Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 24, 2020

In the Memo this week: a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives in week SEVEN of the Session; news from our chapters, events from our progressive allies, and of course our recent blog posts.

Don't miss the Annex -- a separate post with all you will ever need to keep track of this week's bills and hearings.



 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday February 24 2020

 

In the Memo this week: a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives in week SEVEN of the Session; news from our chapters, events from our progressive allies, and of course our recent blog posts.

Don't miss the Annex -- a separate post with all you will ever need to keep track of this week's bills and hearings.

 

Progressive Maryland is working to improve the flawed election process in Maryland and in its jurisdictions, where big money seems to talk all too loudly, drowning out the voices of working families and those of less means.

Two important bills in pursuit of Fair Elections had hearings last week – one, SB 613/HB1125, strengthening the existing public-financing provisions for the race for Governor and adding the state Attorney General and Controller to the program, and the second, HB1351/SB0947, sets up a Fair Elections public financing electoral process for members of the Assembly, in which small-donor contributions are matched with public funds. Progressive Maryland and Maryland Working Families testified in favor of both bills last week. The Fair Election method is catching on in major counties and jurisdictions throughout the state either in place or pending an effective date after having been adopted in Baltimore City and Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s counties.

But lots more is happening in Annapolis this week and down the road – so much so that we have put the full info in a separate post, linked here. There the progressive activist will find something to do every day in the state capital – bills on preserving and expanding our access to health care coverage; on ending the criminalization of poverty by a skewed system of criminal justice, and on transformational, not just tweaked, education reform as embodied by the Kirwan school improvement plan. This material has been gathered by our allies at the Job Opportunities Task Force and the Maryland Legislative Coalition. It is a lot of work and they have earned your support.

Here are many of the Lobby Days/Nights coming up. See an issue you are especially impacted by? You can join activists to lobby for a better Maryland. Follow links for details and contact information.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9:00 am - Strong Schools Maryland
Monday, February 24th - 4:00 pm - Sierra Club Lobby Night
Tuesday, February 25th - 9:00 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Wednesday, February 26th - 8:30 am – Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform Lobby Day
Thursday, February 27th - 9:30 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Wednesday, March 4th - 8:00 am - League of Women Voters Lobby Day 

All these proposed bills have to jostle for room inside some form of state budget. Kevin Kinnally of Conduit Street, the newsletter of the Maryland Association of Counties, has a roundup on the Budget Briefing presented to legislators early in the session by the Department of Legislative Services. It is more than you ever wanted to know, but features outstanding explanatory graphics. https://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/2020/01/20/fiscal-briefing-highlights-budget-big-picture/

 


Progressive Maryland’s BlogSpace and Weekly Memos will follow the Assembly session – but when that ends in April, we’ll keep going with our advocacy for progressive efforts in Maryland and, sometimes, how they are echoed in the wider region and nation.

And speaking of helpful emails – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email.


OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE

Progressive Prince George’s 

Prince George’s Chapter Update February 24, 2020

Progressive Maryland joined AROS (the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools) and the Prince Georges County Education Association for a meeting and training session in support of Community Schools on February 22nd at the PGCEA offices.  Saturday’s session featured presentations and discussions on our combined  ongoing efforts to create more parent engagement and ownership for community schools which are beginning to take hold in the County. Community Schools are designed to provide more resources and services to students, parents and the neighborhoods they serve.  

Following the session, a number of participants and leaders did some canvassing in local districts to

update  voters on the status of the Blueprint for Marylalnd Schools in the General Assembly. The Blueprint, also known as the Kirwan Commission recommendations, is critical to achieving educational and racial equity and to  increasing and strengthening the number of community schools in PG and around the state. Folks met many enthusiastic voters while door knocking and distributed yard signs from Bowie to Temple Hills. 


If you would like a Blueprint yard sign or want to learn more about upcoming events in support of the Blueprint , Community schools, and PGCPS related issues contact Patty Snee  at patty@progressivemaryland.org. Stay tuned for continuing updates on our local organizing.

PMD Montgomery 

Education issues, state and local, continue to be a key focus of our Montgomery County organizing.

FEBRUARY and MARCH EVENTS:

On the local level we’re supporting the Education Association’s call to the School District and the County Council and Executive to fully fund our public schools. MCEA is in the midst of contract negotiations with MCPS.  At two recent bargaining sessions, the Education Association’s President, Chris Lloyd, stressed the need to increase funding by $100 million over maintenance of effort to meet critical staffing and program needs in our schools.

We know that MCPS needs more money in its operating budget to provide enough teachers, staff, and the services that schools and students deserve. Progressive Maryland is supporting MCEA in its negotiations with MCPS and its spending proposal. We’ve turned out community members to a number of hearings since last December and plan to continue our solidarity campaign with MCEA.

   Actions Needed: Local

Please contact County Executive Marc Elrich and our County Council Members to urge them to vote for full funding.  Marc.Elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov

   https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/members/index.html

We’ll share dates and activities regarding public budget hearings at the Council as they get scheduled in the upcoming weeks.

