Early Voting under way in state primary; life otherwise normal barring glaring exceptions we note below

NUCU_logo_new.pngEarly Voting is under way throughout Maryland this week, ending Thursday, May 9 in  advance of the Tuesday, May 14 Primary Election Day -- so you have lots of chances to cast your ballot in what is turning out to be a high-tension primary. Other news includes serious problems in the state's child care system, which is hampered by its private status, as well as a deep-dive roundup of the number of agencies charged with taking a hard look at how the Key Bridge fell and what to do about it. Plus news from other states that have similar problems to Maryland's and what they are doing about them, for better or worse, and perspectives on what's happening in the branches of the federal government (get your popcorn ready). It's all News You Can Use.



 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 29, 2024

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Happy Monday! This Wednesday marks May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, a time to honor the contributions of labor movements worldwide. You can check out May Day events from our allies later in the memo.

 

At Progressive Maryland, we're channeling the spirit of May Day as we gear up for an action-packed month ahead. With numerous issue campaigns and fresh initiatives underway, we're excited to continue organizing and building power for all Marylanders. And as we prep for the upcoming primary elections, your support is crucial. Join us for our weekly Throwdown Thursday phone banking sessions from 5:30-6:30 pm to help local progressives across the primary finish line. Click here to sign up.

 

Read on for updates and ways to get involved!

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

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Bills keep hitting the Gov.'s desk. How many will he sign? The watch party is scheduled

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngWe had years of Larry Hogan's ambushes -- waiting till the last minute to veto bills from his very Dem General Assembly, giving them minimum opportunity to override until the following year's sessions. We are getting used, now, to a Governor and Assembly that are much more in sync. Wes Moore has (as you see below) rumbled through a big bunch of bills with a fast pen. What it will take to make him down-check a bill is not emerging in a hurry. He has embraced his housing package. Bills are on the way to him -- or have already been signed -- that may have some unpleasant aspects (like the refusal to take the "renewable" label off the choke-inducing Baltimore trash incinerator, or the last-minute sabotage of more general building requirements that would reduce the carbon hit from new buildings). Then there's the youth crime bill with all the panicky responses to carjacking. We'll wait and see if remedies are proposed. Meanwhile, check out what's getting signed, what other states are doing better (or worse) than we are in Maryland,  and keep up with the Feds with People's Action reporting and analysis. It's News You Can Use.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 22, 2024

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Happy Earth Day! As we gather this week to honor our planet, we’re given the opportunity to highlight the intersectionality of environmental issues and social justice. This week, let's broaden our understanding beyond traditional eco-actions like tree planting and plastic reduction. Let's acknowledge that a sustainable future requires equitable environmental policies that address the disparities faced by marginalized communities. While we are greatly disappointed by the legislature's failure to enact key environmental laws this year, like the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act, our fight for environmental justice continues. Let's use this Earth Week to raise awareness, take meaningful steps, and advocate for inclusive environmental policies. Click here to find ways to get involved with environmental events this week.

 

Now that the legislative session has come to an end, we’re pivoting to focus on organization building, expanding our task force work, and the upcoming elections. Look out for more announcements as we continue to advocate for progressive policies and create positive change in our state.

 

Read on for important updates, events from local chapters & allies, and news you can use.

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News You Can Use: Health worries in the ER and elsewhere

NUCU_logo_new.pngMost of the news in Maryland is not great, and a lot of it concerns health -- both the wait times in Maryland's ERs, among the nation's worst, and the poor value of behavioral health coverage in many insurance plans. And even though Maryland has a firm right to reproductive health on the books, nobody should overlook how some Supreme Court cases under way might threaten those rights (withouit a constitutional amendment, that is).

On the good side, despite the looming costs, polls show "overwhelming support" for the education reforms in the Blueprint for Maryland's Future. How about good news elsewhere? The UAW pro-union vote at the Chattanooga VW plant was a very big deal in the right-to-work South, but it shouldn't throw shade on still another Starbuck's union win right here in Maryland.

