MD_state_house_sketch.jpgA Session like no other. We focus on the good, but yield to the urge to mention some bads and some uglies. As legislators often say, “it takes three years to get a good bill through the General Assembly. A bad bill takes only one year.”

And… to widen our horizons and timeline... Thursday (April 22) is Earth Day; Pres. Biden is hosting a virtual world leaders climate summit. Root for a carbon tax.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 


Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 19, 2021

A Session like no other. We focus on the good, but yield to the urge to mention some bads and some uglies. As legislators often say, “it takes three years to get a good bill through the General Assembly. A bad bill takes only one year.”

And… Thursday (April 22) is Earth Day; Pres. Biden is hosting a virtual world leaders climate summit. 

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

Quick Actions:

Statewide Updates:

Breaking News/Building Power: Progressive Maryland’s People’s Leadership Institute has begun! 

Progressive Maryland is excited that its MPLI program  got underway last week. The MPLI trains prospective candidates and campaign staff, particularly BIPOC Maryland leaders and activists, who would like to run for office or learn more about running electoral campaigns.  The  curriculum focuses on progressive movement politics, community organizing, leadership, communication and messaging, and effective grassroots voter contact programs. Besides teaching valuable political skills, the MPLI also provides its participants a way to  forge new and ongoing  relationships in the  progresssive advocacy space. The program will take place in a virtual environment over the next several weeks and the curriculum spotlights presentations from some of PM’s affiliates and allies like People’s Action, the Working Families Party, MCEA, as well as from other expert trainers.  This year’s cohort hails from several jurisdictions including two counties on the Eastern Shore, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George’s, Harford and Montgomery counties. Two of our 2020 MPLI alumni, Bill Reid and Gabi Sevilla, helped welcome the 2021 group at the opening session on April 14. We’ll be introducing the 2021 cohort members over the next few days on our social media accounts so please check out our posts.

Here’s a quote from Dr. King that we considered at the first full day of training on movement politics:

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” 


We are transforming the political landscape of Maryland. Please join us on Saturday, May 1 at 11am for the launch of a new era in politics, featuring special guest speaker Ben Jealous. RSVP here. Any contribution makes a big difference! Donate now.


Healthcare Justice Campaign

The Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 (HB565 / SB514) is still waiting on Governor Larry Hogan's signature despite passing the General Assembly over a week ago with unanimous support. Can you take 2 minutes to send an email to the Governor asking him to sign the bill into law?

With the General Assembly adjourned, we're starting to look ahead to what's next for End Medical Debt Maryland. Interested in getting involved as we go forward? You can sign on here to show your support for the End Medical Debt Maryland campaign and receive occasional email updates. Do you know of an organization that's invested in the fight for healthcare equity? Encourage them to join our coalition — we're 58 coalition partners strong and continuing to grow. 

Please contact Lindsey Muniak ([email protected]) with any questions or to learn how to get more involved. 

Medicare for All:

The Medicare for All Act of 2021, H.R. 1976, was introduced last month by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. This landmark legislation would improve and expand Medicare; providing a way for all Americans to get health coverage no matter their age, income, location, employment status, or medical situation. Four members from Maryland’s U.S. House Delegation, Representatives Raskin, Mfume, Sarbanes and Brown have signed as co-sponsors. It’s time to  get other members of the Maryland Congressional delegation to sign on. That’s why we’ve stepped up our organizing!  

We’re kicking off the first of what should be many Medicare For All Teach-Ins this Thursday April 22 

Medicare for All Teach-In, this Thursday from 6:30-8:00pm

Join us at this zoom to  learn more about our  outreach and education plans for 2021 or to brush up on the issue or to learn about the problems in our healthcare system and the solutions that Medicare For All (M4A)  offers. Contact Malcolm at [email protected] or [email protected] to get involved.

Local organizing to support City and County resolutions for M4A is also part of our strategy to build grassroots public support. 

