Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 30, 2021

As the virus resurgence and eviction crisis collide, we see more than ever how neglect of health security and housing security issues intersect (landlord rights win again; we have got to reverse that trend). We are at a crossroads for healthcare AND housing security in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! And they are looking at how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down the eviction moratorium.Let’s be sure that our lawmakers take the path that leads us to funding critical Medicare  expansion and which leads to protections for people who are behind on rent. Federal funds allocated for rent relief are also going unused. In many cases it’s too hard and complicated to apply for relief-we need to make sure the funds reach those in need.  Housing and healthcare should be a  universal right.  People need shelter. The less shelter, the less distancing and… you know what happens. Let’s do something.

 

Thank you for being part of this moment and this movement. Because of the Labor Day holiday Sept. 6 you'll see the Memo next on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team



 

As the virus resurgence and eviction crisis collide, we see more than ever how neglect of health security and housing security issues intersect (landlord rights win again; we have got to reverse that trend). We are at a crossroads for healthcare AND housing security in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! And they are looking at how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down the eviction moratorium.Let’s be sure that our lawmakers take the path that leads us to funding critical Medicare  expansion and which leads to protections for people who are behind on rent. Federal funds allocated for rent relief are also going unused. In many cases it’s too hard and complicated to apply for relief-we need to make sure the funds reach those in need.  Housing and healthcare should be a  universal right.  People need shelter. The less shelter, the less distancing and… you know what happens. Let’s do something.

 

Thank you for being part of this moment and this movement.

 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

 

Quick Actions:

 

  • Call Governor Hogan 410-974-3901: waive the waiting period for masks in schools. Protect renters.
  • Join our 2022 Elections Team by signing up for Throwdown Thursdays!

 

Statewide Updates:

Throwdown Thursdays!

 

We are launching Throwdown Thursdays, which is when we will be either textbanking or phonebanking EVERY SINGLE WEEK on Thursdays at 6pm! We are starting with throwing down for our issue campaigns but will eventually be supporting the awesome progressive candidates we endorse for the New Era PAC so make sure you join the team now! This Thursday, we will textbanking for Environmental Justice.




Rental Assistance for All

 

Get more information here about Maryland’s rent relief programs: Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Some other resources to help: At the county level, find help for eviction and housing issues at the info links here: Anne Arundel County: Housing assistance here. Eviction help click here.  Calvert County: For information on housing assistance and to apply for rental assistance click here. Charles County: For information on housing assistance and to apply for rental assistance, click here. Montgomery County info is here. Prince George’s County: Housing assistance info here and to apply for rental assistance, click here. St. Mary’s County: Housing information, click here and to apply for rental assistance, click here.

 

Healthcare Justice Campaign 

Medicare Expansion:

Support the campaign to win a game-changing expansion of Medicare! We’re working to get provisions in the budget reconciliation package that will add coverage for dental, vision and hearing health to Medicare as well as lower out-of-pocket costs and the eligibility age, and grant Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Please take a minute now and:

 

--RSVP for our phone bank. We’re calling Marylanders to ask them to contact our Senators. Thursday Sept 9 at 6:00 LINK

 

--Email our Senators: Tell Congress to expand Medicare

 

--RSVP for the People’s Action national phone bank tomorrow evening, August 31, from 6:30-8:45  p.m. Training and tech support provided at all our phone banks. For more information, contact Malcolm at [email protected]

 

Fighting COVID-19:

The Maryland State Board of Education has wisely voted in favor of universal masking in schools. However, there could be a ten day delay in implementation because of a waiting period for final approval. The Governor can waive the waiting period so that each county in the state institutes masking (eight counties have no masking requirements.) The Governor can also take action to protect thousands of Maryland families who are left unprotected by last Thursday’s SCOTUS decision. Call Governor Hogan to tell him: no delays! 410-974-3901. Waive the waiting period and stand up  protections for renters facing eviction measures. This is a very critical time to strengthen the state’s response to COVID. 

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Baltimore County 

Contact Zach for updates and how to get involved in local campaigns. 

 

Progressive Harford County

Thank you to everyone that joined our research committee meeting last week. We had a great discussion and formed a plan to start researching the records of our elected officials so we can hold them accountable. Email [email protected] if you want to join the research committee. Join us for during our committee meetings over the next few weeks. The outreach committee meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The outreach committee recruits other organizations and groups to partner with and welcomes new volunteers to the chapter. The field committee meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The field committee leads interacting with constituents through phone calls, texts, doorknocking and other methods of voter contact. Both meetings will establish what the committees want to accomplish first and develop a plan for action.
Progressive Harford County is now on social media. Follow us @prog_harco on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Progressive Frederick:

Join the NAACP and Frederick Progressives for a Town Hall with Rep. Jamie Raskin this Thursday, Sept. 2nd! RSVP here.

State and National News:  

 

As many as a quarter-million Maryland households are in danger of eviction unless Gov. Larry Hogan steps in to maintain a moratorium on evictions that the high court overturned last week, and both officials and local activists are calling for countermeasures. Maryland is one among many states that have distributed less than 10 percent of the federal rental assistance money provided in earlier Federal coronavirus relief packages (Delaware and West Virginia are in the same category; Virginia has distributed nearly all the money provided and DC’s program has reached high percentages of eligible families.)

Last Wednesday, the Treasury Department, which oversees the rental assistance funding, laid out several policies as a way to push states to distribute funding faster after acknowledging that the program was not ramping up as quickly as expected. The new rules include covering renters' payments at past addresses, allowing renters that are at risk of eviction or homelessness to receive support, and advance payments to support individuals who apply for housing after having experienced homelessness at some point in the past year. 

