Ping-pong politics as bridge collapse complicates end of Assembly session

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As the import of our loss of the Key bridge – compounded by the losses to families of the workers still awaiting recovery – sinks in, the General Assembly is hoping to bring the session to a close today, even though Gov. Moore has given them an extra ten-day extension if needed. There are certainly excellent bills still in danger of staying stuck in committee that would make all our lives better if they got to the governor’s desk. This Memo has today’s details on unfinished business, plus increasing curiosity about how such big ships made their way to the Port of Baltimore despite the known dangers. And we see, too, that other states are still finishing up legislative business as well, for better or worse. Finally, we feature a blog post by People’s Action’s leader, Sulma Arias, about why the costs of groceries didn’t come down when inflation abated. Maybe you were curious about that yourself. It’s all News You Can Use for this week, so read on.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 1, 2024

memo_logo.pngAs we embark on a new month, our hearts are heavy with the weight of recent events. In the wake of the devastating Key Bridge disaster in Baltimore, our thoughts and efforts are first and foremost with the people of Baltimore City. We mourn the loss and upheaval caused by this tragic event, standing in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones and those whose lives have been forever altered. 

 

Our community is facing a period of grieving and rebuilding, and in times like these, unity and support are paramount. As we come together to support one another, we urge you to join us in offering assistance to those affected by this tragedy. Your generosity can make a meaningful difference in the lives of the victims' families and the families of the survivors. You can contribute to the relief efforts by donating through this link provided by Baltimore City: Donate Now.

 

Read on for legislative updates, ways to get involved, and news you can use.

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

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Key Bridge disaster putting much other news in the shade

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For Maryland, even with federal help promised, getting through the loss of both the Port of Baltimore and a major piece of our traffic availability is a heavy, heavy lift. News You Can Use has, well, overloaded on that topic, trying to build context with both local and more distant sources. But as always there is more – the home stretch for the General Assembly session complicated by Topic A, what is going down in other states, and the report on federal activity, brought to you by our strong-stomached experts so the rest of us can, well, look away. For better or worse, it’s News You Can Use.



 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 25, 2024

memo_logo.pngAs we step into the final week of March, we're reminded of the impactful journey we've taken throughout Women's History Month, celebrating the resilience and achievements of women who have shaped our world. Don't forget to check out the last edition in our Women's History Month section later in this memo.

 

But first, let's dive into some crucial legislative updates following last week's crossover day. In a wave of positive news, we're thrilled to announce that House Bill 1337 unanimously passed out of the House. Sponsored by our dear ally Delegate Jamila Woods, this bill pushes for greater transparency and accountability from health insurance carriers by requiring more data on claim appeals and outcomes. 

In the realm of housing, both The Tenant Safety Act and the Just Cause Eviction bill made it through crossover. The former ensures that residential dwelling units are fit for human habitation, while the latter safeguards tenants from landlord retaliation for organizing tenant associations. Turning to reentry initiatives, the Reentry Services for Women Commission and Pilot Program successfully passed out of their original chambers, aiming to create a comprehensive reentry plan for formerly incarcerated women. However, not all our news is uplifting. Despite our efforts, the Fair Choice in Housing Act did not pass out of the senate, which is a setback in our fight against housing discrimination based on criminal records.

In environmental matters, the EMPOWER Act did make it through, marking a significant stride towards energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction -- but the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act failed to pass as legislators never brought the bill to a vote, hindering our efforts to transition away from harmful energy sources like trash incineration.

 

Get more details about these wins and losses in the Memo.

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

 

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Assembly session heads for close with converging scuffles over taxes

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngTaxes, taxes... two locomotives are a-bound to bump as the Maryland House is putting together a tax package and the Senate (no doubt considering that this is an election year and wondering "what are they thinking") is digging its heels in from the Senate Prez on down. And in the halls of Congress (officially empty for the next two weeks) a tax bill that would keep some child care subsidies alive is languishing. Nothing new there. Around the country, in state legislatures and administrations, some serious problems about housing are getting bemoaned and sometimes addressed. Landlords beware. But hey, the government is funded and there won't be another shutdown scare until, um, October, Bad timing, or what?