Prince George’s County supporters:The Medicare for All Resolution CR-27-2021 now has seven co-sponsors and  will be discussed by the Committee of the Whole TOMORROW, Tuesday, April 20th at 11am.  We have submitted testimony along with other organizations and healthcare activists.  You can help by signing this petition to the Council asking them to pass the Resolution.  Contact Josh or Patty or Kendall at [email protected] for more information   

Montgomery County activists:  You can help by signing the petition to the Council asking them to pass a Medicare for All Resolution. We expect there will be Council  action soon and in advance of that we need to continue to build grassroots support.Sign and share the petition and ask groups that you’re a part of to sign an organizational letter of support. Individuals and groups who live or are doing work in the MoCo portions of Rep. Trone’s district are especially needed. Contact Josh  on how to get involved.

Everyone: If you’d like to learn about emerging resolution campaigns in other locales or start a campaign where you live please contact us. You can help us build broad public support for the bill through a local resolution campaign, a petition drive directed at Members of Congress,  or by  helping to organize a Medicare For All teach-in. 


Fighting COVID-19:

Getting vaccines into people’s arms remains the best way to save and protect lives. Please pre register or make an appointment to get a shot and check your local county government website for more information about vaccine locations and appointment scheduling. Getting the vaccine will make you and your community safer. Vaccination equity remains a concern and we  will  continue to support organizing efforts to get more sites and options in communities with significant BIPOC populations and to serve those who are housebound. It’s important to keep following health guidelines: wear masks, practice physical distancing, get tested if you think you’ve been exposed. 

If you want to help the vaccine effort at the local level, County websites should have posts and links  about volunteer opportunities to assist at vaccine sites and/or with registration efforts at community events. People’s Action, our national affiliate, is participating in the National COVID-19 Community Corps, a project of the DHHS. Click here to learn more.

Think Globally, Act Locally, Focus on the WTO

The United States, under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, is accelerating the number of vaccines being administered daily and weekly in the United States which is good news. Unfortunately, in most countries in the world, especially the global south, the vaccine rollout is proceeding quite slowly. The situation is dire and unacceptable -- we must vaccinate in EVERY nation of the world. A global pandemic needs to be addressed on a global scale. Drug manufacturers are some of the actors standing in the way of increased  production and distribution around the world - for more information about the problem,watch this commentary.

The United States  can do something about the appalling vaccine inequity we’re seeing play out for poorer countries. We can call on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive the so-called TRIPS provision. A temporary suspension of this intellectual property agreement  would speed up the production of vaccines and make it easier for other nations, not just the rich countries, to make and/or get the doses they need. Progressive Maryland and its national affiliate, People’s Action are calling on the Biden Administration to demand that the WTO grant this waiver. The WTO meets on May 5 so time is of the essence.  This action could  help save millions of lives around the world.We’re urging Members of Congress to sign on to a letter that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has drafted asking the President to call for the waiver. Hats off to Senator Van Hollen and Representative Trone for signing on last week in support of the waiver. We need help with a postcard campaign and other communications and organizing efforts that are getting underway this week.  For more information contact Josh or Patty.


Local Chapter Updates:

Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland

Our next full meeting is April 21st at 6:30pm - RSVP here.

Baltimore County/ Frederick County/ Western Maryland

Progressive Montgomery

Montgomery County Justice Working Group

Join together with members of the Progressive Montgomery community to get organized and educated on justice issues in Montgomery County. We will be working on judicial reform, criminal justice issues, and any issues that are important to YOU. 

Progressive Prince George’s

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus (Affiliate Chapter) our monthly meeting is the first Thursday of the month. Check our website for more.


