Veto overrides were the big news out of Annapolis last week -- Last week’s Special Legislative Session had both some exciting and disheartening outcomes. While some crucial bills had successful veto overrides, other important legislation was tabled indefinitely - essentially meaning it was taken off the table entirely. Read below to learn more about the veto overrides we are celebrating and why there is much more work to be done in the 2022 Session in hopes to make up for some truly disappointing losses this year.
Speaking of 2022, election campaigns are well underway and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with progressive candidates! This and much more in the memo.
PM Weekly Memo for Dec 13, 2021: Veto Override Success! But There’s More Work to Do.
Become a Member of Progressive Maryland
Our members power our work!
We’re grateful for our grassroots members all across the state. Those of you who joined Progressive Maryland years back have helped us build this organization into what it is today — and we’re so excited by the energy and enthusiasm of new members who joined throughout 2021!
If you have yet to join, there’s still time to become a member and take part in our annual statewide Membership Assembly, which will be held virtually on Saturday, January 8, 2022 from 11:00am–2:00pm EST. Member support helps us organize at the grassroots level to protect people and advance economic, social and political justice. We hope you’ll join us in the fight for a better future!
- Become a paid campaign canvasser for a critical Special Election race! Apply here or contact Patty for more details.
- Join us for Throwdown Thursday to phone bank for progressive candidates.
We need YOUR help to elect progressives to office in 2022!
There are plenty of ways to get involved with our election team starting now! A special election to fill a vacancy on the Prince George’s County Council will take place on January 4th. Now’s the time to get involved in our voter outreach program to elect a progressive champion to that Council seat. Join us in Prince George’s County this Saturday, December 18, from 10am–2pm to knock doors for progressive candidate Edward Burroughs and talk to voters in the district! RSVP here for location.
Can’t join us on Dec. 18 but still want to get involved with our electoral work? Fill out this volunteer form and one of our organizers will be in touch!
Need some extra money for the holidays? Campaigns are also hiring for multiple short-term, paid canvassing positions with full-time and part-time hours. Earn money while making a difference for progressive PG County Council candidate Edward Burroughs! Learn more and apply here.
Join us virtually this Thursday, December 16, at 6:00pm to call and text Maryland voters! We’ve activated folks on key issues for the past few months, and now we’re reaching out to people to talk about the 2022 elections, including a special election happening January 4. We need your help to get progressives elected. Click this link to let us know you’ll join — it’s fun, and it’s a great opportunity to meet others ready for change in 2022!
Drug Policy Campaign
Last Monday morning, at the start of the Special Legislative Session, Senate President Bill Ferguson indefinitely postponed any discussion or action regarding the Paraphernalia Decriminalization Bill (SB420). This means that the bill that passed in the House and Senate but was then vetoed by Governor Hogan in the 2021 Session will not be able to become law. We are grieving this horrifying decision and its impacts on the lives of our loved ones who use drugs. As we take some time to prepare to advocate for a re-introduction of this important bill in the upcoming 2022 Session, we encourage you all to take care of yourself and those around you this holiday season. Thank you to those working to end violent drug arrests and police harassment in the interest of saving lives. If you’d like to get involved in our Drug Policy Task Force, please contact [email protected]
Healthcare Justice Campaign
Prescription Drug Pricing, Paid Family and Medical Leave in the Build Back Better Act
The Senate currently has the opportunity to make an enormous difference in all of our lives by passing the Build Back Better Act! What better way to end the year than lowering the skyrocketing costs of Rx Drugs and reining in Big PhRMA. Build Back Better will also expand child care programs, reduce poverty, and establish a long-overdue framework for paid family and medical leave. The House passed the bill in November, with every Democrat except one voting in favor — now it’s the Senate’s turn. Please take a minute now to urge Senators Van Hollen and Cardin to declare their support. Call Sen. Van Hollen at (202) 224-4654 and Sen. Cardin at (202) 224-4524.
The arrival of the Omicron variant in Maryland and across the country is cause for concern, especially as the Delta variant continues to circulate and cause infection. Now is not the time to ease up on public health measures or end the support and financial relief for our communities. We’re gearing up for the next round of advocacy on these issues when the Maryland General Assembly gets underway in 2022. In the meantime, please mask indoors and get vaccinated and boosted. If you know folks in some of our rural counties and urban areas that have lower vaccination rates, please encourage them to get the shot. For updates on COVID testing, vaccines, and community transmission rates: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/
Local Chapter Updates:
Progressive Harford County:
Despite our efforts to oppose the measure, the Harford County Council passed a redistricting map gerrymandering the county’s councilmanic districts last week. This blatant attempt to suppress the will of Harford County voters drives home the need to recruit candidates who share our democratic values to run at the local and state levels. Interested in running for office? Complete our recruitment form and we’ll contact you about next steps for supporting your campaign.
