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Much of our focus this year has been on the legislature and their movements this session. In fact, today alone, we’re looking forward to hearings on bills regardings health insurance, renter’s relief, landlord accountability and police reform, as per the MGA calendar Keep a lookout for updates on new bills we’ll be supporting and read about more updates on the legislative session in today’s memo. 

 

Just recently, Governor Wes Moore held his first State of the State address that focused on public service and tackling many items outlined in his legislative agenda. He stated his priorities of ending child poverty, providing tax breaks to veterans and implementing a bill to hire more teachers. We’re looking forward to seeing this legislation be introduced and all it will entail. 

 

And read on for plenty of opportunities to organize and advocate for a better, more progressive future, as we invite you to take part in some key upcoming events. Thank you for being part of this movement!

 

In solidarity, 

The Progressive Maryland Team



 

Much of our focus this year has been on the legislature and their movements this session. In fact, today alone, we’re looking forward to hearings on bills regardings health insurance, renter’s relief, landlord accountability and police reform, as per the MGA calendar Keep a lookout for updates on new bills we’ll be supporting and read about more updates on the legislative session in today’s memo. 

 

Just recently, Governor Wes Moore held his first State of the State address that focused on public service and tackling many items outlined in his legislative agenda. He stated his priorities of ending child poverty, providing tax breaks to veterans and implementing a bill to hire more teachers. We’re looking forward to seeing this legislation be introduced and all it will entail. 

 

And read on for plenty of opportunities to organize and advocate for a better, more progressive future, as we invite you to take part in some key upcoming events. Thank you for being part of this movement!

 

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
  • Quick Actions: support allies in Charles County fighting racism in schools
  • Event updates: How a bill becomes a law event & Events from allies 
  • PM task forces & issue campaigns: Healthcare 
  • Local chapter updates: Harford County & Prince George’s County
  • State & National news

Celebrating Black History Month:

It’s important to keep the stories of our Black leaders and organizers circulating as we reflect on the progress, and lack thereof, our country has made in acknowledging the contributions and delivering on equity in the Black community. This day in Black History Month, we’d like to take a moment to highlight one of Maryland’s heroes and lifelong resident of Snow Hill, Maryland, Fannie W. Birckhead. Ms. Birckhead was heavily involved with many national and local groups and organizing was her life’s work. She helped lead the fight of black voter suppression in Worcester County with a federal lawsuit and, in 1998, became the first Black woman mayor anywhere on the Eastern Shore. She also became the County's first Black Orphan's Court Judge, and the first Black person in the County's history to win election to office county-wide. February 9th will mark one year since her passing and we’re grateful for her life’s efforts at making Maryland a more equitable place. 

 

Furthermore, we’d like to spotlight a Progressive Maryland leader: Robin Lewis (she/her) is the Director for Climate Equity at Interfaith Power & Light, and is also supportive of our environmental justice coalition. She's from Bowie, MD, and likes to read paranormal romance novels. Black History Month is important to Robin because her passion and her life is dedicated to helping Black and brown communities overcome environmental racism. She believes that the more we are educated about the issues that impact our communities, the more we can correct the injustices that have and are still negatively affecting our health & wellbeing. 

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 keep track of all active Maryland bills, their action status, top sponsors, and top committees. 

 

We encourage you to submit written testimony to have a voice in the legislative session and help pass important bills. 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.

 

Here are some upcoming hearing dates and their corresponding testimony due dates:

  • February 7th at 1:00 pm - DUE February 6th by 3pm
    • SB0001 Criminal Law – Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms – Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023) – Judicial Proceedings Committee
    • SB0086 Rifles and Shotguns – Possession – Age Requirement (Raise the Age Act of 2023) – Judicial Proceedings Committee
    • SB0113 Civil Actions – Public Nuisances – Firearm Industry Members (Gun Industry Accountability Act – Judicial Proceedings Committee
    • SB0159 Firearms – Maryland Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearm Registry – Establishment – Judicial Proceedings Committee
  • February 8th at 1:30 pm - DUE February 6th by 3pm
    • HB0147 Environment – Climate Crisis Plan -Requirement – Environment and Transportation Committee
    • HB0161 Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority – Evaluation and Termination of Bond Authority (Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority Sunset) – Environment and Transportation Committee
  • February 9th at 1:30 pm - DUE February 6th by 3pm
    • HB0068 Electricity – Net Energy Metering – Accrual of Net Excess Generation (Net Metering Flexibility Act) – Economic Matters Committee
  • February 14th at 1:00 pm - DUE February 10th by 3pm

