Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 5, 2021

police_violence.pngThe trial of Derek Chauvin, formerly of the Minneapolis police department, should be bringing us a warning: Chauvin is rightly being abandoned by his former colleagues for the blatant murder of George Floyd at his hands -- and those of three other sworn officers. But trial viewers should completely discount the excuses of Chauvin’s superiors that “this is not the way we trained him.” Unfortunately, Academy training is no match for the prevalent mythology of the Warrior Cop and the permissive internal police culture that it creates.

The trial is raising many issues about racism, police relations with the community, the role of police unions and the accountability of police departments.  Reimagining public safety, making fundamental changes to policing practices and oversight, as well as  focusing on harm reduction, continue to offer our best path to a more equitable criminal justice system.  Only when public officials seriously examine the impact on BIPOC communities of decades of police abuse and mistreatment and demand an end to this toxic culture will we begin to see a substantial reduction in the often-lethal examples of excessive force that ricochet from city to city and show up in the news and the data.

April brings with it the wrapup of our state Assembly session with Sine Die next Monday; 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 5, 2021

 

The trial of Derek Chauvin, formerly of the Minneapolis police department, should be bringing us a warning: Chauvin is rightly being abandoned by his former colleagues for the blatant murder of George Floyd at his hands -- and those of three other sworn officers. But trial viewers should completely discount the excuses of Chauvin’s superiors that “this is not the way we trained him.” Unfortunately, Academy training is no match for the prevalent mythology of the Warrior Cop and the permissive internal police  culture that it creates. The trial is raising many issues about racism, police relations with the community, the role of police unions and the accountability of police departments.  Reimagining public safety, making fundamental changes to policing practices and oversight, as well as  focusing on harm reduction, continue to offer our best path to a more equitable criminal justice system.  Only when public officials seriously examine the impact on BIPOC communities of decades of police abuse and mistreatment and demand an end to this toxic culture will we begin to see  a substantial reduction in the often-lethal examples of excessive force that ricochet from city to city and show up in the news and the data. -- 

April brings with it the wrapup of our state Assembly session; 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:

Justice Reform Campaign-- TONIGHT

Earlier this month, the Progressive Maryland Justice Task Force launched our We’re Not Bluffing Campaign to ensure Democrats who watered down Police Accountability legislation will be defeated at the ballot box in 2022. In recent weeks, The Justice Task Force has been working hard to ensure the strongest Police Reform bill possible gets passed through contacting voters in key districts. But in order to prepare for our long-term strategy after the General Assembly concludes, we want to make sure everyone has the information they need, understands who our targets are and why, and most importantly, how we are going to win: Join our We’re Not Bluffing Launch Party tonight, Monday April 5 from 5:30pm–7pm!

 

Healthcare Justice Campaign

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Baltimore on Saturday for the Rally to End Medical Debt! It was wonderful to meet so many of you in person, and we're looking forward to many more actions in the future. 

At this point, the Maryland House and Senate have unanimously passed identical amended versions of the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 (HB 565/SB 514). Still, we're not quite in the clear. 

In a procedural step, each chamber now needs to formally pass the other chamber's version of the bill. Since the two bills are identical, this should be a fairly straightforward process — but we need to be sure the Maryland Hospital Association doesn't get any ideas about weakening the current bill if it sticks around either chamber too long.

End Medical Debt Maryland is asking our allies to call General Assembly leaders and ask them to move the opposite chamber's version of the bill forward. Please call Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones to ask that she move SB 514 through the House — and call Senate President Bill Ferguson to ask that he move HB 565 through the Senate.

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.

Fighting COVID-19:

Unfortunately, COVID cases and hospitalizations are up again for the third week in a row in Maryland. It’s absolutely critical for all of us to continue following the public health guidelines, even as more folks get 49957171117_101ce14ec9_b.jpgvaccinated. Please stay vigilant: wear masks, social distance, limit travel except for essential trips, and avoid gatherings.

