memo_logo.pngAs February comes to a close, so does Black History Month, a time dedicated to recognizing the contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. This month serves as a reminder of the many Black leaders and organizers who have fought tirelessly for justice and equality in the face of extreme adversity. Black leaders have played a crucial role in shaping the world we live in today. It is important to continue to honor and celebrate their legacies beyond just one month, and to recognize the ongoing struggle for racial, social, and economic justice that still exists. As we move forward, we must amplify the voices of Black leaders and organizers and work to dismantle the systems of oppression that continue to harm Black communities.



 

 

As February comes to a close, so does Black History Month, a time dedicated to recognizing the contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. This month serves as a reminder of the many Black leaders and organizers who have fought tirelessly for justice and equality in the face of extreme adversity. Black leaders have played a crucial role in shaping the world we live in today. It is important to continue to honor and celebrate their legacies beyond just one month, and to recognize the ongoing struggle for racial, social, and economic justice that still exists. As we move forward, we must amplify the voices of Black leaders and organizers and work to dismantle the systems of oppression that continue to harm Black communities.

 

In solidarity, 

The Progressive Maryland Team

Here’s what’s in today’s memo:

  • Celebrating Black History Month

  • Legislative updates: upcoming hearings and testimony due dates
  • PM Events
  • PM task forces & issue campaigns: healthcare & environmental justice 
  • Local chapter updates: Harford County & Prince George’s County
  • State & National news

Celebrating Black History Month:

Theresa Harris was a trailblazing Black actress, singer, and dancer who was outspoken about the discrimination she experienced in Hollywood and how there were no parts for her. Although she starred in over 95 films across major studios, she was only credited in 23 of them. She lobbied for equality in film and championed Black visibility in Hollywood throughout her entire career.

We’d also like to highlight one of our staff members, Janay Fenner. She is our Communications Coordinator and is from Baltimore Maryland. Black History Month is important to Janay because “our country has excluded the tremendous contributions of African Americans to this country. Even today, more than a dozen states have passed laws restricting the teaching of racial history in schools. This national month of observance brings more attention to black history even though there are still places in our backyard trying to fight it. Our history is powerful and this country-and many others-were built, transformed, and advanced by the hands of millions of black people who should never be forgotten”. 

We will continue to recognize and appreciate the ongoing work of Black leaders and organizers. Please check out our socials to see more special features.

Legislative Updates:

Click here to visit the MGA website and keep track of all active Maryland bills, their action status, top sponsors, and top committees. 

 

We encourage you to have a voice in the process by submitting written testimony and signing up to give in-person or virtual testimony. In the Senate, testimony is due between 8am-3pm the business day before a hearing is scheduled (if scheduled on a Monday, testimony is due on the Friday prior). In the House, testimony is due within the same parameters but TWO business days before the date of the hearing.

 

This week, we are collecting testimony for three very important bills ahead of bill hearing dates: 

  1. Fair Wage Act of 2023 (SB555), which will increase the state minimum wage incrementally over time. This is crucial to accelerate the $15 minimum wage, which Progressive Maryland has been advocating for. Favorable testimony is due Wednesday 3/1 by 3pm and can be sent to Larry. The hearing for this bill is part of a big day of hearings in the Senate finance committee on March 2nd - not only will they be hearing this bill but also the bill we are supporting to eliminate the tipped minimum wage (SB803), as well as provisions to the Time to Care Act enhancing paid family and medical leave that we helped to pass last year. Stay tuned as we head to Annapolis on the 2nd to cover the happenings of the hearings.
  2. Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2023 (HB718) on Economic Matters Committee, cross-filed with SB590, has an upcoming hearing date on March 9; the Witness Testimony on the Maryland General Assembly website will open up March 7th and the deadline to register to submit testimony is March 8th by 3pm. Testimony can also be sent to Sirjames.

