Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 8, 2021

union_struggle_cropped.jpgIt’s Impeachment Week in the halls of Congress! And it’s Veto Week in Annapolis! Trump faces a reckoning, piloted by lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin of MoCo, and Hogan faces veto overrides in the General Assembly to get moving on rescuing our state education effort in the way the triple crisis (COVID, economy, historically inadequate school funding) demands. This and much more in the Memo.

It’s Impeachment Week in the halls of Congress! And it’s Veto Week in Annapolis! Trump faces a reckoning, piloted by lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin of MoCo, and Hogan faces veto overrides in the General Assembly to get moving on rescuing our state education effort in the way the triple crisis (COVID, economy, historically inadequate school funding) demands. This and much more in the Memo.



Most Mondays, the Memo sums up the news you can use throughout Maryland, focusing on Progressive Maryland’s multi-issue scope growing electoral and civil power in tandem. Updates and actions you can take to support the progressive movement across the state are right here at your hand. There is an option to unsubscribe below but please note that if you click that link, you will be removed from all of our statewide emails.

 

As Black History Month continues, we are continuing to put Black futures at the forefront to affirm, celebrate, and defend all Black lives. See below for information on various events this month to educate yourself and support Black communities. 

Thank you for being part of this movement. We hope you enjoy the Memo!

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

Quick Actions:

Statewide Updates:

 

MPLI Applications are open for the 2021 Spring Cohort!

The Maryland People’s Leadership Institute (MPLI) is a program Progressive Maryland offers  to train prospective  candidates and campaign staff who want to run for or manage  campaigns for state and local office.  Our curriculum is grounded in grassroots movement politics and covers topics like:  how to target and run strong voter contact programs, fundraising for a successful campaign, building relationships/building teams,  and using effective messaging and communication strategies. Our next group of participants  will be selected in March for the Spring 2021 Cohort. If you are interested in this program please complete an application here. Applications are due by February 28.

 

Environmental Justice Campaign Update:

We are actively working to make environmental justice a priority this legislative session, along with our continued support for COVID relief. The communities that are facing disproportionate impacts to climate change and other environmental hazards are many of the same communities that are also being hardest hit by the pandemic. We believe that we can consecutively push for recovery of both people and the planet, which includes lifting up low-income communities of color and removing barriers to basic human rights. These are the environmental justice bills we are prioritizing:

  • HB0332 (Incineration is not renewable energy bill - removes burning trash from being a Tier 1 renewable source in our state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard)
  • HB0280 (incineration is not recycling bill - removes burning trash from the Maryland Recycling Act)
  • HB0082 (Maryland Constitutional Environmental Human Rights Amendment - adds basic environmental human rights to our state’s Constitution)
    • We are collecting favorable testimony for this bill! You can write up 2-3 short paragraphs on why you support equitable access to clean air, clean water & other natural resources and send it to [email protected] so we can submit that for you!
  • HB0051 (Environmental Justice Zoning Considerations Bill - requires construction companies looking to build a landfill in a residential area to get an environmental justice analysis done first)
  • HB0114 (Transit Safety & Investment Act - provides funding to the MTA to expand our public transit system to benefit riders and the environment)
  • HB0021 (chemical recycling ban bill - prohibits converting plastics into fuel)

If you are interested in joining our Environmental Justice Task Force, please reach out to [email protected] 

 

Healthcare Justice Campaign Update:

The Medicare for All Act of 2021 will be introduced in the 117th Congress  this month!

The Medicare for All Act improves and expands the overwhelmingly successful and popular Medicare program, so that every resident of the United States has guaranteed access to health care with comprehensive benefits. The pandemic has underscored and reinforced how important it is to move away from an employer based patchwork based insurance system to a program like expanded Medicare. 

Seventy three U.S. House Members have already signed on including our own Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. John Sarbanes. We thank them for their steadfast support and leadership.  Our goal is to get more of our Marylnd Delegation on board. We’ll be working with the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition, People’s Action and other key partners to advance this landmark bill. Grassroots public support will be absolutely crucial to our success. That’s why we’ve created a campaign to get the Montgomery County Council to consider and pass a resolution urging our U.S. Senators and House members to co-sponsor and advocate for Medicare for All legislation. Please take a moment now to sign the petition and share widely: http://bit.ly/MoCoM4A 

 

If you think your local Democratic club, community association, house of worship, or small business owners in your area would be interested  in signing on to the organizational support letter to the MOCO Council please let us know! Email Patty Snee or Josh Raznick at [email protected] or [email protected]

 

We are also helping a similar effort in Prince George’s County and are very interested in doing the same in other counties and cities. Please contact us if you’d like to consider this in your community. Local resolution campaigns are going on around the country.

