It's Shark Week -- do you know enough about the loan sharks in the Payday Loans industry, exploiting the working poor who live paycheck to paycheck? Plus keeping up the pressure in Montgomery County to add tipped workers to a progressive new proposal for a $15/hour minimum wage in the county. And links to recent blog posts, in case you missed them.

Welcome to the Progressive Maryland weekly memo for June 27-July 3 – a look at the week ahead, and more…

It’s (Loan) Shark Week – be aware of new federal regulations on payday lending, and fight for still better protection –  Maryland has better state regulations than many states do of the predatory lending industry known as “payday loans.” But the industry – and that’s what it is – still preys systematically on the working poor who live close to the edge. Recent federal regulations will make it even harder to exploit working peoples’ misfortunes, but there is still much to do. Delaware, for instance, has weaker regulations and many marginalized workers on the Eastern Shore can cross the state line to be ripped off when reversals put their households in difficulty. Progressive Maryland and its national affiliate, the People’s Action Institute, are focusing on this exploitative “Wild West” sector of a financial system that still needs to be corralled so it will work for people, not profit. Not all the sharks have fins.

The Fight for Fifteen continues in Montgomery County – sign the petition – The Montgomery County Council is mulling a $15 minimum wage, and activists packed last week’s public hearing on the measure urging that tipped workers be included in the raise (see below). By organizing our members throughout the county, we helped pass paid sick leave last summer, improved wage enforcement, and now we're going to make sure every Montgomery County worker is paid a fair living wage. 

In Montgomery, tipped workers currently only receive a substandard minimum wage of $4.00 per hour and must make up the rest in tips which may fluctuate wildly based on individual customers, the shifts assigned, or even the weather outside.

Women make up 60% of all tipped workers and 70% of servers, so the current tip structure serves as legal wage inequity. Furthermore, 90% of women working as servers report being sexually harassed by customers and two-thirds experienced sexual harassment from a supervisor. Many feel pressured to sexualize themselves on the job to increase tips.

 Sign the petition to urge the Council to include tipped workers.


READING THE PM BLOGS – readers and fans of the PM BlogSpace can get a copy of the Weekly Memo delivered directly to their email inbox. It includes an update on the week ahead as well as links to the blogs that have appeared in the past week. Never miss a blog post. Sign up at


FOR EXAMPLE: last week we published these blogs…

THE PEOPLE’S SUMMIT AND CONTINUING THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION IN MARYLAND -- Progressive activists gathered in Chicago a week ago to continue the surge of resistance to business as usual exemplified by the Sanders campaign. Larry Stafford, PM executive director, reports on his impressions as a participant

ADVOCATES FOR $15 MINIMUM WAGE, TIPPED WORKERS BOOST PACK MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL HEARING -- Advocates for a proposal to increase Montgomery County's minimum wage to $15 an hour -- the Fight for Fifteen -- urged the Council to include increases for tipped workers, among the county's most exploited and poorly paid.

HOW POLICE, PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES FORM THEIR OWN TRIANGLE -- A veteran Maryland lawyer and blogger details how judges and prosecutors are so dependent on police that getting justice in the case of police brutality and misconduct can often be out of reach.

SLOW, STEADY PROGRESS TOWARD A SECULAR SET OF STATE LAWS -- Activists report on the slow, steady lobbying work in this year's General Assembly session of making state laws and practices neutral toward religious faith -- or lack of it. A report card from the Secular Coalition for Maryland.

And in recent weeks we published:

GETTING MONEY OUT OF ELECTIONS IN HOWARD – Howard County can become the second Maryland county to choose limited public financing for elections and begin to get the influence of big money out of local elections. Voters can opt for fair elections on the November ballot.
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AND REMEMBER THIS BLOGSPACE IS FOR THE PROGRESSIVE VOICES OF MARYLAND. Want to include your voice? Send a submission, or questions, to the moderator at [email protected]


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...