An eviction crisis is looming. Even folks who give housing their full-time attention feel they may not know how bad the coming wave of evictions will be, in Maryland and everywhere that the expiration of the $600 top-off on unemployment insurance tips families from scrambling into desperation. We need an end to evictions and cancellations of rent. What pressure points can we lean on to get action? We have suggestions below. That and lots more in PM's Weekly Memo, your go-to source for progressive action in Maryland.
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 10, 2020
NATIONAL ACTION REPORT
Even folks who give housing their full-time attention feel they may not know how bad the coming wave of evictions will be, in Maryland and everywhere that the expiration of the $600 top-off on unemployment insurance tips families from scrambling into desperation. We need an end to evictions and cancellations of rent. One pressure point is Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, who chairs the Senate Banking and etc. committee. Call or email him, or any member of that committee, especially Van Hollen -- Sens. McSally and Tillis on the GOP side are considered highly vulnerable in November and may respond to pressure.
Our national affiliate People’s Action has a social media kit tailored for this week’s outrages and challenges: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xw4h1J-QSaB1MH9Yu8X4S6TZwpb7EMSgZdmxZAsJQ4A/edit
EO EO Thud
Trump’s attempt to look like a hero with executive action on COVID relief looks like instant feeble. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called his EOs “meager, weak, and unconstitutional actions.” An anti-eviction measure covers only people who lived in public housing, qualified for the Section 8 rental assistance program or rented from landlords with certain kinds of federally backed mortgages. Tossing states the ball -- and some of the bill -- for continuing a skimpy top-off on unemployment is looney given how much trouble they are already having. Just ask Maryland’s unemployed at the mercy of Hogan’s rickety IT system. And tapping FEMA’s pool of federal funds for disaster relief in the middle of what is expected to be an active hurricane season is not a prudent move. Only student loan holders may actually benefit from the EO, something Trump could and should have done years ago without the excuse of COVID-19. Read the NYT roundup here.
People’s Action reminds us here are some of the things -- NOT included in any Executive Orders -- that the Democrats keep pushing for:
- State Funding: $1 trillion in funding for state, local and tribal governments to prevent essential workers such as teachers, firefighters, and others from being laid off, and to stop mass cuts to basic services.
- School Funding: Increase funding for public schools to safely re-open, child-care, and funding to close the digital divide (i.e., broadband);
- Essential Worker Protections: Essential worker protections and benefits including protective personal equipment (PPE), hazard pay, OSHA standards, child-care support, paid sick and family & medical leave.
- Inclusion of immigrants in all relief provisions (i.e., testing, contact tracing, treatment, direct cash payments (includes ITIN holders, mixed-status families), and auto-renewal of work authorizations for DACA-holders and TPS-holders
- Direct (monthly/recurring) cash payments to all people
- Funding for SNAP, food banks and child nutritional programs (particularly urban and rural communities of color)
- Eviction and utility shut-off moratoriums, and funding for rental assistance (need to reinstate rent and foreclosure eviction moratoriums)
- Reinstate the pandemic unemployment insurance benefits at the same rate in CARES Act of $600.
These are critical needs and Congress should be pressed to meet them.
Healthcare federal issue organizing in Maryland: Our campaign to get Sen. Van Hollen to co-sponsor the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act, S.3790 and to champion access to care for everyone during the pandemic continues. We’re alerting Marylanders to this legislation and asking them to contact Sen. Van Hollen. Here are some ways you can get involved with that effort:
Come to our textbank this Thursday, August 13 at 6:30 p.m. https://secure.everyaction.com/OLMRXZ8vRke_t40xGX4pSA2
Come to our phone bank on Saturday August 15 at 10:30 a.m. https://secure.everyaction.com/A8CQJ1zv5UqEdrGlBJb_gw2
Call Senator Van Hollen’s office at (202) 224-4654
Voting and Elections: Concern about Governor Hogan’s approach to the November election, which drops the vote-by-mail (with some in-person options) used pretty successfully on its first time out for the June 2 primary, in favor of a system with more polling places and a multi-step absentee ballot request program continues to be raised around the state. There may still be a chance to win a vote by mail system. In the meantime, we should start planning now to apply for an absentee ballot to make sure we get to vote in what has become one of the most critical elections in U.S. history.. The Board of Elections is required and empowered to start sending Absentee Ballot requests to voters in August but voters may also take the pro-active step of requesting one by contacting their local Boards of Election.
