call for bold and meaningful action from our lawmakers this legislative session! You’ll find upcoming hearing dates and various upcoming events from our allies in the memo.
Thank you for being part of this movement!
Gov. Wes Moore's legislative package continues to get buy-in from not only the Dem supermajorities in the General Assembly but even from chastened GOP members. The various agendas are being distributed in legislation -- 2,100 bills and counting -- and now is not the time to let the details escape us. News You Can Use has specific moves and bills in its sights as we pass the first month of the Assembly's three-month session and deal with the new rules that accompany big federal money. Read on and find out what powers you have for change. Sometimes making change is playing defense in the back alleys of the legislative process, where big-money lobbyists can turn a good bill into a cash cow for business behind our backs. Join the mayhem...