Then the Supreme Court stepped in. The conservative majority, setting property rights above human rights, agreed with a coalition of greedy landlords that the eviction moratorium was unconstitutional. “With this new decision, those tenants who lost income due to the pandemic who would have at least until Oct. 3 before facing an eviction will face a sooner eviction date,” said Douglas Nivens II, an attorney for Maryland Legal Aid, of the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday.

 

Advocates warned that Black and Latino renters will face disproportionate harm as evictions resume. The Intercept reports that “A Centers for Disease Control study found that when 27 states lifted their eviction moratoria this past summer, it resulted in 433,700 excess Covid-19 cases and 10,700 excess deaths nationally. The court’s majority nonetheless sided with the economic concerns of landlords.”

 

Maryland Matters reported Aug. 27 “...state-level protections from Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) phased out earlier this month. Those protections also provided tenants with an affirmative defense. Local leaders have urged Hogan to reinstate those protections in recent weeks, to no avail.” Congressman Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) said he would vote [when Congress returns from break] to extend the federal eviction protections, and also urged Hogan to extend state protections. Brown and Sen. Chris Van Hollen both decried the slow distribution of $753 million in federal rent relief funds through the state bureaucracy.

A coalition of local organizations will be calling on the MoCo County Council to take immediate action to protect renters. Demands include an end to means testing and excessive credit checks of renters applying for assistance, more funding for community organizations directly engaged with at risk renters, and a plan to push Maryland to extend its statewide eviction moratorium. A public event is being planned.

 

Unemployment Insurance -- the failures, the promise

 

Gov. Hogan tried to cancel the $300 extra unemployment insurance federal payment early. A court stopped him but in other states GOP governors were successful in the early cancellation, claiming it would get people back to work sooner.

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What were the results? Here’s new evidence from the Economic Policy Institute (Aug. 27)

  • Between April and July, states that cut UI benefits averaged overall job growth of 0.9%, while states that maintained federal UI benefits saw average job growth of 1.6%.  
  • States that cut UI saw their unemployment rates decline, on average, by 0.2 percentage points, from 4.7% to 4.5%. During the same period, states that retained federal UI experienced a larger decline of 0.4 percentage points from 6.1% to 5.7%
  • Leisure and hospitality employment, one of our hardest hit industries, grew faster in states that preserved full UI benefits than in those that cut assistance. 

While the differences among the two state groups do not necessarily indicate that these two groups are on significantly different recovery tracks, one thing has become clear: cutting UI benefits did NOT boost job growth. 

The Hogan administration, which has notoriously botched the handling of UI payments all along during the pandemic, is under pressure from Congress to acknowledge its failures.

 

For The People Act:  The For the People Act (S1) must be passed and signed into law before the end of summer in order to be in effect for the 2022 midterm elections. Without it, extremist state lawmakers will continue drawing hyper-partisan maps that disenfranchise voters, especially voters of color, and weaken our democratic election system for the next decade. That’s why so many leading progressive, labor, civil rights and democracy groups (including PM’s national affiliate People’s Action) are pushing for action now in Congress. We can limit the power of big money in politics and build a democracy that is fair, inclusive and off limits to right wing attacks. 

 

And here is what the bipartisan infrastructure bill is expected to do for Maryland (pdf) … start with repairing 273 bridges in poor condition and add broadband, clean water in the pipes, EV chargers and resilient communities… and more.

 

Economic Justice For Marylanders --Checks for the Child Tax Credit are still arriving in bank accounts of those households that have filed tax returns -- but up to ten percent of eligible households won’t get it routinely because they don’t file/don’t have to file. So they may not know about this important form of support.  Get the word out! Use this Non-filer Sign-up Tool Help Guide (PDF - English and Spanish). This guide tells people what to gather ahead of time and walks people step-by-step through filling out the Tool. Spread the word!

Events from Our Allies

 

The Crisis in Afghanistan:  MoveOn’s petition to Support Refugees






The Crisis in Afghanistan:  MoveOn’s petition to Support Refugees

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, August 23, 2021

We are at a crossroads for healthcare in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! Let’s be sure that our lawmakers focus on: lower costs for prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate on Rx prices; coverage for vision, dental, and hearing; a younger eligibility age to enroll in Medicare; and lower copays. We can do this with your support.

August 19, 2021  Time to trim lobbyists' privileged access to Assembly members

Officials from around the state are gathering in Ocean City this week at the Maryland Association of Counties annual meeting. The officials will be surrounded by deep-pocketed types aiming to influence the way they make law and policy. We have come to call them lobbyists.

Jimmy Tarlau, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, checks off the ways high-paid lobbyists distort the public policy process with financial contributions and provides a checklist of how the Legislature should check the lobbyists power.

As soon as they stop eating the lobbyists' crab cakes.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 16, 2021

Maryland’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired Sunday without an extension of the state of emergency by Gov. Larry Hogan, despite a letter Friday, just before the expiration,  from House Speaker Adrienne Jones and her top lieutenants urging Hogan to extend it

“This is a preventable public health crisis,” WMAR quotes Public Justice Center attorney Matt Hill, who said up to 4,500 Maryland families were at risk of eviction without Hogan’s extension. Support your neighbors in trouble and let your local officials know how you feel about Hogan’s do-nothing pandemic response.

August 10, 2021 The political "duopoly" keeps Maryland divided, conquered by mediocrity

“ 'Bipartisan' sounds like it includes all viewpoints, but it’s just another word for control by the duopoly," concludes veteran journalist and observer of folly Len Lazarick in this column on how Maryland's state politics stay in the grip of centrism. The parties pick their voters, not the other way round.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 9, 2021



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