News You Can Use: Climate plans (but not enough, some say) and other state initiatives

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngWhat's new? The oldest of old-- Larry Hogan, fresh from eight years of degrading Maryland's environment, finances and reputation, has announced a run for the Senate. Does he know what he's stepping in? We'll see. Meanwhile, the Assembly churns on and we have details, plus news from the states and the (choke) federal government saddled with the current House of Representatives. All-Star Weekend is definitely over.,

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Lawyers Mall Erupts as Marylanders Send a Cease and Desist to The Maryland Chamber of Commerce

Lawyers Mall Erupts as Marylanders Send a Cease and Desist to The Maryland Chamber of Commerce

Over 150 Marylanders Came Together to Expose The Maryland Chamber of Commerce for Dark Money Lobbying and Call on The Governor to Take Action

 

Annapolis, Maryland – On Saturday, more than 150 progressive leaders from across Maryland united to challenge the influence of dark money in our legislative process. The march and rally, organized by Progressive Maryland, stopped at the Chamber of Commerce building before concluding at the Governor’s House. The livestream of the action may be found on Progressive Maryland’s Facebook page. 

Marylanders demonstrate in Downtown Annapolis

At the heart of the rally was a call to action against the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, identified as a major player utilizing dark money to sway legislative decisions in their favor, ultimately undermining the interests of Marylanders. Over the past decade, they have poured millions of dollars into lobbying against legislation that would force the largest corporations in our state to pay their fair share of taxes, keeping the wealthiest individuals in our state remaining wealthy and skirting consumer protection measures. That’s millions of dollars that could be collected in state taxes and should be going towards state funding for essential services like education, healthcare, housing, and climate action.


Activists hold up sign while marching to the Maryland Chamber of Commerce office

Now we are in a state budget deficit and it’s services like public transportation and school programs that are being cut. Along with union workers and state legislators, such as Delegate Gabriel Acevero, the group publicly called on the Governor to take action around this budget deficit that is hurting working families. “In the richest state in the union per capita, we still have one of the most regressive tax codes where the wealthy and well-connected still don't pay their fair share... If we say that we care about oppressed people across this state, then we've got to make sure that we're organizing to prioritize the Fair Share Act that will tax the wealthy and well-connected the way they're supposed to be taxed so we're funding all these priorities that they say we can't afford” said Acevero 

 Despite running on a platform of "Leave no one behind" and promising to end childhood poverty, Governor Moore's FY 2025 budget falls short of meeting even the most basic state commitments to essential services. As Larry Stafford, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland, noted, "Marylanders need more than rhetoric; we need a working families budget that reflects our values and priorities."

Numerous residents stepped forward to share their firsthand experiences with both the General Assembly and the Moore Administration’s persistent inaction. They highlighted the dire need for funding true renewable energy as an intervention to address toxic air in South Baltimore, improving housing conditions and affordability, and fully funding the Blueprint plan for education. 

In a symbolic gesture, attendees presented a cease and desist letter to Mary D. Kane, CEO and President of the Chamber of Commerce, demanding an end to corporate interference in Maryland's politics. 

Marylanders demonstrate in front of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce office  while Prince George’s County Council member, Krystal Oriadha, speaks.. 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 12, 2024

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This past Saturday, we hosted our 2024 Power Summit in Annapolis, and what a success it was! With over 150 passionate individuals present, we came together with one common goal: to build power and drive impactful change during this legislative session.

 

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who attended, and a special thank you to our elected officials who joined us and shared their insights and support at the summit. We were honored to have Majority Leader Delegate David Moon, Delegate Jamila Woods, Delegate Jazz Lewis, Delegate Gabriel Acevero, and Prince George's County Council Member Krystal Oriadha speak at the event. We're also grateful for the representatives from ally organizations who stood in solidarity with us.

 

We engaged in a powerful direct action, marching through downtown Annapolis to expose the Maryland Chamber of Commerce's use of dark money lobbying tactics to sway our elected officials. We demanded accountability and transparency, advocating for full funding of the housing, healthcare, climate action, and workplace rights we all deserve. Then, we marched in front of the Governor's mansion to call upon Governor Moore to address the state budget with more urgency.

