Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 7, 2022

Much of our focus in these cold, early months of 2022 has been on Annapolis, and so far we’ve encountered the good, the bad, and – well – the unsurprising...



Our progressive allies in the Maryland General Assembly have put forward excellent, thoughtful legislation. In today's memo, you’ll learn about a bill introduced last week by Del. Lorig Charkoudian (D20, Montgomery County) and supported by the End Medical Debt Maryland coalition that would require Maryland hospitals to reimburse low-income patients they've overcharged for care. This week alone, we’re looking forward to hearings on bills to create a paid family and medical leave program, establish a state commission on universal health care, and bill to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes

But GOP legislators have also been introducing legislation, much of it similar to the bills being put forward by their right-wing colleagues across the country. We’re prepared to fight back against their terrible voter suppression laws, efforts to censor the curriculum in Maryland public schools, restrictions on abortion access, and attempts to create harsher penalties for school-age children who get caught in the broken criminal justice system. 

And then there’s our Governor Larry Hogan. Nearing the end of his term, Hogan gave his final State of the State address last week. Despite the measured praise his remarks received from some news outlets, they was much of what we’ve come to expect from Hogan: enthusiasm for Reagan-style trickle-down economics, clinging to conservative rhetoric around crime, and shirking responsibility for ongoing problems with Maryland’s unemployment insurance. No surprises there. 

So, what’s a progressive to do? Fight for a better Maryland! Read on for plenty of opportunities to organize and advocate for a better, more progressive future, including a Health Justice Lobby Day and Cannabis Legislation Lobby Days coming up next week.



Thank You for Being Part of Progressive Maryland!

We can’t do any of this work without you! Here are two simple ways for you to get involved NOW that will help us build progressive power across the state.

Join one of our issue teams! Go to pgmd.us/issues if you want to participate in one of our issue task forces, which organize around major issue areas and review opportunities to move our campaigns. Task force members develop strategies and take action to advance our work. We currently have four task forces focused on healthcare justice, environmental justice, drug policy, and justice system reform. All are welcome to join! 

Volunteer with our election team to build support for progressive candidates! Go to pgmd.us/electionvolunteer if you’d like to help us elect movement-based candidates who are ready to transform the system.


Quick Actions:


2022 Maryland Elections

Join us for this week’s Throwdown Thursday on February 10 from 6–8 PM to make calls to voters across the state with our team! We introduce Marylanders to great progressive candidates and talk to them about this year’s elections. If you’ve never phonebanked before, don’t worry! We’ll provide training and support. Click this link to let us know you’ll join — it’s fun, and it’s a great opportunity to meet other Marylanders ready for political change.

Note to Candidates: If you’re running for office, have already filed for candidacy, and are interested in being considered for our endorsement, you may complete a candidate questionnaire here.

🗳 Candidate Corner

Congratulations to Prince George’s County Councilman-elect Edward Burroughs for his decisive victory in the Special General Election last week! We are so proud of Edward and can’t wait to see what he does in this role. He will officially be sworn into office next Tuesday, February 15. 

Januari McKay, our endorsed candidate for State Delegate in District 23B, is holding a virtual fundraising event for her campaign this Thursday, February 10 at 7 PM! RSVP here to attend.

Congratulations to our endorsed Baltimore County candidates Ruben Amaya, Robbie Leonard, and Del. Sheila Ruth, and, who all received endorsements as Progressive Champions this week from our partners at Our Revolution Maryland. 

Tomorrow is the Special General Election for Prince George’s County Council District 8! If you’ve been reading the memo, you know our endorsed candidate Edward Burroughs won the Special Primary Election earlier this month. Things are looking good for Edward, but we still need District 8 voters to turn out to cast their ballots for him tomorrow! Visit elections.mypgc.us for more information. 

Learn more about all of our endorsed candidates for 2022 on the Progressive Maryland website! Go to pgmd.us/2022endorsements for candidate bios and links to support their campaigns.