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Annapolis Wrap-Up 2024

Thank you for being a supporter of Progressive Maryland. We are off to a strong start in 2024 thanks to you and to the dedication of our members, leaders, and staff. With the 2024 legislative session behind us, I’m writing to share some exciting successes, some areas where we fell short, and what we hope to achieve going forward.

Before I continue – we are a grassroots, member-led organization. Our work to oppose corporate influence and pass progressive legislation is only possible through the power of our organized membership. If you share our vision and are excited by what you read below, the most important thing you can do is become a member.

Our priority legislation – wins and losses

Each year, Progressive Maryland members, leaders, and staff develop a list of priority bills and plans to support their passage in the state legislature. In 2024, two of the bills designated as top priorities were able to fully pass, one was able to move through at least one legislative chamber, and one bill did not move forward at all. Additionally, an important housing bill that was not initially designated as top priority was surprisingly able to pass thanks to the critical intervention of Progressive Maryland leaders.

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A Special Thank You to Kurt Stand

We want to share that our beloved Returning Citizens Taskforce Organizer, Kurt Stand, is retiring this week. Kurt has been a pillar of our organization, dedicating his time and energy to advocating for the rights and dignity of returning citizens. We extend our deepest thanks and heartfelt wishes for a happy retirement to Kurt.

Throughout his tenure with us, Kurt has brought passion and dedication to his work, drawing from a diverse background that includes roles as varied as bookseller, longshoreman, and documentary film researcher. His commitment to peace, social justice, and organized labor has been unwavering, shaped by his own experiences as a returning citizen who spent 15 years in federal prison.

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 15, 2024

memo_logo.pngUp Front: With the recent conclusion of the legislative session, we've publicized our endorsements for the upcoming 2024 primary elections. Find out who we're supporting in Baltimore City and Prince George's County below. Additionally, don't miss out on our important event tomorrow in Annapolis. For more details, check out the PM events section of this memo.

 

First and foremost, we want to honor Kurt Stand, our beloved Returning Citizens Taskforce Organizer, who is retiring this week. His monumental work in advocating for and assisting returning citizens has left an indelible mark on our organization and the communities we serve. Kurt, your tireless advocacy, boundless empathy, and infectious spirit have touched countless lives and transformed our organization for the better. While you're retiring from your current role, we're grateful that you'll continue to be part of the Progressive Maryland community bringing your invaluable insight and commitment to our cause. Thank you for everything, and we wish you a happy retirement. 

 

See more Progressive Maryland action, candidate endorsements and a note from Kurt Stand, below. Read on.

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Not everyone is happy with General Assembly performance, but knives are not out

NUCU_logo_new.pngLots of news from Maryland, other states and the Feds this week. Maryland's in the national news because some of the Assembly's work,  along with collaboration from the Governor's office, is providing models for other states. Even so, some of our state-level advocates are grumbling that the Assembly could have done a lot more. In the other states, we can see soime models growing there, too -- some progressive, some not so. And a flurry of international news over the weekend is deftly analyzed by People's Action's Megan E, who shows how the brakes can be put on dangerous conflict when legislators actually do their job instead of threatening those of others. It's all News You Can Use, sometimes abbreviated as NUCU



 

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Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 8, 2024

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Firstly, please note that you can still contribute to the Key Bridge relief efforts by donating through this link provided by Baltimore City: Donate Now. Your generosity can make a meaningful difference in the lives of the victims' families and the families of the survivors as they continue to grapple with this tragedy.

 

Today is Sine Die, the final day of the legislative session until it reconvenes next year in January 2025. Lawmakers will be on the floor all night to get any outstanding votes completed and move the last bills across the finish line as the General Assembly prepares to adjourn at midnight. 

 

As we take stock of the legislative session, we're reflecting on both the victories and the setbacks. While there were successes to celebrate, there were also disappointments in the failure to pass crucial progressive bills. We remain committed to continuing the fight for these issues in the future by continuing to build power and engage more people in the political process.

 

We will provide more updates in next week’s memo after the events of today, but in the meantime please check out the legislative updates section for highlights on what we do know already.

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