Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 12, 2021

Today is Sine Die day (the Assembly adjourns at midnight tonight UNLESS they stop the clock at 11:59 and keep messing around, which is not unheard of). Critical bills are still headed for the finish line; see below to find out how to get behind them. Even before the finale, a sweeping though depleted package addressing police violence and public accountability for it was passed, vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan, and reinstated by an emphatic veto override.

 we continue to keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts, struggles for justice in Congress and the back-and-forth of state legislation. This and much more in the Memo.



 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 12, 2021

Today is Sine Die day (the Assembly adjourns at midnight tonight UNLESS they stop the clock at 11:59 and keep messing around, which is not unheard of). Critical bills are still headed for the finish line; see below to find out how to get behind them. Even before the finale, a sweeping though depleted package addressing police violence and public accountability for it was passed, vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan, and reinstated by an emphatic veto override.

We continue to keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts, struggles for justice in Congress and the back-and-forth of state legislation. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

Quick Actions:

Statewide Updates:

New Era PAC

We are transforming the political landscape of Maryland. Please join us on Saturday, May 1 at 11am for the launch of a new era in politics, featuring special guest speaker Ben Jealous. RSVP here. Any contribution makes a big difference! Donate now.


Healthcare Justice Campaign

The Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 (HB565 / SB514) completed the final procedural steps necessary to officially pass both chambers with unanimous support last Thursday, April 8. Thank you to everyone who has taken action in support of this critical legislation!

That means the bill is now waiting for the Governor's signature. Can you take 2 minutes to click here and send an email to Governor Larry Hogan asking him to sign the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 into law?

You can sign on here to show your support for the End Medical Debt Maryland campaign and receive occasional email updates. Please contact Lindsey Muniak ([email protected]) with any questions or to get more involved.

 

Medicare for All:

The Medicare for All Act of 2021, H.R. 1976, was introduced last month by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. This landmark legislation would improve and expand Medicare; providing a way for all Americans to get health coverage no matter their age, income, location, employment status, or medical situation. Four members from Maryland’s U.S. House Delegation, Representatives Raskin, Mfume, Sarbanes and Brown have signed as co-sponsors.

The bill has 115 co-sponsors. It’s time to  get other members of the Maryland Congressional delegation to sign on. That’s why we’ve stepped up our organizing!  One tool and strategy we’re using is local resolutions.

Montgomery County folks: You can help by signing the petition to the Council asking them to pass a Medicare for All Resolution. The Resolution has been drafted and shared with leaders on the Council; we expect action soon. In the meantime we need to continue to build grassroots support so please sign the petition and ask your local union, civic association or interest group to sign an organizational letter of support. We need signatures in particular  from MoCo residents who live in Rep. Trone’s district. Contact Josh for more information on how to get involved.

Prince George’s County supporters:The Medicare for All Resolution CR-27-2021 has been introduced and has seven co-sponsors. You can help by signing this petition to the Council asking them to pass the Resolution.  A hearing on the PG Resolution will be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.  We need folks to testify or submit testimony in support of the resolution. Interested? Please reach out to [email protected]g or Josh

Everyone: If you’d like to work on an effort  to get your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 1976, please reach out. You can help us build broad public support for the bill either through a local resolution campaign, a petition drive directed at the Representatives or helping to support the Medicare For All teach-ins that we’re planning to hold. Thanks for taking action on healthcare justice. 

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland

Our next full meeting is April 21st at 6:30pm - RSVP here.

Baltimore City

Baltimore County/ Frederick County/ Western Maryland

Progressive Montgomery

Montgomery County Justice Working Group

Join together with members of the Progressive Montgomery community to get organized and educated on justice issues in Montgomery County. We will be working on judicial reform, criminal justice issues, and any issues that are important to YOU. 

Progressive Prince George’s

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus (Affiliate Chapter) our monthly meeting is the first Thursday of the month. Check our website for more.

-Please join our Offshore Wind Town Hall TODAY at 6:30pm - register here.

State and National News: 

 

A Historic Win:

LSPC-endorsed candidate for Pocomoke City Council, Todd Nock, won his hard-fought re-election campaign with 54% of the vote! This historic victory shows that the voters of District 4 wanted to continue the progress that Councilmember Nock has led over his first terms. A historic victory that is also being celebrated by Progressives from Pocomoke City to Western Maryland and everywhere in between. 