Statewide Updates

🩺 Healthcare Justice

Join us on Valentine’s Day as we ask Maryland legislators to show some love for healthcare justice! You’re invited to join us for a virtual Health Justice Lobby Day next Monday, February 14, from 4–6:30 PM. We’re teaming up with progressive allies across the state to push for policies that will expand healthcare coverage, address health disparities, and increase patient protections. Together, we’ll urge our representatives in the Maryland General Assembly to support critical bills to address the medical debt crisis, establish paid family & medical leave programs for workers, expand healthcare access in underserved communities, and more! 

No prior advocacy experience is required! We’ll start the event with an hour-long briefing and some basic training to prepare folks. Register to join at bit.ly/hjday214, and be sure to list Progressive Maryland as your organization when you sign up! Want to learn more or help plan the event? Send an email to Malcolm or Patty

🖤 Drug Policy Task Force

We’re partnering with our coalition allies at the Marijuana Policy Project, Maryland NORML, Our Revolution Maryland, and the Working Families Party to host virtual Cannabis Legislation Lobby Days next Wednesday, February 16 and Thursday, February 17! Join us as we urge lawmakers to pass equitable cannabis legislation that prioritizes meaningful community reinvestment to address the devastating effects of criminalization and the War on Drugs in so many Black and minority communities. 

If you’re available to join a meeting with legislators for any length of time on either of these lobby days, please register here. We’ll follow up to confirm what time(s) you’re available! You can RSVP even if you can only spare 30 minutes during your lunch break – every bit of support helps. If you have any questions, contact Zach

🏥 End Medical Debt Maryland

Thank you for supporting the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 during last year’s Maryland General Assembly session! Together, we won major protections for Maryland patients – but there’s still a long road ahead in our fight to end medical debt. This year, our coalition is working to pass House Bill 694, a measure introduced by Del. Lorig Charkoudian that would require Maryland hospitals to reimburse low-income patients they’ve overcharged for care. 

The bill was drafted in response to a report released last year by an independent state agency that evaluated data from 2017 & 2018 and found Maryland hospitals collected around $60 million annually from low-income patients who were legally entitled to free care. HB0694 gives hospitals a chance to make things right by reimbursing those patients. Want to get involved in our efforts to hold hospitals accountable and bring justice to Maryland patients? Join our coalition at https://bit.ly/emdjoin

⚖️ Reentry Work Group

Our volunteer-led Reentry Work Group (REWG) is soliciting grant proposals for projects designed to support returning citizens in Prince George’s County! An individual donor has generously provided funds to support progressive programs that help facilitate the reentry process. Projects that are eligible for support through this grant may address services including (but not limited to) those associated with employment and job training, physical and mental health care, and transitional housing. 

The grant application process is now open, and the REWG will continue to accept proposals from businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and community organizations through the deadline on Monday, February 28. Grants in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 will be awarded following a committee selection process to support one year of work. You can find application details and additional information here.

📣 Economic Security

We aren’t giving up the fight to pass Build Back Better and implement investments to help everyday Americans and our communities. Our allies at People’s Action are hosting virtual federal legislative weeks of action from Monday, February 14 through Friday, February 25 to continue the push for Build Back Better and advocate for other key federal priorities like the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. Stay tuned for ways you can support — and in the meantime, be sure to check out SEIU’s Build Back Better Calculator to see how passing BBB would help you!

🌱 Environmental Justice Task Force

Do you believe everyone deserves clean air and water? Are you disturbed by the way low-income communities and communities of color bear the most brutal consequences of environmental injustice and corporate environmental exploitation? We believe in an environmental movement that centers equity, and we’d love for you to join us as we reconvene our environmental justice task force! If you’re interested, send an email to Yves, our newly-appointed environmental justice organizer! You can also use this scheduling website to set up a meeting with them to talk about getting involved.


Local Chapter Updates

Anne Arundel Fair Elections:

The Anne Arundel County Council is holding a hearing on the county Fair Elections Fund resolution TONIGHT! Tune in to the Arundel TV Livestream at 7 PM to hear some Progressive Maryland members testify about why we need public campaign financing programs. We expect to know the results of the council’s vote on the resolution by next week.

Progressive Harford County:

Progressive Harford has reached the member threshold to officially become a Progressive Maryland chapter! Thank you to everyone who has joined and supported us so far — this is only the beginning. 