We remain concerned about the Hogan Administration’s handling of the crisis, including their recent decision to change guidelines and relax restrictions in early March which many experts believed are tied to the rise in cases. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hogans-risky-reopening-in-maryland-has-backfired-he-should-rethink-it/2021/04/02/198f484c-93dd-11eb-9668-89be11273c09_story.html.   Dr. Walensky of the CDC and Dr. Fauci continue to urge government officials to exercise patience and uphold guidelines to fend off this potential surge or fourth wave. 

Governor Hogan’s encouraging people to go to the walk-up vaccine site in Salisbury and then head to Ocean City for the Easter weekend also seems to defy common sense and the advice of  health officials. His announcement implied that you could get a shot and have instant protection from getting COVID which of course is not the case. We  join public health officials around the state, especially in Baltimore and Montgomery County, in pushing back on the Governor’s decision to limit vaccine supplies (the state decides the allocation of supply it gets from the Federal Government)  to those less vaccinated areas of the state where there is great demand while sending supplies to parts of the state with higher vaccination rates and much less demand. More local vaccination options in more densely populated areas are needed especially to bridge the racial equity gap. Fortunately, we’re seeing some of that happening thanks to advocacy from groups like PM’s Healthcare Task Force, leaders at MoCo’s Muslim Community Center, and the staff and members of CASA.

If you want to help:: Volunteer with Progressvie Maryland to help get vaccines to everyone in Maryland as quickly as possibl Opportunities are available as soon as this week. 

People’s Action, our national affiliate, is participating in the National COVID-19 Community Corps, a project of the DHHS. If you want to learn more: https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/covidcommunitycorps

In related developments about the Governor’s actions, a review by the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits released last week showed that when the state paid more than $11 million for 500,000 COVID test kits from South Korea the tests were not approved by the FDA.The procurement was also made without a formal contract according to the findings. The review also mentions the firing of two employees after they raised concerns about the deal. Patrick Moran, AFSCME Council 3 President, issued this statement in response to the report:

“The audit report released today on the procurement of the COVID tests from LabGenomics should concern every Marylander. In addition to  the millions of dollars that were wasted, virtually no procurement rules were followed and two employees who came forward to report issues with the tests in the interest of protecting the public were terminated without cause despite having no performance issues documented in the past. There should be accountability at the top and we encourage the General Assembly’s efforts to provide continued oversight, influence, and transparency over the Hogan administration’s handling [of] this crisis. After almost two terms in office Larry Hogan should stop doing everything for publicity and put the people of Maryland first.”

Think Globally, Act Locally, Focus on WTO

We have to end the pandemic everywhere in order to ensure the health of people living all over the world. It’s in our country’s interest  for other countries, especially in the global south, to get access to vaccine doses as soon as possible. It’s also the right thing to do. Inequities in global distribution are preventing access to life saving vaccines for too many countries. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has the power to waive the Trade and Intellectual Property Rules (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccines which 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. We are calling on the Biden Administration to demand that the WTO grant this waiver. The President has an opportunity to exert U.S. global leadership on this critical public health policy and to help save millions of lives around the world. Members of Congress can sign a letter encouraging the President to waive TRIPS. 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.

Focus on NIST Proposed Rule

You can also take quick action today, up until midnight, to make a comment to NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology to oppose a Trump Administration proposed rule that would limit the government's power to break pharmaceutical monopolies to stop abusive pricing for drugs that were developed using our tax dollars.  Click on the link to go directly to a comment submission form. (phone2action link

Medicare for All:

The Medicare for All Act of 2021, H.R. 1976, was introduced on March 17 by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. This landmark legislation would improve and expand Medicare; it would provide a way for all Americans to get health coverage no matter their age, income, location, employment status, or medical situation. Four members of our U.S. House Delegation, including Rep. Mfume who signed on last week, are already co-sponsoring the measure. Many thanks to him and to Representatives Raskin, Sarbanes and Brown for their leadership on this issue. And hats off to the Maryland Progressive Health Coalition and the hundreds of activists who are part of MPHC and Progressive Maryland who are working on this campaign. The bill now has 115 co-sponsors in the U.S. House.

It’s time to  get other members of the Maryland Congressional delegation to sign on. That’s why we’re organizing! 

Help us pass local resolutions in support of Medicare For All! 