Districtwide Boundary Analysis: Support a process that will help positively shape MCPS now and in the future.  Progressive Maryland supports this Analysis and is getting signatures to a letter that One Montgomery has written to the School Superintendent and School Board Chair. 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HCGNjDMnfLJsKWGZHDHQ4bLkeC8vrgO6K4NEomZungc/viewform?edit_requested=true

Please sign and share with at least three other folks! We need to show there’s public support for gathering up-to-date data and facts about the operations and workings of our growing district.

State

We support full funding of the Kirwan Commission game-changing recommendations for the Maryland public school system.  A multi-committee extended hearing was held on President’s Day in Annapolis. Hundreds of students, teachers, advocates, and community leaders turned out to rally and testify in support of this game-changing measure. Many elected officials from the MOCO delegation (and numerous of their colleagues from around the state) see the short and long term value of this Blueprint for our school system, our economy and our state. They have promised strong support and are committed to finding the revenue we need for Kirwan.

The measure is however facing some serious opposition so we need to keep organizing.

Please email, write, or call your Delegates and State Senators asking them to fully fund all of the Kirwan recommendations. Here are some suggested points you can use, courtesy of our allies at Strong Schools Maryland:

  • Our students and schools are the winners when these recommendations get funded. Maryland schools have been underfunded for too long, our kids can’t wait.
  • Support the full range of proposed systems changes. Taken together, they will make a difference for all Maryland students--the changes needed in education practice and funding require a comprehensive approach, not a selective one.
  • We need full funding. Taking action this year will help us avoid much bigger costs in state and local dollars for social services in the future.
  • The new funding formula ensures that all districts receive enough funding AND it will help fix many inequity issues in the current school funding formula.

 Thank you for taking action on these issues at this very critical time. Contact Patty Snee at patty@progressivemaryland.org  or Josh Raznick at josh@progresssivemaryland.org if you want to learn more and get involved in the MOCO Chapter’s work on education and other issues.

Frederick County Progressives

Take Action Anne Arundel County

Talbot Rising

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus 

Join us! Our next Lower Shore Progressive Caucus meeting is at the Wicomico Public Library in Downtown Salisbury on March 5! Click here for info. And check out the chapter’s legislative committee report posted the past week.

PMD Baltimore


 

EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES

 Monday February 24  2020 Mayoral Forum on Environment & Equity at 6pm at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church (2821 Reisterstown Rd). Hosted by Baltimore Blue Green Just, Charm City mayoral candidates and their visions regarding environmental and social justice issues in Baltimore. Moderators: local radio host Tom Hall and UMD associate dean Dr. Sheri Parks. Doors open at 5:30pm  register online

Tuesday February 25 7:30-10 pm PG for Bernie debate watch party in College Park; info and RSVP

Wednesday FEB 26 – 8:30 am – Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform Lobby Day in Annapolis. Follow link for details. 

Sunday March 1 MoCo DSA General Branch Meeting 2- 4 PM Main Mtg Room, 3rd Floor, Silver Spring Library, 900 Wayne Ave, Silver Spring MD

Sunday, March 8 — Prince George’s County Our Revolution 2-4 PM, monthly meeting to discuss current actions and events. New Deal Cafe, 113 Centerway, Roosevelt Center, Greenbelt

And see our list of progressive organizations’ Lobby Days in Annapolis, above


Baltimore progressives, Check in on the wide-ranging Baltimore Activist Alert calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/


Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blogs 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 woodlanham@gmail.com

We recently published these blog posts:

February 21, 2020 Don't let our democracy be hijacked by a big-money grip on elections

Progressive Maryland believes that we deserve a democracy where everyone has an equal voice and our government works for everyone, not just for the wealthy and special interests. This means having fair elections that can’t be bought by the rich and powerful. That starts with a public financing system for elections across Maryland.

February 18, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In the Memo this week: Fair Elections bills face a hearing this week; a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives in week six of the Session; news from our chapters, events from our progressive allies, and of course our recent blog posts. Don't miss the Annex -- a separate post with all you will ever need to keep track of this week's bills and hearings.

February 18, 2020 UPCOMING IN ANNAPOLIS -- an annex to the Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Here's a complete roundup of progressive efforts in the legislative session in Annapolis in this and upcoming weeks. Many upcoming lobby days are included.

February 15, 2020 Highway P3 process lacks transparency, has Down-Under smell

Will Gov. Hogan, like Trump, make Maryland taxpayers hostages to a foreign [global capitalist] power? A dominant Aussie megacorp appears to be pulling his strings on the Beltway giveaway, this meticulous reporting from the Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition’s longtime gadfly Ben Ross shows.

February 11, 2020 Progressive Maryland and Working Families PartyJoin Forces to Elect a Slate of 11 Baltimore City Council Candidates

Major news from two of the state's premier progressive organizations -- starting with the Baltimore races, Progressive Maryland and the Working Families Party will work in solidarity to elect progressive candidates around the state.


>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 woodlanham@gmail.com.

>>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