 

Anne Arundel County Fair Elections Campaign Update:

The Progressive Maryland Campaign for Fair Elections in Anne Arundel County is now on social media! Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We are working to get big money out of politics!!

 

Thank you to all our members who attended the virtual launch of the End Medical Debt Maryland Campaign on Saturday evening! We are excited to work with you all to support the Medical Debt Protection Act (HB565/SB514) as the bill enters committee hearings next week. If you couldn't make it to the event, there are plenty of ways to get involved in our efforts to end predatory hospital lawsuits. Sign on to show your support as an individual and receive email updates here.

 

We invite you to join us for a virtual Testimony Writing Happy Hour this Thursday, February 11 at 7pm. You can RSVP at here. Our organizers will make it fun. Please contact Lindsey Muniak ([email protected]) with any questions. 


Local Chapter Updates:

Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland

  • Fair Elections Task Force Meeting on Wednesday, February 17, 6:30pm -- Register here

Baltimore City

Baltimore County/ Frederick County/ Western Maryland

Progressive Montgomery

  • Help fight for more inclusive housing in Montgomery County: 

Use this form to tell the Montgomery County Council & Montgomery Planning Board to support missing middle housing near transit! Councilmember Will Jawando has introduced Zoning Text Amendment 20-07, which would make it easier to build duplexes, townhomes, and small apartment buildings within one mile of Metro stations.

Allowing more housing types in transit-oriented neighborhoods that currently only allow single-family detached homes helps promote inclusivity, affordability, sustainability, and prosperity. Montgomery County has been studying and discussing missing middle housing for several years, and now it's time to act!

Feel free to customize this email to share your story about housing in Montgomery County.

Guaranteeing healthcare as a human right is critical if we are going to recover from this pandemic. The best way to ensure that right is to pass Medicare for All, the single payer health care bill supported by folks like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Part of the push to pass this legislation is happening right here in our communities. Pressure from local governments is key to push our electors leaders in the Senate and the House. Local resolutions supporting Medicare for All have already been passed by 50 different city and county councils across the country. We hope they can play a key role in pressuring members of congress to vote for and co-sponsor Medicare for All.

Please sign your name to the petition below calling on the Montgomery County Council to pass a resolution supporting Medicare for All. 

 

Progressive Prince George’s

 

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus (Affiliate Chapter)


State and National News: 

Maryland Governance -- the 2021 Legislative Session

This is another big week (beginning today, February 8) for policing and immigration reform measures, such as Anton’s Law and LEOBR Repeal and the Dignity Not Detention Act. The Climate Solutions Now Act, which is essentially a bigger and bolder Clean Energy Jobs Act that includes environmental justice provisions, also has a hearing this week. Find out more on these hearings and other important bills in this Legislative Coalition roundup

The big override -- a closely watched question in Annapolis is when and how the General Assembly will assemble the sure-thing override supermajority to reverse Gov. Hogan’s veto of the 10-year Blueprint to overhaul the state education system. Last week they got a boost, Danielle Gaines in Maryland Matters reported, from a broad group of business leaders, including some university presidents, who urged Assembly leadership to do the override, and soon. Pamela Wood in The Sun tracks the bumps awaiting in Veto Week as the Assembly’s Democrats plan to override the Blueprint and many other vetoes. Hogan, who has won two elections on false claims about Democratic tax increases, argued again in recent days that the Blueprint (its first several years already paid for) means a tax hike. Del. Eric Luedtke, the House Majority Leader, countered “that is a flat lie.”

If “Strong Schools Work for You” in Maryland, join the Fair Funding Coalition to demand the Assembly override the governor’s veto.

In addition to Veto Week it’s the top of the hill -- deadlines for new bills, so we get to see the steepness of the slope we will sled down toward adjournment, with over 1,900 bills in the kitty and a few hundred more to come, our allies at the Legislative Coalition figure. Get their picture of the week(s) ahead.

Progressive leaders in the Assembly are trying to untie the hands of local governments working to remove police officers from schools. A two-year-old law mandates and funds the School Resource Officers statewide but repeal advocates, including Progressive Maryland, argue that Black and Brown students are disproportionately disciplined by officers. Two Montgomery delegates have proposed two different changes to their fellow House members.