PM Events:

Join us in person or online on March 13th! We’ll be in Annapolis to urge lawmakers to grant access to the healthcare exchange to Maryland’s immigrant residents, set upper payment limits on prescription drug costs, get hospitals to refund the millions of dollars they owe to those wrongfully billed and address the racial and gender disparities in the system. RSVP today!

Updates: PM Task Forces & Issue Campaigns 

Environmental Justice Task Force

SirJames, Environmental Justice Organizer, will be at the Maryland General Assembly tomorrow, February 28 to testify on the Education, Energy, and Environment subcommittee hearing in support of SB590—this bill would remove trash incineration, and factory farm waste from the states renewable energy bracket, this would free up energy credits to be used to support real green energy such as solar and wind power. You can take action by emailing our legislators to urge them to support this bill with this quick and easy tool we created!

Healthcare For All:

The Access to Care Act which gives access to undocumented residents to the Maryland Health Exchange is getting strong support from a broad range of advocates including Progressive Maryland. It appears we’ll have the votes we need for the core bill. The focus now is to make sure an amendment that gives equitable subsidies is included in the final version. New enrollees deserve the same level of subsidies as other Marylanders! Stay tuned for updates on actions we may need you to take.

Prescription Drug Affordability Board: Legislation to extend the life of the Board (into 2026), ensure its funding, and its work on Upper Payment Limits to rein in costs has advanced in both Chambers. (On a related note, five other state Legislatures are considering creating similar Boards in response to widespread price gouging by drug companies.)

The Hospital Patient Refund Act (Medical Debt): We need to be sure this critical measure advances to the Governor’s desk! A bill from Del. Ruth will create a Commission to study the implementation of universal healthcare, given the persistent problems that insured and uninsured Americans are facing getting the healthcare they need.

 

Join us to support these bills and a healthcare agenda for everyday Marylanders ate the Healthcare Justice Rally Monday evening, March 13, in Annapolis! (virtual option, too.) RSVP today! Want to get involved? Please contact Patty.

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Harford County 

Join Progressive Harford for its March monthly meeting. The meeting will be on March 20 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. We'll review the chapter's platform, and the latest events and initiatives to get involved. Register here.

 

Check out Progressive Harford's platform. It centers around racial, social, economic and environmental justice. One part of the chapter's platform focuses on creating a welcoming and inclusive Harford. Far too many Harford County residents have negative experiences of being isolated or others going out of their way to make them feel unwelcomed in their own neighborhood. Progressive Harford wants more community centers, especially in communities of color, so residents can get to know their neighbors and have more local activities through community programming. Check out the rest of the chapter's platform on its website

Progressive Prince George's

AROS: We are starting to reorganize our Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools [AROS] and education work at the chapter level in Prince George’s. Interested in learning more or getting involved? Do you have an organization that is interested in signing on to the statewide or local Prince George’s AROS coalitions? Please contact Dev, the Prince George’s County organizer, and reference AROS or education in the subject line and she will reach out to you directly.

State and National News:

Around 2,300 bills have been filed for this legislative session, including some that are actually good. But leaders are already moaning about the lack of time to give them all the attention they deserve. Our Maryland General Assembly leaders have a history of reluctance to extend the three-month session or schedule special sessions, even when needs are obvious. Longtime observers see this as a dodge to allow leadership to cherry-pick their preferred bills for fast-tracking while they cry bitter crocodile tears about the ones that don’t make it. Letting the 90-day session limit dictate what gets to passage is a mug’s game, and leadership works it to the hilt. Marylanders should push their legislators to stay in session as long as it takes to get ALL good bills across the finish line.

 

Read about bills and scuffles as the new administration and the Assembly experience a leetle friction and start to lose their permanent smiles.


It’s News You Can Use for this fast-moving time. Don’t miss it.

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.

>>Read more on the homepage of progressivemaryland.org

 

 

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Progressive Maryland
P.O. Box 6988
Largo, MD 20792

woody woodruff

About

M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...