Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 31, 2022

New bills are still being added to the Maryland General Assembly website every day, but we've identified our broad policy priorities for this legislative session. We will continue to fight for equity in healthcare, for major changes to policing and our justice system, for meaningful drug policy reforms that acknowledge the failures of criminalization, and for measures that combat environmental injustice in its many different forms. Check out this week's memo for plenty of exciting advocacy opportunities!



New bills are still being added to the Maryland General Assembly website every day, but we’ve identified our broad policy priorities for this legislative session. We will continue to fight for equity in healthcare, for major changes to policing and our justice system, for meaningful drug policy reforms that acknowledge the failures of criminalization, and for measures that combat environmental injustice in its many different forms. 

Check out our 2022 Legislative Agenda to learn more about some of the measures we’ll be pushing for this session, and take a moment to fill out our volunteer interest form to get plugged into our advocacy and organizing efforts around the General Assembly! 

Black History Month begins tomorrow, and we’re also looking forward to spending the next month celebrating the contributions of Black organizers and leaders throughout history and today. Be sure to keep an eye on our social media feeds for some special features in the coming weeks...  

In Solidarity, 

The Progressive Maryland Team


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

Set aside some time tomorrow evening from 6–8pm to join us for Texting Tuesday! This week we’ll be texting voters in Baltimore County about Del. Sheila Ruth, a fierce progressive advocate in the Maryland General Assembly who we’ve endorsed for reelection as State Delegate in District 44B. RSVP here to join us!

For this week’s Throwdown Thursday, we’ll be making calls to Prince George’s County voters on behalf of Krystal Oriadha! Join us on Thursday from 6–8pm to help us build support for Krystal’s grassroots campaign for Prince George’s County Council. If you’ve never phone banked before, don’t worry! We’ll provide training and assistance. Click here to sign up and receive the Zoom link.

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

Krystal Oriadha, our endorsed candidate running to represent Prince George’s County Council District 7, is hosting her virtual campaign launch event TONIGHT, January 31 from 7–8:30pm. Register here to join! You won’t want to miss some very special guest speakers, including Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford! 

Natali Fani-González, who we endorsed for Montgomery County Council District 6, is hosting a virtual campaign event TONIGHT at 7pm. Register here to join — we’ll discuss what the campaign has been hearing from community members and upcoming opportunities to volunteer! 

Meet Wala Blegay, who we endorsed for Prince George’s County Council District 6, for Coffee & Conversation this Saturday, February 5 from 10am–1pm at PJ’s Coffee (12530 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720). RSVP here to attend and hear Wala’s vision for District 6!

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

🦠 COVID-19

We’re saddened by the grim report from The Baltimore Sun that January has been Maryland's deadliest month of the pandemic so far, and we’re thinking of all those who have lost loved ones during this difficult time. The Sun reports nearly 1,500 COVID-19 fatalities in Maryland during the month of January, which means over 13,000 Marylanders have died of the virus since the start of the pandemic. The death toll could remain high through February, driven by the spike in cases during the omicron surge. 

We’re calling on our elected officials to step up vaccine outreach efforts in areas of the state with lower vaccination rates and to maintain public health measures that we know save lives. Sign our petition to tell Maryland leaders they need to respond to this crisis in a way that reflects the gravity of this situation. Don’t forget that you can request 4 free at-home tests for your household by going to https://www.covidtests.gov/.

🏥 Healthcare Justice

Join us as we ask our legislators to show some love for healthcare justice on Valentine’s Day! We’re inviting members and supporters to join us for a virtual Health Justice Lobby Day on Monday, February 14, from 4–6:30pm. Together with progressive allies across the state, we’ll meet with members of the Maryland General Assembly to talk about critical bills to address the medical debt crisis, establish paid family & medical leave, expand healthcare access in underserved communities, and more. 

The pandemic has laid bare many of the inequities and gaps in the corporate healthcare system, and it’s time for lawmakers to take action to give all Marylanders health security. Register to join at bit.ly/hjday214, and be sure to list Progressive Maryland as your organization! Want to learn more or help plan the event? Send an email to Malcolm or Patty.

🌱 Environmental Justice Task Force

Do you believe everyone deserves to have clean air and water? Are you disturbed by the fact that 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.

