Does the Maryland General Assembly, opening today, have the resilience to do the people’s business in a worsening pandemic, under unprecedented conditions and rules for both legislators and members of the public -- who want them to attend to the emergency we have now? And who want them to be open about what they are accomplishing, or not accomplishing? See what a People's Recovery Agenda must include and how we will fight for it.
There is some comfort in the observation that this is the 442nd session of the Maryland General Assembly which opens today (Wednesday, January 13). Democracy in our state is showing some resilience, opening on time after having cut the 2020 session short for the first time since the beginning of the US Civil War.
Does the General Assembly have the resilience to do the people’s business in a worsening pandemic, under unprecedented conditions and rules for both legislators and members of the public -- who want them to attend to the emergency we have now? And who want them to be open about what they are accomplishing, or not accomplishing?
We activists at Progressive Maryland know what they must do, and we’ll be watching from Day One.
Our People’s Recovery Agenda, which Progressive Maryland shares with other activists and progressive organizations, was adopted by our Member Assembly just this last Saturday.
The agenda includes workplace protections and increased wages for all workers and full unemployment benefits for all qualifying (Maryland’s system remains halting); housing security measures (eviction, foreclosure and utility shutoff bans) and vigorous social housing investment; progressive taxation and aggressive raising of revenue from previously sheltered individuals and groups; and extended access to healthcare for all, during the pandemic and after (starting Day One we need that; please sign and share our Healthcare petition ) .
The Recovery Agenda, pitched to the urgency of our times and a non-negotiable demand presented to Maryland’s 2021 legislative session, is rooted in the Vision and Values statement also presented to and accepted by PM’s Member Assembly, reads in part
We envision a Maryland where poverty is known only in history books and paintings hung on museum walls, where we have transitioned from an economic and energy system that threatens our planet to one that is driven by renewable energy and that creates thousands of high wage jobs in this industry. We know that we can build a world where every human being will be able to live a worthy and dignified life regardless of their race, gender identity, age, immigration status, or sexual orientation as we make hatred and discrimination legally and socially impermissible.
The vision is grounded in the values Progressive Maryland and activists on behalf of working families have embodied for decades: Anti-racism, economic justice coupled with environmental justice, democracy free of the influence of the wealthy, equity and quality in education at all levels, empowerment of communities independent of partisanship and with nonviolent practice
These elements – the agenda, the vision of a Maryland we want, and the values we embrace as we pursue these progressive goals – are both long-term and immediate. We aim to see Maryland emerge from the greatest health, economic and political emergency any of us have ever known stronger, more equal and more just. And in the immediate next three months we expect and demand that our legislators join us in pursuing these goals, starting today.
See full versions of the agenda and actions of the Member Assembly at this link.