While the GOP US House Caucus plays daily chicken on the looming debt ceiling deadline, families here in Maryland have the same old questions: where does our next meal come from? How can we avoid losing our health care coverage when the COVID emergency "ends?" When is school going to get better -- permanently, not just by accident? Check out what's being done to remedy these issues here and elsewhere around the 50 states, and be reminded about the irrelevent game-playing going on down in the National Capitol. It's enough to get you mad. It's enough to get you mad enough to organize and fight. For that, join Progressive Maryland.
Exec Tackles Food Insecurity in Arundel: Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman signed an executive order last week creating a food council to devise solutions to food insecurity in the county. As residents struggle to recover financially from the pandemic and federal assistance launched during the public health emergency comes to an end, hunger experts encouraged Pittman to bring together people who are affected by food insecurity and those who work in food assistance to come up with creative, longer-term remedies to the county’s food access gap. Capital Gazette via Md Reporter
State Pushes To Ensure Marylanders Keep Medicaid Coverage: Maryland state officials are pushing a statewide informational campaign to ensure that Marylanders who are still eligible for Medicaid do not lose out on coverage now that the public health emergency for COVID-19 has come to an end. Maryland Matters.
Coordination Problems May Delay Education Reforms: Education officials are warning local school systems that their plans for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reforms might face delays after coordination efforts broke down this week between state authorities. The state’s Accountability & Implementation Board, the Blueprint’s main oversight authority, delivered a memo to superintendents and other coordinators Monday stating the Maryland State Department of Education had backed out of an agreement to jointly review school system’s implementation plans with the board. Baltimore Sun.
State Supremes Say Digital Tax Is Legal: The Supreme Court of Maryland issued an order overturning an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge’s ruling that the state tax on digital ads is unconstitutional. In its four-page order, the court remanded the case back to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Alison Asti and ordered her to dismiss the case brought by Comcast of California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia LLC and others. Maryland Matters via Md Reporter
Asti ruled that the tax on digital advertising violates the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits discrimination against electronic commerce, as well as the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on state interference with interstate commerce. Her decision in October prompted former Comptroller Peter Franchot to call the tax “constitutionally questionable” and recommend against continuing to defend the law. Baltimore Sun.
A Bill With Lots Of Supports Quietly Is Killed; For Good Reasons: You would think a bill in Annapolis that promised to alleviate the dire shortage of nurses in Maryland even a tiny, little bit, would be a slam dunk for passage. The issues are complicated, hard to explain and quite frankly, boring. The bills often involve fights pitting one set of health care professionals against another group of professionals about who qualifies to do what for patients. Len Lazarick/MarylandReporter.
Commentary: A Good Bill Is Allowed To Die: Maryland’s 2023 legislative session has ended, and it is time to take account of legislative casualties. One such casualty was House Bill 96/Senate Bill 93, the Youth Equity and Safety Act, which was stalled in committee. This is a juvenile justice bill that would end, once and for all, the automatic charging of youth who commit any one of 33 offenses as if they were adults. It would end a practice that has failed young people and our communities. There are no good excuses for having done nothing on HB96/SB93. Maryland Matters.
Commentary: Dangers To Academic Freedom Around The Country Mean Professors, Grad Students Need Right To Organize Here In Maryland: the recent attacks on tenure and academic freedom suggest that faculty members need another tool in addition to robust tenure protections: the ability to organize collectively. In short, they need the ability to unionize. Baltimore Sun, boosted in Union City (newsletter of Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)
Around the 50 states
And they are just getting around to this now? The Missouri legislature has given final approval to a bill banning texting while driving. The bill now heads to Gov. Mike Parson’s (R) desk. (KCUR) via Pluribus
Vermont Seeks Phase-out to Fossil Heat The Vermont Senate has voted to override Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) veto of legislation creating a clean heat standard that requires businesses that bring fossil fuels into the state to pay for a transition to new heating systems that pollute less. (VTDigger) via Pluribus
Not good to the last drop Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) has signed a bill banning state agencies from considering the impacts of climate change when analyzing proposed coal mines and power plants. (Montana Free Press) via Pluribus
What’s going on at the Federal level
Fresh introduction of Medicare for All this Wednesday—how to participate Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell & Senator Bernie Sanders will host a press conference at the House Triangle (outside) on Wednesday May 17th at 2:00pm ET to celebrate reintroduction of the Medicare for All Act.
- The press conference will be livestreamed here.
Watch the Medicare for All town hall at the Capitol on Tuesday, May 16th at 7:30pm ET: Livestream link: We’ll (People's Action) be cross-posting Senator Sanders' Livestream of the event on our Facebook page.
Voltz Podcast: Getting rooftop solar onto low- and middle-income housing
Vero Bourg-Meyer of the Clean Energy States Alliance discusses the lack of rooftop solar on low- and middle-income homes, the state and foundation programs attempting to remedy the situation, and the policies that have demonstrated that they actually work.
Largest U.S. Landlords Reaped Huge Profits Amid Double-Digit Rent Hikes - Accountable US
A new report from government watchdog Accountable.US finds the six largest companies represented in the multifamily and single-family rental industry reaped $4.3 billion in net income in FY 2022 -- over $1.3 billion more than the previous year – as they imposed double-digit rent increases, charged excessive fees, and engaged in “abusive tactics” to evict tenants. The analysis follows the Labor Department’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report showing “shelter was by far the largest contributor” to the overall increase in consumer costs in March.
This Federal roundup comes from People's Action's Monday email blast by their fed specialist Megan Essaheb -- People's Action is the national affiliate of Progressive Maryland.
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