Montgomery County folks: You can help by signing the petition to the Council asking them to pass a Medicare for All Resolution. Ask your local civic association or group to sign an organizational letter of support. 

Prince George’s County supporters:The Medicare for All Resolution CR-27-2021  has been introduced by CM Deni Taveras (D-2) and is being sponsored by six other Councilmembers. You can help by signing the petition to the Council asking them to sign the Resolution.  A hearing on the PG Resolution may be scheduled for some time in April.  We need folks to testify or submit testimony in support of the resolution. Interested? Please reach out to [email protected] or Josh.

Interested in bringing a resolution to your local county, city or town Council?  Please reach out, you can help us build broad public support and and a strong case for our Senators and other Representatives to support Medicare For All.



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

The Frederick County Progressives are holding their monthly meeting Sunday, April 11th, at 1:30pm. You can register by clicking here. The FCP has plenty of ways for new members to get involved involving deep canvassing efforts in the near future as we build power surrounding the upcoming city elections in 2021 and wider elections coming up in 2022. FCP meetings are held the second Sunday every month and we’d love to see you there! If you're interested in getting more involved in the work being done in Frederick County then please contact the Progressive Maryland Regional Organizer in the area, Zach Kovach, or the FCP Chair, Nick DeSalvio. Register for the upcoming FCP meeting on April 11 by clicking here.

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.

 

State and National News: 

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. Our allies in the Maryland Legislative Coalition point out that this is the last week of Session (!) with Sine Die coming next Monday (April 12) -- and there are critical bills to support and push across the finish line. 

-- HB0016 Correctional Services – Immigration Detention – Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act) - Delegate Stewart

-- HB0581/SB0486 Labor and Employment - Employment Standards During an Emergency (Maryland Essential Workers' Protection Act) - Delegate Davis, D. E.

-- HB0583/SB0414 Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021 - Senator Pinsky

-- HB1312 Landlord and Tenant - Eviction Actions - Catastrophic Health Emergencies - Delegate Wilkins and HB0018 Landlord and Tenant - Residential Tenants - Right to Counsel - Delegate Fisher W.

If you are up for fighting for these imperiled bills on immigrant rights, protecting essential workers, tackling the climate crisis boldly and protecting tenants against eviction, the Coalition has more info, including how to support these bills, in this week’s dispatch.



National: People’s Action wants Thrive Act elements in American Rescue Plan

 

The leader of People’s Action’s climate policy, Kaniela Ing, responded to the Biden “American Rescue Plan” 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.

 

 People’s Action is mobilizing activists to bring pressure on their local members during the spring recess (“Recovery Recess”); sign up here. And here is a solid take from a progressive think tank with “two cheers for a huge step forward—a vision worth fighting for, and a big down payment” on the country’s needs.

 

Events from our allies:   

Wednesday, April 7 | 4pm Parents, students and educators car rally at Eleanor Roosevelt High School because they want to go back to in-person learning ONLY WHEN IT’S SAFE with improved ventilation, enforcement of masking, vaccinations for teachers and flexibility on teleworking. 

 

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].  

-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 29, 2021

-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 22, 2021


-March 16, 2021 Assembly aims to adjust Kirwan plan to tackle post-COVID landscape

The General Assembly is tweaking -- and in some cases adjusting big-time -- the huge program called the Blueprint for Education to make sure the Kirwan plan adapts to the needs of a post-COVID landscape and to the learning loss that the past year has brought to Maryland's K-12 students. This Maryland Matters coverage shows the possibilities.

-March 13, 2021  Schools reopening, county by county -- the plan up to date
Gov. Hogan has abruptly set the stage for openings across the state, giving local officials fits. Among them are schools, which teachers and their unions insist should be much safer to open for face-to-face learning than they are at this point. The national priority for vaccinating teachers will help, but signs of progress in Maryland are spotty and disputed.

-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.

- Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 15, 2021

- Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 8, 2021

- Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 1, 2021

 

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



{{Disclaimer}}

{{OrganizationAddress}}

If you believe you received this message in error or wish to no longer receive email from us, please {{Unsubscri