 

READ MORE ABOUT OUR WORK BELOW

 

 

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News You Can Use: What's happening in Maryland, other states and the federal government

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngGov. Moore's many plans and proposals take two days to offload; how to have an impact on the Assembly session; naming fish tastier and more, including Maryland's state-level plans for putting guardrails around the use (or misuse) of artificial intelligence (or AI, maybe you've heard of it?)

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Anti-DEI laws as passed in Texas may be coming for all of us

Opinion: The Impact of Texas's Senate Bill (SB) 17 on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at its Public Colleges and Universities

There is a movement to abolish DEI programs, and the battle is not just in red states; a debate to abolish DEI programs occurred at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

We must stay vigilant against attempts to pass anti-DEI legislation and other efforts to undermine the democratic principles of fairness and equal opportunity.


 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 5, 2024

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As we dive into February, we're not just celebrating the start of Black History Month; we're actively contributing to it. To kick off the month, our 7/10 Black Workers Center launched the Career Readiness Program, tailored to address the needs of underemployed workers in Prince George's County and returning residents. For those interested in the Career Readiness Program, click here to fill out the interest form. 

 

Every week, we'll be highlighting Black leaders, past and present, who have shaped our history and continue to inspire us today. Check out our Black History Month section later in the memo to join us in honoring their contributions.

 

But that's not all! This Saturday marks our 2024 Power Summit, a day of connection, community building and collective action. We're excited to see you there, but spots are limited. If you haven't already, register todayit's your last chance!

 

Read on for important updates from our task forces and issue campaigns, who are working hard during this legislative session—pushing for bills to get passed, building power, and creating opportunities for community involvement.

 

 

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News You Can Use: Again, it's all about the General Assembly

NUCU_logo_new.pngAs usual in mid-February, the General Assembly is cooking along evaluating (usually at the committee level) various good and bad laws. Our allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition provide details on when committees meet for deliberation, as well as which bills need help moving through the system and how you can make your voice heard in Annapolis or remotely. From environment to child poverty, criminal justice reform reform (yes, you heard us right) and education, the Assembly is busy making or remaking law. A lot of mischief takes place in committees, so don't take your eyes off them for long.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 29, 2024

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As we step into the last Monday of January, we can't help but revel in the incredible momentum we've built together in the first month of 2024. From unveiling our legislative priorities to making our voices heard in crucial hearings, it's been an impactful start to the year.

 

Last Thursday, our Environmental Justice Task Force took center stage at the first hearing for the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2024. Our team passionately presented our case before the Senate Education, Energy, and Environment Committee. They emphasized the urgent need to stop the financing of dirty energy in our state and address the adverse effects of the trash incinerator in South Baltimore.

 

 

But, we're not slowing down. In less than two weeks, on February 10th , we'll gather in Annapolis for our 2024 Power Summit. It's a unique opportunity for us to connect, build community, take action together, and discuss the possibilities that lie ahead during the legislative session. Check out what else we're doing, including our busy task forces and local chapters, below.

 

 

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Legislative moves continue to stand out; see our list of what's up and how to get heard

NUCU_logo_new.pngIn Maryland, the General Assembly session continues to dominate the news-- reform of vacancy appointment power for local central committees; broadening health insurance. There are also things the GA might kick down the road again, like the Bay cleanup project languishing because "best practices" farming appears not to have caught on. We've also got a sampling of what other states are doing -- can you imagine, one state is considering raising the tax rate on $million-plus mansions to finance affordable housing. What a concept. And we have a report from People's Action about the dismal state of play on Capitol Hill. It's all news you can use.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 22, 2024

Dear {{FirstName or 'Friend'}}, 

On this significant day, we mark the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade—a historic decision that empowered women to take control of their bodies and futures. While the right-wing-dominated Supreme Court sadly altered that history two years ago, we remain committed to defending reproductive rights. Our state's commitment is evident at least, with the governor signing extensive legislation to solidify protections for reproductive freedom here in Maryland last year.

As we reflect on this milestone, we also want to update you on the legislative front. With the legislative session gearing up, all Senate and House bills must be introduced in the next two weeks, and the first batch of bill hearings has already begun.