Live in Harford County? We’re continuing to build community in HarCo by hosting happy hours before heading to County Council hearings on Tuesday evenings. RSVP here to join us tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 14, for our last happy hour of the year — we’ll email you the time and location. Our candidate town halls will return in 2022. Sign up today to attend our town halls with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler on Jan. 12 and Democratic Central Committee candidate Stephen Puopolo on Jan. 20!
Young People for Progress has organized a petition addressed to Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council requesting that they remove armed police officers from MoCo schools. Students need access to trained mental health professionals and other forms of social support, not policing in schools. Sign the petition here.
Progressive Prince George's:
Join us TODAY to make calls and canvass in support of Edward Burroughs, the progressive champion running for Prince George’s County Council. We recently endorsed Edward, who is running for a council seat in a special election taking place on January 4th. We need your help to change PG County politics — sign up to phone bank or knock doors for Edward Burroughs with us!
Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
Join the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus TONIGHT, Monday, December 13 at 6:00pm at the Salisbury City Council meeting – Sadly, some folks are choosing to spend their holiday season actively speaking out against the City of Salisbury's plan to reduce and ultimately end homelessness. That is why we are asking our members to join us at the Salisbury City Council Meeting tonight either in-person or virtually to speak in favor of the Tiny Home program.
The passage of this program is essential because it will help people in need of assistance in our community get back on their feet. In addition, this long-term investment shows the City of Salisbury's commitment to ending homelessness. The Tiny Home Village program helps by providing those currently struggling in our community with the things they need, such as a hot shower, washer/dryer, and other things like access to social services and job training. Government Office Building, Room 301, Salisbury, Maryland and Zoom Video Conferencing.
State and National News:
Successful veto overrides in special session:
- HB 114 Transit Safety and Investment Act
- HB 16 Dignity Not Detention Act — prohibits Maryland jurisdictions from entering contracts with ICE
- HB 23 Driver Privacy Act — allows undocumented residents to get a driver’s license without fear of harassment fro ICE
- SB 202 parole reform bill — removes the governor from having the final say in parole decisions (keep politics out of parole decisions)
- Bargaining rights for community college employees;
- More here — https://www.marylandmatters.org/2021/12/07/maryland-will-remove-governor-from-parole-process-limit-immigration-detention-after-veto-override-votes/
A flurry of veto override activity in Annapolis during last week’s special session of the Maryland General Assembly contrasts with ongoing gridlock in DC — we round up what has been going on in these seats of power and how progressives can work to forward good things in both.
Power plays abounded in the Maryland General Assembly special session last week. A number of Assembly priorities had been put on hold by vetoes from Gov. Hogan after the end of the 2021 regular session, and last week lawmakers in both chambers moved quickly to override the vetoes and sign those bills into law. With one important exception — the Senate President said the Assembly would indefinitely postpone a veto override vote on Senate Bill 420, a paraphernalia decriminalization bill championed by harm reduction groups throughout the state.
Meanwhile in DC, not a single Republican Senator has expressed support for Build Back Better despite the strong public support for its key provisions. The major Democratic holdout on the bill remains our West Virginia neighbor, Sen. Joe Manchin. Expect everyone from Pres. Biden on down to spend this week trying to get him on board — we hope that folks in WVA will continue to let Manchin know about the virtues of a just, sustainable transition from coal and fracking as well as the importance of paid family leave and the many other investments BBB would establish.
Events From Our Allies:
Tuesday, December 14 | 5:30–6:30pm (virtual) — Clean Water Action is hosting a webinar about renewable energy and the consequences of trash incineration in Maryland. Register here to attend.
Monday, December 20 | 7:00pm (hybrid – virtual or in Greenbelt) — Join Reel & Meal for a free, hybrid viewing and discussion of The Big Scary S Word, a film exploring the rich history of the American socialist movement and featuring interviews with Naomi Klein, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Cornel West. The movie will be screened in-person at The New Deal Café (113 Centerway, Greenbelt, MD 20770) – proof of vaccination required for in-person attendees. To attend the screening virtually, register here.
Don’t Widen 270 advocates are sharing a recent Sierra Club report about the project which should aid grassroots Toll-Lane opposition. Some new facts and updates about the timeline are revealed in this document.
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].