State and National News: 

MD_state_house_sketch.jpgA Historic Win:

LSPC-endorsed candidate for Pocomoke City Council, Todd Nock, won his hard-fought re-election campaign with 54% of the vote! This historic victory shows that the voters of District 4 wanted to continue the progress that Councilmember Nock has led over his first terms. The historic victory is also being celebrated by Progressives from Pocomoke City to Western Maryland and everywhere in between. -- Lower Shore Progressive Caucus


The Maryland General Assembly wrapped a week ago and the results are being sorted out by, among others, Maryland Matters, which is becoming -- heck, has become -- an essential source on matters political. The outfit’s preliminary “Winners and Losers” list is lengthy and sharp-witted, with cheers for many legislators and boos for a few. Among winning issues: broadband, public health and public transit, workforce development, HBCUs, out-of-state corporations (alas), and big shout-outs for the brand-new leadership of both chambers, their able deputies and the IT geeks who kept the electronics flowing for endless hours of committee deliberation and floor debate. 

Who lost? “...the lack of in-person meetings and rallies stifled advocacy.” We knew that. More specifically, the environment lost big-time when the Climate Action Now bill stalled on the House side while tempers flared and egos bumped. And working parents -- family leave, foiled again. More cheerfully, numerous corporate entities and lobbyists struck out in a quest for deregulation, or more regulation, whatever would benefit them -- NRG Energy, the state’s hospitals, lobbyists in general. And the Fraternal Order of Police, missing in action on police reform.

And Gov. Larry Hogan, who had every single veto over two Sessions overridden. “Lawmakers for the most part operated as if he didn’t exist.”

Surely there’s more to this story than winners or losers? Here is the full roundup from Capital News Service, the University of Maryland’s ace reporting team.

National: Backsliding; frontloading

  • At the macro level, House and Senate Dems appear to be retreating from their infrastructure revenue high-water mark, resigning themselves to a lower bar on the corporate tax rate increase.
  • Today (Mon 4/19), alongside Reps. Cori Bush and AOC, People’s Action Launches Local Green New Deal Campaign with a jointpetition, video, and new Green New Deal federal legislation. Our People & Planet First Campaign focuses on the local, empowering local officials to back green initiatives and pass a “Green New Deal for Cities” to move $1 Trillion into local governments. Questions? Contact Kaniela: [email protected] 
  • Also today (Mon 4/19), progressive lawmakers launch the Green New Deal for Public Housing that calls for a massive investment in repairs and green retrofits for over 1 million Public Housing units. AOC and Bernie are resetting this for the post-pandemic moment. (NYTimes) Questions? Contact Grace: [email protected] 
  • On Tuesday (4/20), Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), along with other progressive lawmakers, will reintroduce the Green New Deal, which prposes a 10-year national mobilization to address the climate crisis. Questions? Contact Kaniela: [email protected] 
  • The ʻTHRIVE Actʻ will be introduced next Monday (4/26) - People’s Action will work with the Green New Deal Network from Earth Day to May Day to try to get 10,000 calls to Congress each day for 10 days about the need for $10 trillion dollars in funding. Want to participate? Contact Kaniela: [email protected]. We’ll organize for THRIVE plus PRO in tandem, so that we address climate, jobs, and equity together. People's Action released this petition with Sunrise on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act that you might want to join: PETITION. Contact Sondra: [email protected].


Events from our allies:   

Monday, April 19 

7pm | Reel and Meal movie presentation: Ram ke Naam (In the Name of God)

A 1991 documentary about the events leading up to the 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid, one of the largest and oldest Muslim places of worship in India. The film begins at 7pm; entry to the Zoom event starts 6:45pm. Register at link.


Tuesday, April 20

4 – 5:30pm | Workplace Power Imbalance Endangers Worker Safety
Economic Policy Institute webinar on the failures of a business-dominated OSHA. Register at link.

1 – 2pm | One Fair Wage National Day of Action

Join One Fair Wage, RAISE High Road Restaurants, Service Workers United for Power, Women’s March and other allies for a national day of action uplifting the tipped service industry in response to the National Restaurant Association’s (the other “NRA”) Annual Lobby Day. 


