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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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, January 16, 2024

memo_logo.pngWe hope you all had a meaningful holiday yesterday as we commemorated the inspiring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His words continue to resonate, guiding our shared journey toward justice and equality. In the spirit of Dr. King, who believed in the power of grassroots movements, we find inspiration for our ongoing work.

Last week, Progressive Maryland hosted a powerful planning meeting, laying the groundwork for our visionary 10-year plan. We gathered to discuss the state of our power, strategies for growing it, and the breakthroughs needed to achieve our goals. This meeting set the stage for our 2024 Power Summit happening next month. Find out more about that kinetic event below.



 

 

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Assembly settles into hearing grind as scope of work, fiscal constraints loom

NUCU_logo_new.pngWelcome to Maryland's government at work, foregrounded by the three-month General Assembly session that kicked off last week.

The General Assembly opened last Wednesday, and already we are plunged from broad strokes and the leadership's confident assertions of orderliness (see below) to the minutiae of hearings.

Our allies in the Maryland Legislative Coalition have the kind of info that allows everyone to participate as this multibillion-dollar process lurches into the grind.

Find the hearing schedules, priority bills and participation rules explained here.

And there is lots more News You Can Use, from Maryland, other states and the federal government, in this week's blog.



 

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Reclaim renewable energy: Stop subsidizing dirty air and health hazards from waste incineration

This year, the General Assembly will see bipartisan environmental justice legislation that would remove trash incineration as an eligible source in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Maryland’s RPS was created in 2004 to encourage the development of clean and renewable energy in our state by providing renewable energy subsidies to energy providers like power plants. But in 2011, after much dirty industry lobbying, the definition of clean and renewable energy (which typically includes wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, etc.) was expanded to include trash incineration, or burning waste for energy. Since 2012, Marylanders have sent  over $108 million in subsidies to trash incinerator companies in Maryland and Virginia that have polluted over 7 million tons of carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change. 

It's time to reclaim renewable energy from this corporate boondoggle -- and save taxpayer money.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 8, 2024

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The 2024 legislative session kicks off this Wednesday, January 10th. Each year, Progressive Maryland’s thousands of members and supporters across the state prepare to take on Maryland’s biggest challenges at the state legislature. Unlike big money interests and paid lobbying firms, our work is rooted in our commitment to grassroots democracy and social justice. The changes in state law we pursue are driven first and foremost by our engaged membership, primarily working class people of color.

 

In 2024, Progressive Maryland is prioritizing three major changes to state law that will clean up our communities, strengthen our ability to get the healthcare we need and protect us from abusive landlords. 

 

 

 

 

Progressive Maryland members will meet with elected members of the General Assembly throughout the 2024 session to press for:

  • Removal of trash incineration from the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to clean up our air (Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2024); 
  • New regulations to curtail the ability of insurance companies to deny our healthcare (Health Insurance Transparency Act of 2024); 
  • And the passage of “just cause” eviction standards to prevent landlords from retaliating against tenants who are organizing tenant associations.

 

We are also monitoring additional legislation that we believe will have major impacts on our members’ daily lives, relating to issues areas of healthcare justice, housing justice, support for returning citizens, environmental justice, and more. Stay tuned for more legislative updates throughout session. 

 

To dive deeper into our 2024 priorities and how you can play a role in achieving strategic and important wins for Marylanders, join us for our 2024 Power Summit on February 10th. RSVP below...



 

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Issues pile up as MD Assembly session begins Wednesday; also latest state and federal news

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngYep, legislators will descend on Annapolis and the State House January 10 prepared -- maybe -- to grapple with a revenue shortfall and several pricey projects to which they and the Governor remain committed. Plus the effort to replenish the state employee corps, health care news in Maryland and how housing costs and poor child care availability hurt the state's economy. It's all News You Can Use this week.



 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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Happy New Year! We’re excited to get 2024 off to a great start and—after ending 2023 with some significant milestones—make this one of our best years yet! 

 

The countdown is on! In just 8 days, on January 10th, the 2024 legislative session kicks off. This session presents a crucial opportunity for us to advocate for working class families and push for transformative legislative changes. Our commitment to holding elected officials accountable remains unwavering, and we are determined to prioritize the needs of our communities. We will be fighting for important legislation in areas related to: healthcare justice, housing justice, support for returning citizens, environmental justice and more.

 

If you're not already part of our movement, take this moment to join us! Your membership amplifies our collective voice and fuels the work of our task forces. We'd also love it if you would join us for our 2024 Power Summit set to take place on February 10th. Find out more, including signup options, below.

 

In solidarity, the Progressive Maryland Team.

 

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News You Can Use: Everyone has ideas about the General Assembly session

NUCU_logo_new.pngWe hope you had a restful, productive holiday. We did. Now we are back with news of the Maryland General Assembly session, where opinions about what ought to happen there are emerging. Several states, including our neighbors in Pennsylvania, are starting their sessions today, but Maryland more calmly will see the gavel fall on the 2024 madness Wednesday, January 10. That gives everyone two full working days to find Annapolis and the State House. Lots happening in other states too, as we outline for you -- plus Congress will be in session next week with an almost impossible agenda. It's all News You Can Use.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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Happy Monday, can you believe it's the last memo of the year? Time flies when you're making progress! Maryland has the power to tackle social, economic, and environmental challenges head-on, but we need YOUR help to push for bold moves. Now, more than ever, we need to organize a large base of supporters who believe in putting working families first. This is the perfect time to get involved and help us organize! Join us in gearing up for our annual membership assembly on February 10th – your chance to connect with fellow members, engage with our leaders, and hear from legislative allies and community activists. Click here to RSVP and secure your spot!

 

As we gear up for next year's legislative session, our task forces and issue campaigns are working hard to finalize our priorities. Read on to discover what we're up to, what exciting things lie ahead, and most importantly, how you can get involved! And don't forget to check out our State and National news section for the last News You Can Use installment of the year



 

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News You Can Use: Maryland faces budget problems, road money cuts in 2024 Assembly session

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngA budget shortfall requires early action to keep the cuts as close to painless as possible. Local governments don't find it painless because many budget cuts are slated for the transportation sector, meaning local roads may not get the upkeep money they are used to. Many early protests are coming from local jurisdictions already worried about the possible increasing costs on the education side of the ledger. Plus, fish with and without PFAS, juvenile justice and mental health and a free speech controversy with roots in the conflict in Gaza. It's all News You Can Use, happy or otherwise, curated for your Monday.



 

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