 

Fighting COVID-19:

Unfortunately, COVID cases and hospitalizations have increased steadily in Maryland since early March, going from just under 800 daily cases at that time to averaging 1,300 per day in recent weeks. The dramatic rise in cases among young adults is driving the trend, among 10 to 19 year olds and people in their 20s. One thousand Marylanders are hospitalized today with the coronavirus. The numbers are  a reminder that  even as vaccines roll out and more residents get their shots it’s still critical to fight this disease by  following the public health guidelines: to wear masks, practice social distancing , limit travel except for essential trips, and avoid gatherings especially indoor events. Testing remains important, too, so the state and local government can’t let up on that effort.

Getting vaccines into people’s arms remains the best way to save and protect lives. Please pre register or make an appointment to get a shot and check your local county government website for more information about vaccine locations and appointment scheduling. Getting the vaccine will make you and your community safer and help us achieve more equity in the vaccination numbers. Equity remains a concern and we  will  continue to support organizing efforts to get more sites and options in communities with significant BIPOC populations.

If you want to help this community effort, County websites should have posts and links  about volunteer opportunities to help at vaccine sites and/or with registration efforts at community events. People’s Action, our national affiliate, is participating in the National COVID-19 Community Corps, a project of the DHHS. Click here to learn more.

Think Globally, Act Locally, Focus on the WTO

The United States, under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, is accelerating the number of vaccines given daily and weekly. The total percentage of the U.S. population fully vaccinated is nearly 22% (in Maryland it’s 23%.)  Unfortunately, this is very much not the case in most countries in the world, especially the global south, where the vaccine rollout is proceeding quite slowly. The sobering news is that if this pace continues some people in the world would not be vaccinated until 2023. That’s unacceptable -- we must vaccinate in EVERY nation of the world. A global pandemic needs to be addressed on a global scale. Drug manufacturers are some of the actors standing in the way of increased  production and distribution around the world - for more information watch this commentary on the issue.

The good news is that the world can do something about the appalling vaccine inequity we’re seeing play out for poorer countries. We can come together as global citizens and call on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive the so-called TRIPS provision. A temporary suspension of this intellectual property agreement  would speed up the production of vaccines and make it easier for other nations, not just the rich countries, to get the doses they need. Progressive Maryland and its national affiliate, People’s Action are calling on the Biden Administration to demand that the WTO grant this waiver. We’re also urging Members of Congress to sign on to a letter that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has drafted asking the President to do this. This action could  help save millions of lives around the world. We will be setting up meetings, phone banks, and a potential postcard campaign for this WTO campaign starting this week. The next meeting of the WTO takes place May 5, making this a critical time to put pressure on Congress and the President.  For more information on this emerging campaign contact Josh or Patty.

 

The Maryland General Assembly passed a huge budget with federal funds help that brings home a lot of recovery action. This Maryland Matters account walks us through it.

But the Assembly still has work to do, even though it’s the “last” day of the Session. 

A lot has been accomplished on police and public safety reform. It was a national story; the New York Times led with: “Maryland lawmakers voted on Saturday to limit police officers’ use of force, restrict the use of no-knock warrants and repeal the nation’s first Bill of Rights for law enforcement, taking sweeping action to address police violence after nationwide demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.” Maryland’s pride at being the first state to pass a Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (in the 1970s) has rapidly devolved to embarrassment as state after state, lobbied by powerful police “unions,” passed similar bills that removed police practices and use of deadly force from public accountability. Accountability’s foes knocked important parts out of the legislative package as it moved through the Assembly, and Governor Larry Hogan vetoed much of the package but was quickly and decisively overridden. Progressive Maryland analysts found much to like, particularly strengthened provisions for public inclusion in investigative boards for officer misconduct (a battle only partly won by the progressive coalition several years ago).


National: Big, important bills put pressure on House, Senate schedules

With Congress back from recess and the huge Biden admin proposals on the way to the sausage machine, some pretty amazing schedule-making is under way from the leadership in both chambers. Two trains are running -- the infrastructure bill and the administration’s budget, which may not actually be “dead on arrival” as such budgets usually are. Sondra Youdelman, campaigns director for People’s Action, has outlined how these two mega-bills are being managed by Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer and the deadlines they are trying to meet. We have posted her excellent, detailed summary as a blog here. Why do we need to know these schedules? Because there will come a time when Congress will collapse into business as usual -- Republicans and Democrats -- without the pressure from activists that will get real change. The Memo will keep you up on the nitty-gritty every week.