    • HB0283 Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Gender-Affirming Treatment (Trans Health Equity Act) – Health and Government Operations Committee

    • HB0410 Election Reform Act of 2023 - Ways and Means Committee

    •  

      HB0417 General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office – Ways and Means Committee

PM EVENTS:

Thanks so much to everyone who attended, led breakout sessions, helped with event planning, turnout and logistics. You helped us make this a great and worthwhile gathering. It was wonderful to see members, both new and long-time, from across the state. You reminded us that we CAN and we ARE building the power we need to make Maryland a more just, healthy, and livable place for all of our residents. Special thanks to the elected officials who joined us: Jonathan Briggs, Prince George’s County Board of Education Member, Laurie-Anne Sayles, Montgomery County Council At-Large Member, and Jamila Woods, Maryland House of Delegates.

 

If you haven’t yet done so, please become a member. That way, we can invite you to the next Member Welcome session this Spring.

Next Up: First in a Series of Political and Civic Education. Join us this Saturday:

Join Progressive Maryland to learn how a bill becomes law in the Maryland General Assembly this Saturday, Feb. 11th. Del. David Moon, Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee, will be our featured speaker providing a case study on a bill. Click here to RSVP!

 

Quick Actions:

  1. Our Allies at Tri-state Solutions are fighting to remove the names of Slaveowners from Charles County Public Schools. Please sign this petition to get the attention of Charles County’s Public School Board.
  2. There's been a recent series of events in several schools that have sparked the community to take action. Read about a recent one here

Updates: PM Task Forces & Issue Campaigns 

Environmental Justice Task Force

Our first EJTF meeting saw ten community members address different strategies to place political pressure on powerfolders in Annapolis and hold them accountable to the Wheelabrator-Bresco trash incinerator that has caused cancer and reduced life expectancies for Black communities for decades. Be on the lookout for our next meeting coming soon!

 

If you would like to connect with the Environmental Justice Task Force or write testimony, reach out to the Environmental Justice Organizer, SirJames.

Healthcare For All:

Our long term campaign to Make Medicines Affordable has shifted to the work of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) which was formed to bring down high cost prescriptions. Soaring Rx prices are the biggest factor fueling the high cost of health care for insured and uninsured Americans. We’re fighting the drug industry’s price gouging and this Board can help! We support their plan to set upper payment limits on the drug purchases that the state and local governments make and then to extend the program to all Maryland residents.

 

You can learn more about the Rx campaign and other state healthcare issues at a virtual forum later this month (date TBD) We’ll also discuss and prepare for the Healthcare Lobby Day on March 6 that Progressive Maryland along with labor, community, health advocacy groups are organizing. RSVP here.


If you have a story about how you’ve been affected by high Rx prices, medical debt, or the cost of care; or if you want to support our legislative work, please contact Patty

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Harford County 

Join us this Saturday, Feb. 11, from 1-2:30 p.m. on Zoom for the How A Bill Becomes Law in the Maryland General Assembly event. We'll be joined by Del. David Moon who will provide a case study on a bill. Register here. 

Progressive Prince George's

ATTENTION: Please sign this petition to urge the County Executive, Angela D. Alsobrooks, to undertake an open, transparent and community involved process for the recruitment and hiring of the new CEO for Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS.)

 

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.

EVENTS FROM ALLIES:

The Maryland Association of Human Rights Agencies (MAHRA) and the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights will host its annual Human Rights Day in Annapolis on Friday, February 17, from 8:30am to 12:30pm. Click here to register.

State and National News:

The new governor rules the roost as the General Assembly absorbs his list of issue asks. His focus on helping low-income people and veterans, environmental advances and bringing state employment up to speed has been welcomed by most Dems and even some of the GOP minority. Moore's priority list is getting merged with the Democratic supermajority's own priorities even as they keep one eye on revenue and available funds.

 

We have much more -- people joining the administration, nuts and bolts of Assembly work and how to weigh in as community members, rail networks, tunnels and cannabis markets, other infrastructure, and even trees. 

 

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

 

 

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...