Wednesday, April 21

6 – 8pm | Webinar: A Century of Racism and Resilience Along the Purple Line

Explore how communities along the corridor have been affected by discrimination and urban renewal, as well as how patterns of residential and economic segregation are perpetuated by contemporary policies.


Thursday, April 22

6 – 7:30pm | MD ACLU Book Discussion

The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore’s Racial Divide. Join the ACLU of Maryland and the University of Baltimore for a panel discussion with the author, Lawrence Lanahan, and ACLU’s lead counsel who worked on the landmark Thompson v. HUD case, Barbara Samuels.



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, at [email protected].  

April 14, 2021 Wins on police reform, plus lots more to do -- a report

Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability (MJCPA), advocates and individuals impacted by police brutality, celebrate the successful organizing that has advanced police transparency and accountability, but say Maryland’s historic police reform package still does not meet the moment. That moment -- when George Floyd's memory is being defiled by the desperate defense of Derek Chauvin while more Black people die at police hands in seemingly every news cycle -- required more from our Assembly than they delivered, and will require more from Progressive Maryland activists and allies to meet these still-dangerous moments coming every day.


April 13, 2021 Putting health equity first means Medicare for All. Meet tonight for next steps

We need to prepare for the next phase and push for COVID relief and for healthcare for all. Please come to the Healthcare Task Force (HCTF) meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 13, at 7pm for this important discussion. The meeting will give us a chance to talk about how we can keep making progress toward greater equity, access and justice in our healthcare system.  RSVP HERE 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 12, 2021

Today is Sine Die day (the Assembly adjourns at midnight tonight UNLESS they stop the clock at 11:59 and keep messing around, which is not unheard of). Critical bills are still headed for the finish line; see below to find out how to get behind them. Even before the finale, a sweeping though depleted package addressing police violence and public accountability for it was passed, vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan, and reinstated by an emphatic veto override.

 we continue to keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts, struggles for justice in Congress and the back-and-forth of state legislation. This and much more in the Memo.

April 12, 2021 Fed playbook: Biden's budget, infrastructure plan make for crowded timeline

Spending for social needs, which was pretty much on hold during the Trump administration, is back on the table this spring and suddenly the schedule is everything. In an excellent roundup from People's Action's campaigns director Sondra Youdelman, we see that timelines for work in the House and Senate are complicated by juggling both the Biden admin's budget, which has huge increases for education, health and the environment, and the big infrastructure bill, which demonstrates how social needs and the transportation, power grid and broadband deficiencies are deeply intertwined. Activists are going to have to learn fast and follow the back-and-forth of events almost daily to know when to put our muscle to work to keep this legislation oriented toward people and not corporations and the rich.

April 08, 2021 UM employees could get organizing boost from Assembly bill passage

From the Diamondback student newspaper, a bill passed this week by House and Senate in the General Assembly is favored by a union organizing workers at numerous campuses because it would enable one master agreement with the University System of Maryland.

-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 5, 2021

-March 10, 2021  We're not bluffing. Criminal justice/police reform is non-negotiable

Effective criminal justice reform and police accountability are on the line in Annapolis. Today. See floor debate here.  It’s time to show our legislators that we are serious when we say that if they do not act on behalf of the people they are elected to represent then we will replace them. Despite last week's in-person protest in Annapolis, legislators are breaking faith and we must now ensure there are consequences for those who stand on the side of the Fraternal Order of Police in the next Democratic primary in 2022. See all the ways below.

-March 09, 2021 Take action: a foreclosure crisis looms; where is Maryland leadership?

Progressive Maryland's housing and judiciary reform task force will tackle issues of the pandemic housing, foreclosure and eviction crisis at a virtual forum Tuesday, March 16, 6:30-8pm. Join us to face up to the emergency during which joblessness and quarantine have put working families, both mortgage holders and renters, in danger of becoming unhoused during a perilous time.


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woody woodruff


M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...