Public health officials and local Montgomery County leaders were hoping for support from the state when they made their recent decision about how to handle private school re-openings (in particular the August and September schedules) in their County. Instead the Governor stepped in and undermined the County’s decision and the role of the Public Health Officer by asserting that MOCO’s private schools can do what they want, provided they follow the loose and rather vague CDC guidelines to create their in-person learning schedules. While the County and the School Board may not be empowered to set some of the practices of non-public schools, all the County’s elected officials have responsibility for helping to keep community members safe during the pandemic. Residents are no doubt concerned about tens of thousands of kids and adults pouring back into dozens of facilities across the county in just a couple of weeks. In the view of local experts who track numbers and trends, the data warrants waiting until at least October 1. Unfortunately, in the view of right wing commentators like Laura Ingraham who criticized Montgomery County’s decision, our state and Counties should follow President Trump’s edict on this matter and send kids, teachers, and staff back to school. It appears Governor Hogan was inspired by Trump and his friends at FOX news to issue an Executive Order to strip the County’s authority despite the consistently high number of cases in Montgomery and disturbing increase in the number of kids testing positive for COVID-19 around the country. Governor Hogan may still be standing but his decisions and handling of the health and economic crisis over the past three months doesn’t stand the test of leadership,
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
The Baltimore City chapter of Progressive Maryland will hold its monthly chapter meeting on Tuesday August 11 from 6-7:30. This month we will be focusing on criminal justice, highlighting re-entry and returning citizens. More details later this week, and you can RSVP here: https://secure.everyaction.com/8IRwgOsxVUynXxojrrOyqQ2
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES STATEWIDE
Friday, August 14 | 1:00–2:00 PM
The Way Out Through State and Local Aid (Economic Policy Institute)
A panel of economists including Jason Furman, Mark Zandi and Glenn Hubbard discuss how aid to states and localities can put the economy on a footing for recovery. Register for remote event.
Sunday, Aug 16 | 2:00 PM
Our August branch meeting will be a little different - it will be a social meeting with breakout groups, fun questions, and more! Join us to get to know your comrades better! Email us at: [email protected] to receive the Zoom link and password.
Wednesday, Aug 19 | 7:00 PM
Join us to refine and finalize bylaws and move closer to formal branch status while we develop a program to tackle the many inequities in Prince George’s County and engage allies to make it happen inside county government and in the community. Follow the link for virtual access.
Sunday August 23 | 7 PM
Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blog posts are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at [email protected]
August 05, 2020 Can Hogan lead in Maryland while dancing to national GOP tune?
Gov. Larry Hogan continues to flounder as a leader in Maryland while decked out in high, hyped ratings in the rest of the country -- fueled by his relentless book tour and his ubiquity on the cable shows. Meanwhile he's responding to national GOP dog whistles on school openings (for the privileged) and scare tactics on a safe mail-in vote.
August 03, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 3, 2020
These are critical moments as Congress fumbles a foundation for working families' recovery, there's nobody in charge of quelling the pandemic, and Gov. Hogan resists the evidence that mail-in voting is the way to ensure everyone in Maryland's ability to vote in November.
We have tools for action at every level in this Monday's Memo. Build power, take charge.
Everyone who knows anything about risk management during a statewide election is urging Gov. Larry Hogan to reverse course and plan a mail-in election with limited in-person voting, as was done with the recent primary elections. They got together to say so yesterday, as this Maryland Matters account relates.
Hogan, instead, doesn't know anything (or chooses not to know) about risk management in an election and instead is following the time-honored election practices -- which instead favor Republicans, not working families -- backed by the corporate, Chamber of Commerce types whose support he needs to compete for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Hogan is currently flogging his new book, which explicitly speculates about his opportunities in 2024.
As a racial, social, economic and environmental justice organization, Progressive Maryland has always and will continue to center Black and Brown working families in our organizing work. As we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests, we are ramping up our work with the Movement for Black Lives.
"In a long-expected move, Governor Larry Hogan has submitted a long list of state budget cuts to the Board of Public Works. Cuts to state employee salaries and positions are getting a lot of attention. So is a proposed $200 million trim in state aid to public schools, although that needs the consent of the General Assembly to pass. What is less discussed is Hogan’s resumption of a time-honored practice used by higher level governments to dump their problems on lower level governments: the shift and shaft." This post from Seventh State, a blog on Maryland government, by Adam Pagnucco has withering detail about what could happen at today's (July 1) meeting of the Board of Public Works, one of the features of Maryland's strong-executive constitution that gives governors power not only to set the budget but to mess with it every time the BPW meets.
REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at [email protected]
>>Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here