The leader of People’s Action’s climate policy, Kaniela Ing, responded to the Biden “American Rescue Plan” [stimulus bill] with “it is obvious that all of our communities need massive investment and structural change. Knowing the GOP will obstruct any proposal and call for even more austerity, we need to be unflinching in our values. We cannot negotiate before even entering the room. $3 trillion is a good start, but President Biden’s plan must include at least $10 trillion through the next decade, as outlined in the THRIVE Agenda, and supported by hundreds of grassroots organizations and over 100 members of Congress.” See the full PA statement here. The THRIVE Act 2021 was introduced last week.

Maryland will get about $5.8 billion total from the Rescue Plan, as reported by Conduit Street, the newsletter for Maryland’s association of counties -- $1.9 billion for aid to counties and cities and $3.9 million for the state, including education, broadband, relief for impacted populations and communities and more. The Conduit Street report includes a breakdown of the impact by county.

 

Events from our allies:   

Environmental racism reading group meeting TODAY, Monday, April 12th at 7pm

MDC DSA’S reading group on environmental racism in DC will meet on Monday, April 12th at 7pm to discuss the cluster of power plants in the Brandywine community of Prince George’s County. Together we will talk through how they got there, how their pollution disproportionately impacts the Black residents in the surrounding neighborhoods and what this has to do with Pepco and our fight for energy democracy in the District. Co-sponsored with Re-Power DC.  Register here to attend.

JUFJ Sine Die Celebration TODAY, Monday, April 12th 7:30pm - Midnight. Join JUFJ virtually for a New Year's Eve style celebration of Sine Die, the last day of Maryland's state session! RSVP here.

Tuesday, April 13 at 6:45pm     AFT Town Hall: Climate Justice, Jobs, and the Freedom to Thrive. With Jane Fonda, Varshini Prakash and others  SIGN UP NOW

Monday April 19 7pm, Reel and Meal features Ram ke Naam (In the Name of God), a 1991 documentary about the events leading up to the 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid, one of the largest and oldest Muslim places of worship in India. The film begins at 7pm; entry to the Zoom event starts 6:45pm.  Registration is required – please use this link to register: https://tinyurl.com/ReelnMealApr.  

  

  

Progressive Maryland BlogSpace:

We value creating space for our members to express their thoughts on any issues related to our campaigns. Have an idea for a blog post? You can submit writing, film, graphic design etc. to be published on our website to the blog moderator, Woody, at [email protected].  

April 12, 2021 Fed playbook: Biden's budget, infrastructure plan make for crowded timeline

Spending for social needs, which was pretty much on hold during the Trump administration, is back on the table this spring and suddenly the schedule is everything. In an excellent roundup from People's Action's campaigns director Sondra Youdelman, we see that timelines for work in the House and Senate are complicated by juggling both the Biden admin's budget, which has huge increases for education, health and the environment, and the big infrastructure bill, which demonstrates how social needs and the transportation, power grid and broadband deficiencies are deeply intertwined. Activists are going to have to learn fast and follow the back-and-forth of events almost daily to know when to put our muscle to work to keep this legislation oriented toward people and not corporations and the rich.

April 08, 2021 UM employees could get organizing boost from Assembly bill passage

From the Diamondback student newspaper, a bill passed this week by House and Senate in the General Assembly is favored by a union organizing workers at numerous campuses because it would enable one master agreement with the University System of Maryland.

-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 5, 2021


-March 10, 2021  We're not bluffing. Criminal justice/police reform is non-negotiable

Effective criminal justice reform and police accountability are on the line in Annapolis. Today. See floor debate here.  It’s time to show our legislators that we are serious when we say that if they do not act on behalf of the people they are elected to represent then we will replace them. Despite last week's in-person protest in Annapolis, legislators are breaking faith and we must now ensure there are consequences for those who stand on the side of the Fraternal Order of Police in the next Democratic primary in 2022. See all the ways below.

-March 09, 2021 Take action: a foreclosure crisis looms; where is Maryland leadership?

Progressive Maryland's housing and judiciary reform task force will tackle issues of the pandemic housing, foreclosure and eviction crisis at a virtual forum Tuesday, March 16, 6:30-8pm. Join us to face up to the emergency during which joblessness and quarantine have put working families, both mortgage holders and renters, in danger of becoming unhoused during a perilous time.

>>Read more on the homepage of progressivemaryland.org.