News you can use on what our national progressive affiliate People's Action has on the burner -- and what is going down in the Maryland General Assembly. Find pathways and tools to make change below, too...
Congress is back and ready to be reminded that they are there to govern for everyone.
Megan Essaheb of People’s Action, our national affiliate, reports: “The big news last week was that Justice Breyer announced that he is retiring from the Supreme Court and President Biden reiterated his campaign promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. “ Confirmation is simple majority and Manchin and Sinema have a history of OKing Dem nominees. That doesn't mean the GOP machine won't weaponize the process.
“The Senate returns from recess today (Monday) and the House will return tomorrow. The government funding deadline is February 18th and if appropriators do not strike a deal then Congress will have to pass a short term funding extension or the government will shut down. “ See tools below for what we want and how to increase our odds of getting it. Here’s the timeline:
Kids are suffering most -- On February 3rd, Income Movement and Economic Security Project is leading a campaign to raise awareness, empathy, and urgency to the fact that millions of children have fallen into poverty and are going hungry because the Child Tax Credit has not been extended. Here is a toolkit with a sample email and SMS messaging.
Sign up by February 4th for critical training on February 8th -- Workers at People’s Action are holding virtual federal legislative weeks of action from February 14th - 25th for member leaders to meet with the offices of their Senators and Members of Congress to advocate to get the Build Back Better Act across the finish line, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act passed and to advocate for our other federal priorities. This is a leadership development opportunity for your members as well as an opportunity to advance our federal priorities. Please ask participants to fill out this form by Friday, February 4th COB. The Zoom training is on February 8th from 6-8pm ET / 3-5pm PT and will be recorded.
-- Build Back Together has this toolkit for continued advocacy on the Build Back Better Act. The frustration about its failed passage is showing up in public mood, so: Feb 21st - 25th - HCAN Bridge Actions What are those? “We need to demonstrate to lawmakers that at this stage in the game, they need to salvage what they can of Build Back Better and pass a bill.”
DATES to NOTE: What's on the Horizon to be Planning For
Feb 12th - WVCAG and WVWFP are holding a big canvass day in WV, overlaid with earned & paid media, and announce poll results. Western Maryland progressives take note.
Here is what is happening in the next few weeks in Annapolis, as described by our progressive allies in the Maryland Legislative Coalition
What are they up to? Examples:
BILL WOULD SET UP ELECTED ‘GOVERNMENT WATCHDOG’ OFFICE: A proposed constitutional amendment to add a new elected watchdog to the state government got its first airing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on Tuesday. House Bill 152, introduced by Del. Vaughn M. Stewart (D-Montgomery) would amend the state constitution to set up a “public advocate” elected office in Maryland to serve as a statewide ombudsman to “receive, respond to, and investigate ethics complaints” against state officials. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.
Crushing COVID news: JANUARY COULD BE DEADLIEST MONTH FOR COVID: January is poised to be Maryland’s most deadly month of the coronavirus pandemic, according to state data, even as the number of new infections reported daily trends downward. Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Sun.
Public Schools back off -- Following a holiday break that saw a rapid COVID-19 spike across the state, around 18,100 students from 29 public schools in Maryland were in virtual learning as of last week, according to new data from the Maryland State Department of Education. From Maryland Matters.
Late last week: AFGHAN REFUGEES BRING CONCERNS: Advocates expressed concern this week that some Afghan refugees have said they are not receiving adequate health care and other assistance as they seek to build new lives in the Baltimore area. The refugees are being resettled by the International Rescue Committee, with state services available after that if the federal government officially places them in Maryland. Jean Marbella/The Baltimore Sun
Another push for grad student unions: For the fifth year in a row, graduate students at Maryland public universities are imploring state lawmakers for the right to unionize. Although Maryland offers collective bargaining rights to most faculty and staff at public higher education institutions, it excludes student employees. Last year, the General Assembly passed bills that expanded collective bargaining rights to adjunct professors at Maryland community colleges and consolidated the bargaining process at the top for all University System of Maryland institutions.
Should Convicted Officers Forfeit Pensions? A bill sponsored by Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City) would subject officers to forfeiture of all or part of their pensions if they are convicted of committing a crime while on duty. The issue was considered as part of a sweeping police reform package in 2021, but did not pass then.
JUVENILE RIGHT TO COUNSEL BILL IN COMMITTEE: Defense and civil rights attorneys urged lawmakers Thursday to pass legislation providing juveniles an unwaivable right to counsel before being interrogated by law enforcement, saying youngsters do not fully comprehend their right to remain silent and are susceptible to giving false confessions. Steve Lash/The Daily Record
Calling the bill a “no-brainer,” during a hearing before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Thursday, Sen. Jill Carter argued existing policies expose kids to unnecessary risks in the justice system and doesn’t give due process. Callan Tansill-Suddath/WYPR
Maryland Matters and Maryland Reporter are two indispensable, fluff-free sources for state news you can use. You can click on those sites or, even, sign up for their daily emails.
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