It's time for progressives in Harford County to come together and make our voices heard. Join us next Tuesday, February 15 from 6:30–8 PM for a virtual election forum featuring Democrats who are running, or considering running, to represent Harford in state or local office. The program will include remarks from the Maryland Democratic Party and advice about filing to run a campaign. Any Democrat who has filed to run in Harford County is invited to speak, and viewers can submit questions to be answered during the event.

Progressive Harford also has a number of virtual candidate town halls on the calendar, the next of which is with Democratic gubernatorial candidate John King on Thursday, February 17 from 6:30–8 PM. Please note: hosting a candidate town hall is not an endorsement.

Progressive Montgomery

Progressive Maryland is hiring a Montgomery County Lead Organizer! The Lead Organizer will work to sustain and expand our organizing work in Montgomery County by developing the local chapter and engaging community members in ongoing campaigns. Go to pgmd.us/jobs to learn more and apply!

Progressive Prince George's:

Save the date! We’re convening a meeting for our Progressive Prince George’s chapter for Monday, February 28 at 6pm. Do you live in PG County? This is a great opportunity to meet fellow activists and learn more about how you can get involved with our issue and electoral work this year! Keep an eye on this space — we’ll share a registration link next week!


State and National News:

Labor is in the news! President Biden and Vice President Harris visited Upper Marlboro, MD last week, where the president signed an executive order giving construction workers and union members new protections on federally-contracted construction projects. Meanwhile, the National Labor Review Board is showing new commitment to the Biden administration’s pro-union agenda under the direction of General Counsel appointee Jennifer Abruzzo. At the state level, Maryland lawmakers are hoping to slow the eviction crisis by raising eviction filing fees for landlords to more closely reflect those in surrounding states. Plus, questionable use of Maryland taxpayer dollars on shaky investment advice, Hogan’s State of the State, and Maryland Senate Democrats introduce a four-part “crime package” in the MGA.  

Check out this week’s BlogSpace roundup of state & federal news for all this and more.


Events From Progressive Maryland & Our Allies: 

Tuesday, February 8 | 6 PM (virtual) — Join Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City’s Chief Recovery Officer for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Telephone Town Hall to learn more about how funds can be used and planned investments for the City’s recovery. The event will be livestreamed here on Mayor Scott’s Facebook page. 

Monday, February 14 | 4–6:30 PM (virtual) — Progressive Maryland is teaming up with progressive allies across the state for a Health Justice Lobby Day! Join us to urge our representatives in Annapolis to take action on urgent healthcare issues. Register for the lobby day here – and don’t forget to list Progressive Maryland as your organization!

Tuesday, February 15 | 12–1 PM (Annapolis) — Our Revolution Maryland is holding a Rally for Democracy at the Office of the Maryland Board of Elections (151 West St #200, Annapolis, MD 21401). RSVP here to join!

Tuesday, February 15 | 6:30–8 PM (virtual) — The Progressive Harford chapter is hosting a virtual election forum featuring Harford Democrats who are running, or considering running, a campaign to represent the County in state or local office. RSVP here to attend

Wednesday, February 16 & Thursday, February 17 | times vary (virtual) — Progressive Maryland is partnering with the Marijuana Policy Project, Maryland NORML, Our Revolution Maryland, and the Working Families Party to host virtual Cannabis Legislation Lobby Days! If you’re available to join a meeting with lawmakers for any length of time either dayplease register here. We’ll follow up to confirm what time(s) you’re available!

Wednesday, February 16 | 7–8 PM (virtual) — Join our partners at the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition for an interactive session to learn more about the fight for Medicare for All! RSVP for the event here

Monday, February 21 | 6:30 PM (Annapolis) — The Time to Care Coalition is hosting a Rally for Paid Family & Medical Leave on Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis (100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401). Sign up to join us at the rally, and be sure to list Progressive Maryland as your affiliated organization!

Monday, February 28 | 6 PM (virtual) — Join us for a PG Progressives chapter meeting to learn more about the issue and electoral work we’re doing in Prince George’s County and how you can get involved! We’ll share a registration link next week.


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].


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