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.

Housing – Celebrating the Tenant Safety Act, continuing the fight for Good Cause

Earlier this year, Progressive Maryland celebrated the establishment of our first tenants association, based at the Enclave Apartments in Silver Spring. Our member leaders there wasted no time in putting their new organization to use during the legislative session, engaging their state senator, Will Smith, in a dialogue about his role in moving pro-tenant legislation through the committee he chairs that deals with housing issues.

Smith visited the tenants in their homes, did a walkthrough of the serious neglect all Enclave residents are facing, and emerged as a new champion for the Tenant Safety Act, a new law that will allow tenants to make use of rent escrow via the courts, withholding their rent from abusive landlords until adequate repairs are made to their buildings.

While we are celebrating passage of this critical renters’ rights legislation – and our leaders’ role in making it happen – we are disappointed that legislators failed once again to pass “good cause” eviction, a critical tenant law reform which would prevent landlords from evicting tenants just to pursue higher rents from someone else. We look forward to working with Sen. Smith and his colleagues to ensure this legislation passes next year.

Enclave Tenant Association board members Tonia Chestnut, Pascale Lemaire, and Sergine Yango on their way to testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.


Healthcare - A win on insurance transparency sets the stage for reining in corporate greed


“What good is health insurance if you can’t use it?”

That is the question that Progressive Maryland Healthcare Task Force leaders have been asking this year – at the door as they canvass neighborhoods, in one on one conversations with new members, and when speaking to legislators. As health insurance coverage gradually increases thanks to the ongoing impact of the Affordable Care Act, insurance company denials of care and claims have skyrocketed, leaving millions of Americans wondering what they paid all those premiums for if they can’t get their care or their reimbursements.

Progressive Maryland’s goal is to end the practice of claim and care denials in our state, which are clearly driven by insurance companies’ desire to maximize their profits by minimizing our care. It’s common sense: if you paid for it, and your doctor recommended it, you’re entitled to it.

Progressive Maryland Healthcare Task Force leaders rally in Annapolis.

Thanks to the leadership of Progressive Maryland member and state Delegate Jamila Woods (D-26), our state regulators and residents  will now have more data from insurance carriers in order to understand what’s currently happening with respect to denials and appeal outcomes.  HB 1337 overcame the opposition of health insurance lobbyists to establish these new reporting requirements for insurance companies that issue denials to their policyholders. The Health Government and Operations Committee, of which Del. Woods is a member, passed the bill unanimously in March and the full House followed suit. 

These reporting requirements will allow our Healthcare team to come back with larger regulatory demands next year, and move us closer to the end of denials.The issue resonated with lawmakers from across the state which will bolster our work next year. The healthcare issues core team will meet at the end of this month to strategize next steps in the campaign. To get involved, contact Patty. 

In addition, our healthcare team is celebrating the success of our partners at CASA who passed the Access to Care Act this year. Progressive Maryland leaders joined CASA and other health justice organizations in Annapolis to rally and lobby for this crucial protection that will enable undocumented residents to buy health insurance on the ACA marketplace.

Environmental justice – EmPower reforms make utilities pay, but trash incineration continues

Progressive Maryland played a leadership role this year in a coalition of environmental justice organizations that successfully increased the climate and weatherization benefits provided to utility customers by the EmPower program. This program, which provides incentives for ratepayers to upgrade their home energy appliances, was being used inappropriately by utility companies to make huge profits on excessive funds in the program. The new law we passed prevents utilities from engaging in this practice any longer, resulting in lower rates for ratepayers and better rebates moving forward.

While we are celebrating this win, we are deeply frustrated that the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act (RREA) once again failed to get a committee vote in either chamber. Because of the refusal of House Economic Matters Committee Chair C.T. Wilson, and Senate Education, Energy, and Environment Committee Chair Brian Feldman, to put this bill up for committee vote, Marylanders will spend yet another year seeing their tax dollars go to fund the dangerous, climate-damaging, polluting industry of trash incineration in our state. 

Environmental Justice Task Force leader Mikal Rashid speaks at a rally in Annapolis.


The big picture: the fight against corporate greed needs to grow

While it’s exciting to share these many wins with you, when we zoom out a bit, there are troubling signs about the direction of our state. Each bill we successfully passed this year had one thing in common: defending regular people against corporate greed. But in terms of the scale of money on the line, our biggest fight was over taxes and the budget – and in that fight, progressives lost.

Despite the opportunity presented to address the state’s approaching budget deficit through a “Fair Funding” package that included badly needed, common-sense reforms to corporate and income tax policy, legislative leaders and the Governor instead adopted a series of new consumption taxes on things like tobacco and vehicle fees to partially close the funding gap.

We need to be completely clear about this decision: it is bad policy that taxes regular, working class people who can least afford it, rather than the wealthiest and corporations. It is bad problem-solving that does not address the full scope of the budget shortfall and merely kicks the can down the road one more year. And it is bad politics, allowing fear to rule the Democratic party rather than a popular vision of the future in which the rich pay their fair share. The fact that we have ended up with this budget “compromise,” in spite of every reason cutting against it, should be a red flashing warning light to every progressive.

While we at Progressive Maryland are celebrating our wins, we are not satisfied that these status quo politics continue to determine our most consequential public policy decisions. We are committed to growing our organizational power and working with our allies to return to Annapolis next year bigger, bolder, and able to win the budget fight.  Please consider becoming a member today and joining our fight. You’ll receive a Progressive Maryland Sticker Pack if you do :). 


Max Socol

Director of Campaigns