Here's the Weekly Memo with what activists and working families need to navigate this dizzying week in Annapolis and DC.
New legislative districts for Maryland and overrides (maybe) of a lot of good bills vetoed by Larry Hogan after this spring’s session are on the table for this brief, intense week. Important measures to ease the lives of working people – better mass transit, more accountability for law enforcement, criminal justice and decarceration, collective bargaining, climate justice and a better response to COVID. And about the feds– important stakes for Build Back Better, voting rights, the debt ceiling and other critical needs held hostage to each other in gridlock land. How to budge them? Find out here...
PM Weekly Memo for Dec 6, 2021: The Maryland General Assembly Special Session Is Underway
Our state legislators are back in Annapolis this week for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly devoted to congressional redistricting and, hopefully, legislative overrides of Governor Hogan’s vetoes from earlier this year.
Over the course of this week, our lawmakers have the opportunity to override Hogan’s vetoes of critical legislation including — though not limited to — immigration reform bills (the Dignity Not Detention Act and Maryland Driver Privacy Act), a bill to fund public transit across Maryland (the Transit Safety and Investment Act), a bill to remove the governor’s office from parole decisions, and a bill that would grant collective bargaining rights to community college faculty and employees. We support efforts to override the vetoes and reinstate these measures.
We also strongly support an override of Gov. Hogan’s veto of SB420, which would decriminalize drug paraphernalia and mark a major step toward ending some of the cruelest penalties created by the war on drugs — though a report published today by the Baltimore Sun suggests this essential override vote has been indefinitely postponed.
We stand with Maryland workers and immigrants, with advocates for transit, and with those organizing tirelessly for drug policy and justice system reform. We hope you’ll stand alongside us. Stay tuned for related action items as the week progresses.
The Progressive Maryland Team
Become a Member of Progressive Maryland
Our members power our work!
This has been a strong year for building our membership base — we are so grateful to everyone who joined in 2021! If you have yet to join, there’s still time to become a member and secure your invitation to our annual statewide Membership Assembly on January 8, 2022 (more details to come soon).
Progressive Maryland organizes at the grassroots level for economic, social, and political justice. We have an opportunity to ensure our policy priorities break through in the coming months in Washington, DC and Annapolis. Help us gain more ground at this critical time by becoming a member of Progressive Maryland.
The contributions we receive from our members help us organize day in and day out and to reach Marylanders all over the state. In turn, we provide members important updates, invitations to a variety of leadership and political training sessions, and opportunities to help guide our chapter building and our issue and electoral priorities.
- Call your State Delegates and State Senator and urge them to support overrides of Gov. Hogan’s vetoes. Look up your representatives with this tool.
- Join us for Throwdown Thursday this Thursday, Dec. 9 to phone bank for progressive candidates.
We need YOUR help to elect progressives to office in 2022!
Campaigns are underway, and we have many ways to get involved with our election team. A special election to fill a recently-vacated seat on the Prince George’s County Council will take place on January 4, and we’ve put together an exciting voter outreach program to elect a great candidate. With only 29 days until the election, we need your help! Join us in Prince George’s County this Saturday to knock doors for candidate Edward Burroughs and talk to voters in the district — sign up here.
Don’t live near Prince George’s County but still want to get involved with our electoral work? Fill out this form and one of our organizers will be in touch!
Join us virtually this Thursday, December 9 at 6:00pm to call and text voters across the state with our team! We’ve activated folks on key issues, and now we’re going to talk with them about the 2022 elections, including a special election taking place in January. 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
Thank you to everyone who came out to our Drug Policy Task Force legislative launch party last Wednesday! If you follow us on Facebook, you should be able to view a recording of the event here. Be sure to also visit our Linktree, where you’ll find links to join our team in advocating for urgent drug policy reforms, sign up for lobby week in January, and follow us on various social media platforms!
