The overdose crisis has reached new levels of harm and devastation in our country and communities. Last year more than 93,000 people in the United States died of preventable overdose. Sadly but not surprisingly the number of people struggling and dying has increased during the pandemic. It’s long past time to end the overdose crisis and to invest in public health solutions like treatment and harm reduction. Progressive Maryland’s Drug Policy Task Force is meeting with lawmakers, gathering stories, working with allies and holding a special event this Wednesday evening, Stories From the Overdose Crisis (see below for more details) in order to sound the alarm. We need a new approach, one that prioritizes policies and programs that offer people help. Let’s come together now to do something about this crisis and to demand accountability from Big Pharma and to demand that drug policies be overhauled and updated. Let’s turn our concern into action.
The last protections against eviction during the still-raging pandemic have fallen in many states, Maryland included. How did the feds' $46 billion in assistance get bogged down? We hear about it from Maryland Matters (our state failure) and The New York Times about today's bleak landscape and, well, supply chain issues plus appalling factors like "the reluctance of local officials to ease eligibility requirements for the poor," a familiar-sounding concern. We are on our own in Maryland and will have to watch our neighbors' backs as evictions continue and landlords (who could have worked with tenants to make this money flow much more quickly) instead march their lawyers into court to continue criminalizing poverty.
The BRIDGES Coalition launches the “Yes On My Block” Campaign to promote community support for overdose prevention sites (OPS) in Baltimore. The campaign launches on Overdose Awareness Day 2021 in recognition of the desperate need to support bold new strategies to save lives from overdose.
As the virus resurgence and eviction crisis collide, we see more than ever how neglect of health security and housing security issues intersect (landlord rights win again; we have got to reverse that trend). We are at a crossroads for healthcare AND housing security in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! And they are looking at how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down the eviction moratorium.Let’s be sure that our lawmakers take the path that leads us to funding critical Medicare expansion and which leads to protections for people who are behind on rent. Federal funds allocated for rent relief are also going unused. In many cases it’s too hard and complicated to apply for relief-we need to make sure the funds reach those in need. Housing and healthcare should be a universal right. People need shelter. The less shelter, the less distancing and… you know what happens. Let’s do something.
Thank you for being part of this moment and this movement. Because of the Labor Day holiday Sept. 6 you'll see the Memo next on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
The PM Team
We are at a crossroads for healthcare in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! Let’s be sure that our lawmakers take the very best path forward. The path that leads us to funding critical Medicare improvements and expansion which could result in: lower costs for prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate on Rx prices; coverage for vision, dental, and hearing; a younger eligibility age to enroll in Medicare; and lower copays. We can do this with your support.
Officials fromaroundd the state are gathering in Ocean City this week at the Maryland Association of Counties annual meeting. The officials will be surrounded by deep-pocketed types aiming to influence the way they make law and policy. We have come to call them lobbyists.
Jimmy Tarlau, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, checks off the ways high-paid lobbyists distort the public policy process with financial contributions and provides a checklist of how the Legislature should check the lobbyists power.
As soon as they stop eating the lobbyists' crab cakes.
Maryland’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired Sunday without an extension of the state of emergency by Gov. Larry Hogan, despite a letter Friday from House Speaker Adrienne Jones and her top lieutenants urging Hogan to extend it.
“This is a preventable public health crisis,” WMAR quotes Public Justice Center attorney Matt Hill, who said up to 4,500 Maryland families were at risk of eviction without Hogan’s extension. Support your neighbors in trouble and let your local officials know how you feel about Hogan’s do-nothing pandemic response.
“ 'Bipartisan' sounds like it includes all viewpoints, but it’s just another word for control by the duopoly," concludes veteran journalist and observer of folly Len Lazarick in this column on how Maryland's state politics stay in the grip of centrism.
As he might have noted, county-level Central Committees, particularly of Democrats, consolidate the parties' grip on their locales by appointing replacements for Assembly members who die or leave office, magically creating the electoral power of "incumbency" for their in-house favorites.
So the parties pick their voters, not the other way round.