It's all News You Can Use, the good, the bad and the unseemly, predigested for your browsing pleasure.

 

 

 

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Maryland's Returning Residents Are Being Left Behind

Reposted from the Intersection Magazine

This op-ed is written by Alfrieda Hylton, Capitol Heights resident and chairperson of The Progressive Maryland Returning Citizens Task Force.

As an activist and mother who has witnessed the challenges of returning from incarceration firsthand, I am deeply troubled by the lack of funding for critical reentry services in our state. Returning residents face numerous obstacles upon release because the criminal justice system sets up many to fail.

I have two sons who have been incarcerated due to non-violent offenses and were trapped in a revolving door upon release. They both served lengthy sentences and then when the prison doors opened, the doors of society were slammed shut. They witnessed barriers and obstacles coming back into their community, like finding a job that would hire them with their record. Rejected and deprived of the resources to stay out of prison. Living their day-to-day life felt impossible. Which made it more difficult to turn their lives around as productive citizens. It was nothing but a setup by the justice system for them to fail outside of prison walls...

 

To read more please visit: https://www.theintersectionmag.com/pgpolitics/blog-post-title-one-8yyab

 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 18, 2024

memo_logo.pngToday is a significant day in the state's legislative calendar. It's Crossover Day in the General Assembly, which means that any bills that haven't passed out of their original chamber by the time lawmakers adjourn this evening, no longer have a chance of becoming state law this session. We've been tracking committee and floor votes closely to see which bills will still have a path forward when voting wraps up. We’re hoping to celebrate the success of many of our priority bills making it through crossover so 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!

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

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News You Can Use: Assembly scuffles to scrape up money to match dreams

NUCU_logo_new.pngMost of the action in Annapolis, as we see below, is focused on scraping together enough revenue to cover the state's ambitious transportation and education plans, long-range.New taxes are on the table. Today is "Crossover Day," a largely made-up date by which bills need to have passed at least one chamber of the Assembly to have a good chance of passage by the session's end in about three weeks. Many advocates and corporate lobbyists got overtime (psychic rewards or actual moolah) for navigating the rapids as the Assembly plowed through a weekend of work to see favorite bills make it out of committees or get successful floor votes. Including one about an inquiry into the use of psychedelic substances that may not have crossed your radar. Plus the off-and-on news about a federal shutdown. News You Can Use, for better or worse.



 

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Progressive Maryland Enclave Tenant Association Leads Charge Against Hazardous Living Conditions, Urges County Intervention

Congressman Jamie Raskin and Councilmember Kristin Mink Join Tenants in Demanding Immediate Action Against Corporate Negligence

 

Silver Spring, Maryland – On Saturday, March 9 tenants and elected leaders came together at The Enclave Silver Spring Apartments to demand justice and accountability in housing conditions. Led by the newly-elected Board of the Enclave Tenant Association, supported by Progressive Maryland, the rally drew attention to the urgent need to address hazardous living conditions and tenant mistreatment. The livestream of the action may be found on Progressive Maryland’s Facebook page. 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 11, 2024

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This past Saturday, the Progressive Maryland Enclave Tenant Association held a rally for our ongoing fight for housing justice as tenants and elected leaders united at The Enclave Silver Spring Apartments. We demanded urgent action to address hazardous living conditions and mistreatment of tenants. If you missed the event,  you can catch up on the action by watching the livestream on our Facebook page.

 

Our rally also garnered significant media coverage. If you didn't catch it on TV, you can read about it here.

 

In other great news, we celebrate a significant victory for healthcare with the passing of the Access to Care Act. This vital legislation will ensure better healthcare access for all Marylanders, allowing residents to purchase an individual private health care plan, regardless of immigration status. As the bill now moves to the governor's desk, we eagerly await its final approval to become law.

 

But our work is far from over. There are still critical bills we're fighting for so read on for updates and ways to get involved.

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