Healthcare Justice Campaign
Prescription Drug Pricing, Paid Family and Medical Leave in the Build Back Better Act
It’s time for the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act! This package will offer significant financial relief for seniors and families by lowering prescription drug prices, expanding child care, and providing paid family and medical leave. The House Democrats in our Congressional Delegation voted in favor of BBB in November. Please take a minute now to urge Sen. Van Hollen and Sen. Cardin to declare their support. Call Sen. Van Hollen at (202) 224-4654 and Sen. Cardin at (202) 224-4524.
End Medical Debt Maryland
Thanks to your help, End Medical Debt Maryland passed the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 earlier this year! This legislation established some important protections for Maryland patients, but we need to do more. Get involved with our campaigns to educate Marylanders on their rights as patients, pass comprehensive medical billing reform, and eliminate barriers to healthcare. Will you join us? Sign on to join our coalition.
The arrival of the Omicron variant in Maryland is a reminder to all of us to continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines around masking and vaccines. If you know folks in our rural counties and urban areas with lower vaccination rates, please encourage them to get the shot. For more information on COVID, testing, vaccines, and community transmission rates: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/
Local Chapter Updates:
Progressive Harford County:
Live in Harford County? Sign this petition from Progressive HarCo in opposition to a bill to gerrymander the county’s councilmanic districts. The Harford County Council has introduced a measure (Bill No. 21-025) that would further disenfranchise voters and consolidate the power of current councilmembers. This move is blatantly undemocratic and a clear attempt to suppress the will of Harford County constituents — it’s critical that we voice our opposition to this measure.
The Montgomery County Executive is seeking an applicant to fill a public vacancy on the MoCo Policing Advisory Commission. The position is reserved for a Montgomery County resident age 25 years or younger at the time of their appointment, and the application deadline is this Friday, December 10. Learn more and apply here.
Progressive Prince George's:
Start making calls and door knocking now for the upcoming special election in Prince George’s County. Help us elect our endorsed candidate — current Prince George’s County Board of Education member, Edward Burroughs — to the District 8 seat on the County Council. Sign up to phone bank or knock doors for Edward Burroughs with us.
State and National News:
This week, Maryland politics are even more exciting than those in Washington, D.C. That’s because the General Assembly is convening for one week only during a special session that will tend to a lot of important business. Meanwhile, the enormous stakes of the legislation currently under discussion in Congress remain stuck in near-deadlocked chambers.
New legislative districts for Maryland and overrides (hopefully) of a lot of good bills vetoed by Larry Hogan after this spring’s session are on the table for this brief, intense week. Important measures to ease the lives of working people – better mass transit, more accountability for law enforcement, criminal justice and decarceration, collective bargaining, climate justice and a response to COVID.
And about the feds — while the MD General Assembly begins deliberations on redistricting and veto overrides today, the push in DC continues, with Build Back Better, the debt ceiling, voter rights and other critical needs all in play but at risk because of the filibuster and rules that should have been dropped many years ago. We’ll have a brisk summary from People’s Action courtesy of their weekly forecast, plus some steps we can take to make our collective voices heard. Find it all in our comprehensive blog post covering news you can use. Plenty of opportunities for activism in this Weekly Memo as well!
Events From Our Allies:
Monday, December 6 – Friday, December 10 | 9:00–10:00am daily (Annapolis) — Join JUFJ, CASA, and other partners every morning this week outside the State House in Annapolis (100 State Cir, Annapolis, MD 21401) to remind legislators we’re counting on them to override the Governor’s cruel vetoes of a number of bills addressing injustice in Maryland. Register for more information.
Wednesday, December 8 | 7:30pm (virtual) — Direct Support for Immigrants is holding a short informational meeting for prospective new volunteers to begin working with them in January. Existing volunteers are also welcome! CLICK HERE to join the meeting the evening of December 8th.
Monday, December 13 | 12:00pm (Washington, DC) — Join the Poor People’s Campaign for the Moral Monday March on Washington to tell Congress: Get it Done in 2021! People are traveling to DC from across the country to demand Congress pass voting rights protections and the Build Back Better plan before the end of the year. RSVP to join.
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].
New Today: Lawmakers kick off the Maryland General Assembly special session in Annapolis, while the fight to pass Build Back Better continues in DC — the Monday roundup of news you can use (December 6, 2021)