 

Covid-19 Update

We continue to experience a rising death toll and more  cases of infection across the state and region, along with the challenge of new more contagious strains coming into the U.S. and into Maryland. A comprehensive, robust, and compassionate public health response, which was virtually non-existent during the Trump era, is starting to come together at the Federal level. But many pandemic-related  problems and many needs remain for workers, families, patients, non-profits, small businesses, local governments and agencies. We need significant financial resources and initiatives to meet these needs and to scale the response  required to deliver the health services  and economic relief people desperately need. One positive step in this direction happened last Friday when the State Senate  passed an enhanced version of Governor Hogan’s RELIEF bill that would put $1.5 billion into the state’s economy to aid recovery from the pandemic. “Between the governor’s proposal and our proposal, we have a very good package here that will help people immediately,” said Sen. James Rosapepe, a Democrat representing Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties,” as The Sun reports. The bill now goes to the House for expedited consideration; as an emergency bill it will take effect as soon as Hogan signs it.  

Addressing the state’s Unemployment System problems which has left thousands of residents waiting for weeks to receive benefits is another urgent action that’s needed to shore up COVID financial relief. Fortunately several Democratic legislators and Democratic leaders are proposing a package of bills that will update, modernize, and reform the system.    

Health equity has emerged as a major issue during the COVID-19 emergency because of the devastating and disproportionate impact the virus has had on BIPOC Americans. Racial justice is at the heart of our health justice organizing. Progressive Maryland supports an important measure being considered in Annapolis that can begin to address the needs of underserved communities and people in our state. The Health Equity Resource Act (HB463/SB172)  would provide urgently needed permanent funding for Health Equity Resource Communities. A 1% increase in the alcohol tax would provide a revenue stream for the program. The Baltimore Sun   published an editorial last week in support of the bill. Thanks to all the groups and advocates that are leading the way on this effort. 

 

Vaccine News

The vaccination distribution plan and effort continues to unfold with some failures, some success, and a great deal of confusion here in Maryland. The number of people eligible now, in part due to the Governor’s decision to add more categories, far exceeds the available supply which has been a source of real tension in the rollout. In addition, issues with registration and notification systems are creating challenges for a number of counties trying to manage the rollout in the most equitable and effective way possible. The WaPo rounds up the not-so-great news for the whole DMV; we can do better. Officials have asked everyone to try and remain patient at this time and to not “jump the line”. Progressive Maryland supports calls on the Administration to find ways to provide more transparency and coordination with counties when it comes to allocation and distribution. The good news is, as we see more and more, the vaccines are proving safe and effective -- for all. And the US vaccinated over 2 million people in one day for the first time over the weekend.  It’s also important to not let up on following public health guidelines like double masking, washing hands, social distancing and avoiding gatherings. For information about COVID and the vaccine check here https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/vaccine/  County public health departments also have information on their County’s websites. The US altogether has vaccinated nearly 32 million and is verging on 10 percent of the population with at least the first dose of vaccine administered.

In Maryland as around the country, internet access is nearly essential for getting access to vaccination, and many are still shut out in our most underserved communities. This piece from The Conversation elaborates on this crisis.

 

National Action Alerts

Has the mail kept you waiting lately? Packages? Prescriptions? Late last week The Sun reported on complaints from Maryland’s House and Senate delegations about the flagging reliability of the US Postal Service, under attack because the Trump-chosen Postmaster General appeared to have been put in his job to save Trump from the peril of safe, mail-in ballots. And Sunday the WaPo outlined the many ways in which beleaguered USPS was set up to fail by its numerous enemies in the public and private sectors. And that was pre-COVID. Some legislators want reforms that will give the nation’s oldest public service new ways to make itself useful as letter mail declines and package competition rages.

But top of mind, this is a cusp period for getting a clean people’s bailout across the finish line in Congress. Here’s the ask from Joy Blackwood at People’s Action: “District Meetings or Advocacy Support Resources: Let’s keep our drumbeat going while your Representative and/or Senators are back home for President’s Day recess and let your elected official know we need to pass the American Recue Plan before March 14 [when some current protections expire].. We’ve prepared a mini-resource package of materials including (a) Background on the Biden-Harris American Rescue Plan, (b) our 2021 COVID Priorities, (c) Meeting Request Template, (d) Sample Agenda and (e) Talking Points. Links to everything is below. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me or our campaigns director, Sondra Youdelman ([email protected]).”

Talking Points: Overall and on Core Topics


Events from our Allies:

MD Cannabis Legalization Town Hall - Join us tonight February 8, 2021, at 6:30pm for a town hall on Cannabis legalization in Maryland featuring a lineup of elected officials and advocates. You don’t want to miss it. Register here.