Our task forces and issue campaigns are fully engaged, preparing for these critical hearings to advocate for our legislative priorities. Last year brought some great wins and strides, but there's more work to be done. The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2024, a crucial bill left behind last year, has its first hearing this Thursday and we’re committed to fighting for its passage. Stay tuned for the EJTF task force updates in this memo, where you'll find more information on this essential priority bill and ways to get involved, including a link to watch the hearing. It's one of our main legislative priorities this session.

In the coming weeks, we have hearings on vital healthcare bills, and our task forces and issue campaigns are working tirelessly on various fronts. Read on to learn more about these initiatives.

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

Here’s what’s in today’s memo:

    • Legislative Updates
    • PM Events
    • PM task forces & issue campaigns: HCTF, EJTF & RCTF

Legislative Updates:

Click here to view the suggested dates of interest provided by the General Assembly. The House and Senate will reconvene tonight at 8pm and will post live updates on their website

TRACKER: Click here to keep track of all active Maryland bills, their action status, top sponsors, and top committees. You can also view the bills from the previous legislative session. For more detailed updates on this year’s Legislative Session and to search specific bills click here

PM Events: Less Than 3 Weeks Away! Secure Your Spot for the 2024 Power Summit on February 10th.

Join us on February 10th from 10:30am-2:30pm for the 2024 Power Summit in Annapolis! 

At the event you will:

➤ Connect with like-minded advocates from across the state

➤ Hear directly from members of our Maryland General Assembly 

➤ Dive into the heart of our campaigns

➤ Join us in shaping our goals and organizing priorities for the upcoming year

➤ Conclude the day with a powerful direct action

As we come together in Annapolis, we're not just planning for the future; we're actively shaping it. Your presence will add strength to our cause and vigor to our collective mission.

PM Task Forces & Issue Campaigns Updates

Healthcare Justice: Fight Corporate Greed, Elevate People’s Needs in 2024

During this legislative session in Annapolis we’re taking a stand for all of us who are  being harmed by the corporate greed and shortcomings in our healthcare system. Join us! Help us push our lawmakers to make sure that Maryland is doing all it can to support patients who can’t get or afford care, seniors and people with disabilities who are struggling with the rising cost of care, and communities that are facing inequities and lack of services.  

You can learn more at our virtual community forum! We’re meeting on zoom next week on Thursday, Feb.1 at 6:30

We’ll hear from one of our progressive champions and share more about the ways you can take action during the session. Let’s make this the year that our elected officials crack down on insurers who are denying care, implement lower Rx drug costs, reduce barriers to receiving free and reduced cost hospital care, and expand access to care to all Marylanders.

For more information or to share your story contact Patty

Returning Citizens Task Force: 

RCTF will meet tonight -- Monday, January 22 – at 6:30pm for our regular bi-weekly meeting where we will discuss plans for 2024 as well as PM’s upcoming membership assembly.  On Thursday evening, we will hold a planning meeting of Faith-based leaders and community groups to prepare for our scheduled hiring fair/health and expungement clinic.  And we will be part of a coalition meeting with Delegate Adrian Boafo about his “Ban the Box” housing bill which should be introduced in Annapolis this session. For more information on these initiatives and other future work, please contact Kurt.

Environmental Justice Task Force: HSB0146: RREA Hearing in Annapolis on Thursday

This Thursday, January 25th at 2pm, before the Education, Energy and the Environment Committee, frontline Community members of South Baltimore will finally have the space to confront the iniquitous reality of their monthly utility bill supporting the wealth of the Bresco-trash Incinerator. Frontline community members, environmental justice advocates and ratepayers across our state will make the case that our monthly energy bills should support clean energy in the Maryland Portfolio Standard Program, such as solar and wind turbine power. 

The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act (SB0146) of 2024, is more the blatant exploitation of black communities, it's also about leveling the playing field of what is considered clean energy in our state. If you would like to join the EJTF and be in attendance for this hearing, reach out to SirJames. If you are not able to attend the hearing in person, you can tune in here

Progressive Maryland BlogSpace:

We value creating space for our members to express their thoughts on any issues related to our campaigns. Have an idea for a blog post? You can submit writing, film, graphic design, etc. to be published on our website to the blog moderator Woody.

>>Read more on the homepage of progressivemaryland.org

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