📣 Economic Security

We aren’t giving up the fight to pass Build Back Better and implement investments to help everyday Americans and our communities. Congress returns this week and we need them to stay focused on the BBB agenda. Currently, we’re pushing to extend the Child Tax Credit program that has supported so many working families. Our two Senators are supportive, but it’s always good for them to hear from constituents, so please take action today and urge them to continue the Child Tax Credit. Stay tuned for developments on steps to take to lower Rx prices, expand Medicare, and win paid family and medical leave.

⚖️ 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 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

🖤 Drug Policy Task Force

Join our partners at the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition (BHRC) this Thursday, February 3rd and Friday, February 4th for their 5th Annual Harm Reduction Advocacy Days. These virtual events offer an opportunity for Marylanders to connect with our elected state representatives about meaningful harm reduction policies. You can register to participate in the advocacy days here, where you’ll also find the full agendas for this week’s events. 

We’re gearing up to support a number of critical drug policy reforms in the Maryland General Assembly session, including a reintroduced version of the paraphernalia decriminalization bill that Governor Hogan vetoed last year, measures to decriminalize cannabis in Maryland, and a Good Samaritan law that will help reduce overdose deaths. Sign up here to join our team and organize for urgent drug policy reforms!


Local Chapter Updates

Anne Arundel Fair Elections:

Do you live in Anne Arundel County? Do you agree we should have a public financing program for county electoral campaigns? Next Monday, February 7, the Anne Arundel County Council is holding a hearing of a Fair Elections Fund resolution — and we’re looking for people to testify! Fill out this interest form if you might be open to speaking about the importance of public financing programs. If you’ve never testified before, we’ll help you prepare. To build support and interest among Anne Arundel voters ahead of the hearing, we’re also hosting Fair Elections phone banks both tomorrow and Wednesday evening from 6–7:30pm. 

If you don’t live in Anne Arundel County but you’re interested in getting involved with our Fair Elections efforts at the statewide level, contact Jesse. We’re gearing up to support the Public Financing Act in the Maryland General Assembly and we need your help!

Progressive Harford County:

Progressive Harford has a number of great events scheduled for the coming months! Check out the Progressive HarCo event calendar to register for upcoming candidate town halls with John King, Sarahia Benn, Andre Johnson, and Tim Adams! Missed one of our recent town halls? You can find recordings on our Facebook page. We’re also still recruiting progressive candidates to run at the state and local levels to represent Harford County. If you take a few minutes to complete our recruitment form, we’ll be in touch about next steps for supporting your campaign!

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 shortly!


State and National News:

Congress is back this week, with the Senate returning from recess today and the House reconvening tomorrow. Our allies at People’s Action will be holding virtual federal legislative weeks during February to  continue the Build Back Better push and advocate for other federal priorities, including the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. At the state level, we’ve got stories about some interesting new legislation making its way through Annapolis, like Del. Vaughn Stewart’s Public Advocate Act of 2022 (HB0152), as well as a story about a long-overdue bill being sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Kramer that would finally grant collective bargaining rights to graduate students in the University System of Maryland (SB0118). 

Check out our weekly BlogSpace roundup of state & federal news for more!


Events From Progressive Maryland & Our Allies: 

TONIGHT: Monday, January 31 | 7–8:30pm (virtual) — Krystal Oriadha, our endorsed candidate for Prince George’s County Council District 7, has a virtual campaign launch event this evening! Featured guest speakers include PM’s own Larry Stafford and former District 8 Councilmember (& current candidate for Lt. Governor) Monique Anderson Walker. RSVP here to join

TONIGHT: Monday, January 31 | 7pm (virtual) — Natali Fani-González, who we endorsed for Montgomery County Council District 6, is also hosting a virtual campaign event this evening. Register here to join and learn about upcoming opportunities to volunteer on her campaign! 

Saturday, February 5 | 10am–1pm (Bowie, MD) — Join Wala Blegay, our endorsed candidate for Prince George’s County Council District 6, for Coffee & Conversation this weekend at PJ’s Coffee (12530 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720). RSVP here to attend!

Monday, February 14 | 4–6:30pm (virtual) — We’re 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!

Wednesday, February 16 | 6:00–7:30pm (virtual) — Save the date for a virtual MGA Testimony Writing Workshop! We’ll walk you through the process of submitting legislative testimony to support progressive policies in the Maryland General Assembly. Stay tuned for the registration link!

Wednesday, February 16 | 7:00–8:00pm (virtual) — Join our partners at the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition for an interactive session to learn more about the fight for Medicare for All and how you can get involved! RSVP for the event here

Monday, February 28 | 6:00pm (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 as the date approaches.


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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