 

A lineup of some awesome Black History Month Events:

The Maryland Democratic Party is excited to present a new Black Lives Matter panel for Black History Month, Black Lives Matter: Building Black Wealth — Wednesday, February 17th at 7:00 PM. Join moderator Wes Moore, Author and CEO; Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones; State Senator Melony Griffith; Executive Vice President for City First Bank Shannan Herbert; and Director and Head of Talent at Schmidt Futures Tony Woods for a conversation on building Black wealth, equality, and long-term prosperity in America. RSVP here.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation “Policy for the People” Virtual Summit Series presents a two-part Health Equity Summit on February 18: 

-Part One: Understanding the Impact of the COVID-19 Vaccine on the Black Community. February 18, 2021 10-11AM EST. Register here. 

-Part Two: Mental Health Realities for Black America. February 18, 2021 2-3PM EST. Register here.

Where Water & Justice Meet | Feb. 25th, 6pm CST (8pm EST). Water is complicated. Too much and we face flooding, too little and we face disease, war, and famine. The use of lead water pipes endangers our communities and puts people of color at particular risk. Shutoffs make it hard for people to follow basic hygiene guidelines in the middle of a pandemic. Learn how you can take action to protect healthy drinking water in your community and preserve water in this webinar. We will share quick action items as well as free curriculum available for educating your House of Worship or community. Register here.

Seminar Series: Advancing Ecology and Environmental Data Science for a More Just and Equitable Future by The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) Diversity Committee This seminar is free and open to the public. 'Wealth, Race, and Wildlife: The Impacts of Structural Inequality on Urban Wildlife'. Wednesday, March 3, 11am-12pm PST (2-3pm EST). Join the Zoom webinar here.


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].

February 05, 2021 WEEKENDER: Working together to tackle the bad state of the state

What is crushing our communities during the COVID emergency? In many ways, they are the same social factors that keep our vulnerable communities under stress at most times – but the COVID crisis has cruelly exposed those factors. Hogan's "State of the State 2021" chatfest dodged big issues and made current miseries sound like our fault, not his. But there are paths we can take that will get us out.

February 03, 2021 Americans need COVID relief NOW, not footsie with Mitch McConnell

Marylanders across the progressive spectrum know: Corporate politicians and billionaires getting rich during the pandemic may not understand that folks are suffering, but everyday people do. We need a real COVID relief plan, not a watered-down bill to make Mitch McConnell happy.

Congress is shaping the next COVID-19 bill this week, but it’s clear that some politicians and their billionaire backers either don’t understand or don’t care what’s happening across the country. Time for all of us to remind them who they are working for.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 1, 2021

Greetings to Progressive Maryland activists and supporters who are new to the Weekly Memo!

Most Mondays, the Memo sums up the news you can use throughout Maryland, focusing on Progressive Maryland’s multi-issue scope growing electoral and civil power in tandem. Events across the state and across the progressive action landscape are right at your hand here, and the thoughts and actions of those fighting for working families are embodied in our blog posts. Get what you need here.

January 25, 2021 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 25, 2021

Your activist calendar for the week, plus info on health, politics and... well, the crossroads where they meet, which is our whole lives right now.

Start with Progressive Maryland's Environmental Task Force meeting in just a few -- 5pm to 6pm TODAY, Monday Jan. 25. See the Memo about that and more.

January 13, 2021 As legislature opens, recovery agenda for state is clearly stated

Does the Maryland General Assembly, opening today, have the resilience to do the people’s business in a worsening pandemic, under unprecedented conditions and rules for both legislators and members of the public -- who wants them to attend to the emergency we have now? And who wants them to be open about what they are accomplishing, or not accomplishing? See what a People's Recovery Agenda must include and how we will fight for it.

January 05, 2021 Assembly Session challenge: focus on pandemic learning loss

Repairing the damage to learning brought by the pandemic, a veteran Maryland education official argues, "legislators should be guided by two basic rules. One is to follow the science. The other is to have the resolve to make tough, triage-like policy choices. Research also teaches that tutoring in the early grades will be most effective during regular school hours by paid, well-trained tutors and integrated into a school’s framework of tiered interventions for struggling readers." Given the inevitable shortfall in finances, "legislators must resist intense political pressure to simply spread the learning loss money among many competing relief proposals," and focus on what research shows would be the highest-return policy.

>>Keeping up with Progressive Maryland’s 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 2017-19 starting from here  and the blogs 2019-2020 here.

Read more on the homepage of progressivemaryland.org.