Montgomery County tries to roll back some paid sick leave and public sector worker protections; Prince George's (and Charles!) residents fight Walmart intrusions before the District Council and public financing for elections gains traction in Howard. Plus links to the week's blog posts.

Welcome back from the Fourth of July break to the Progressive Maryland weekly memo for the first week of July (5-11) – a look at the week ahead after the noisy but cloudy breather of the Fourth, and more… this one is packed with events and activities (you thought everything stopped in the summer, right? Read on…).

A nationwide mass canvass of local voters called the National Doorstep Convention is set for the weekend of July 16 and 17…

What do everyday people want from their representatives, from the president on down – and will we see any of that reflected in the political conventions? Progressive Maryland volunteers will hit the streets to find out that weekend.

It’s STILL (Loan) Shark WeekReal sharks, fearsome but appropriate citizens in the ocean ecosystem, are getting a bad name because of what profit-hungry payday lenders do to the dreams of low-income families and workers.

Shark Week may be over on TV but the Loan Sharknado continues as the loan industry mobilizes against the federal Consumer Finance Protection Board’s proposed regulations on payday lending. Progressive Maryland and allied organizations are fighting on behalf of those, and even better, regulations

But the industry – and that’s what it is – still preys systematically on the working poor who live close to the edge. 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.

In Howard County there’ll be special attention to the drive for limited public financing of local elections in the county. Visit us Saturday, July 9 at the Maple Lawn Festival.

The Fight for Fifteen continues in Montgomery CountyThe Montgomery County Council is mulling a $15 minimum wage, and activists packed the recent public hearing on the measure urging that tipped workers be included in the raise. 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. The MoCo council’s Health and Human Services committee meets next Monday, July 11 at 10 a.m. to consider the bill. Sign the petition to urge the Council to include tipped workers.

  • Meanwhile, some Montgomery council members are trying to roll back protections for unionized workers. The Metro Washington Labor Council’s alert says it’s “an extremely anti-union bill that would devastate collective bargaining for firefighters, school nurses, county employees, and many more working people in Montgomery County. The bill is modeled right out of the playbook of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),” a Koch Bros.-funded activist think tank that provides model anti-union and pro-business laws for state and local governments. A hearing on this is set July 12 at 7 p.m. in the MoCo council chambers in Rockville and Progressive Maryland staff will be among those testifying against it.
    • And still in Montgomery, council members who proudly affirmed a county-level sick leave bill last year are mulling an amendment to satisfy boo-hooing from the business “community.” It’s a blatant attempt to roll back progressive legislation while nobody is looking. A hearing on that amendment is coming up July 19. Remind councilmembers that the public is keeping an eye on them.

 Prince George's Deserves Better! From Prince George’s, lead staff organizer Jennifer Dwyer reports on the upcoming "Prince George's Deserves Better!" Protest

Monday, July 18th at 9 AM

County Administration Building
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Dr.
Upper Marlboro, MD


We'll be rallying outside the clock tower. Folks should wear red for NO WALMART! After the rally, we'll proceed to the 1st Floor Hearing room for the District Council hearing on the proposed 24-Hour Super Walmart in Clinton, starting at 10 AM. The stronger the turnout, the stronger our message to Mel Franklin and the County Council that Prince George's County is organizing and coming together to demand BETTER for our communities than FIVE proposed 24-Hour Super Walmarts, fast food restaurants in every cookie-cutter strip mall, and convenience stores on every corner! Prince George’s Deserves Better!


Charles County has its own issues with the Walmart invasion, including a hearing calendar stretched out to exhaustion by tag teams of Walmart lawyers.


Waldorf Super Walmart Public Hearing


Tuesday, July 26th at 7 PM

Charles County Government Building
200 Baltimore St.
La Plata, MD 20646

 After nearly a year and a half of testimony and questioning from expert witnesses and attorneys, the public's day to speak up has finally come! 


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…

Locally and at the state level, activists have pushed sorely needed paid sick leave closer to passage. In one county, it has passed. The public health and household stability benefits of paid sick leave have become well known. Jasmine Snead provides a reminder.

Payday lending costs 12 million vulnerable, low-income workers excessive interest payments each year. Federal regulations propose to end the "debt trap" of predatory short-term lending and need both support and improvement.


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 we recently published:

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.

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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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...