Take Action: The GOP Senate is low-balling critical stimulus needs to keep working people afloat -- instead they want to drive workers back to unsafe jobs. See more below, and act as well to get Larry Hogan off his book tour and on the job, reversing course and giving Marylanders a safe mail-in election not a confusing barrage of absentee ballot requests. Plus chapter news, health care and transit still on the table and our recent blog posts -- all in the Monday Memo.
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, July 27, 2020
ACTION NEEDED: Hopelessly low-ball stimulus bill from the GOP
The Senate is in session today (Monday) and Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans “are seeking a $400-per-week reduction in unemployment benefits in their $1 trillion economic recovery package,” cutting the UI increase from $600 to $200, according to The New York Times. The administration and the GOP have been frank that they want to force people back to work, regardless of safety or the lack of it. The need for a People’s Bailout in the face of this outrageous low-rent counter to the House Democrats’ HEROS Act is greater than ever. Let your elected officials know that it is time to say no to the GOP and Trump.
Protests and calls for Governor Hogan to reverse his decision about how to best conduct the November general election are increasing. Voting rights activists rallied last Wednesday in Annapolis to call for a safe vote-by-mail election instead of using Hogan’s approach which combines a complicated $20 million absentee ballot system along with regular in person voting at hundreds of polling sites. In person voting on Election Day and during early voting is risky during the COVID-19 emergency (for voters and for poll workers who will be hard to recruit) and the Governor’s plan does not take into account all of the concerns expressed by local election administrators, let alone civil rights and voting advocates. Please call Governor Hogan and urge him to use and build on the vote-by-mail system that was created and used in the Primary along with limited in-person voting for those who need it. There’s still time to make this happen.
Call the Governor’s office and demand a safe vote- by- mail system:
A press conference about this critical issue will be held this Wednesday July 29 at 10:30.. Here’s part of the press release:
Hear from public health experts, advocates, and elections staff on the public health, logistical, budget, and civil rights considerations impacting the administration of the November election, and their recommendations for how the Governor can shift from the current plan, which relies primarily on regular, in-person voting, to one that ensures that all registered voters can vote by mail, that voting sites are safe and accessible, and confusion and lines at the polls are minimal.
Housing advocates, community groups, faith leaders, Progressive Maryland, and economists (to name a few) are all sounding the alarm bell about the tidal wave of evictions coming if something isn’t done to extend the eviction moratorium for renters and to increase relief to both renters and non-corporate individual landlords. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and his Access to Justice Task Force have requested an extension of the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.
This dispatch today from Maryland Matters has more on these developments and the struggle to keep people sheltered.
Several County Executives are calling on Hogan to meet with them (he hasn’t met with them since May) to talk about a number of very pressing health and economic concerns. With cases rising every day, local officials and members of the General Assembly are urging Governor Hogan to step up and lead. This is especially the case when it comes to expanding virus testing, contact tracing, and hospital readiness. The state also needs to clarify public health and safety guidelines and mandates. Taking a unified and uniform approach vs. county by county or community by community, increases our chances of flattening the curve. That will help us all.The Governor also needs to work with our representatives to create a plan to meet the financial needs of Maryland’s residents, no matter their status.
Congress is back in session (see leader, above) and needs to act on some priority measures before the end of the month and the August recess. To help those out of work, Unemployment Insurance payments at the $600 weekly level must be extended until the crisis is over; to help those who have lost health insurance and are dealing with COVID related issues, Congress should enact the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act; and in order to help state and local governments meet the scale of this health and economic crisis hundreds of billions of dollars must be allocated.
Call the Senate switchboard and urge Sen.Van Hollen and Sen. Cardin to support these programs and to co-sponsor the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (S. 3709) Switchboard # 202 224-3121.
To volunteer with or learn more about our health care campaign please contact Malcolm Heflin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Patty Snee at email@example.com.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
We are still hard at work collecting signatures as a part of the BTEC (Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition) campaign to get a Baltimore-centered regional transit authority! It will take everyone’s help to get this charter amendment on the ballot for November. If you are a registered Baltimore City voter then please sign the petition here (https://www.md-petition.com/invite/BTEC.php), and share this link with any Baltimore City voters you know.
Events from our allies statewide
The Baltimore County Fair Elections Coalition is hosting an informational meeting on Tuesday August 4th. The Coalition consists of Progressive Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, Maryland PIRG, and Jews United for Justice. We’d love it if you’d attend this meeting where we’ll be discussing what the Citizens Election Fund will do, why it’s important, and our strategy to pass the ballot initiative in November. You can sign up to attend on the Coalition Facebook Page and to keep up with all the things the coalition is doing here.
OUR RECENT BLOG POSTS
Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blogs are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at firstname.lastname@example.org
We recently published these blog posts:
We mourn the loss of a genuine hero, Rep. John Lewis, and keep fighting. Here's what you need to know about the upcoming week -- it's all in the Memo.
As a racial, social, economic and environmental justice organization, Progressive Maryland has always and will continue to center Black and Brown working families in our organizing work. As we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests, we are ramping up our work with the Movement for Black Lives.
"In a long-expected move, Governor Larry Hogan has submitted a long list of state budget cuts to the Board of Public Works. Cuts to state employee salaries and positions are getting a lot of attention. So is a proposed $200 million trim in state aid to public schools, although that needs the consent of the General Assembly to pass. What is less discussed is Hogan’s resumption of a time-honored practice used by higher level governments to dump their problems on lower level governments: the shift and shaft."
This post from Seventh State, a blog on Maryland government, by Adam Pagnucco has withering detail about what could happen at today's (July 1) meeting of the Board of Public Works, one of the features of Maryland's strong-executive constitution that gives governors power not only to set the budget but to mess with it every time the BPW meets.
June 30, 2020 Baltimore, it's time to invest in equitable transit NOW!
Posted by woody woodruff · 12:55 PM
A petition to get a Regional Transit Authority for Baltimore on the November ballot is gaining traction. If you are a Baltimore voter, sign the petition NOW -- the deadline is July 27 -- and help take control of local transit management and funding for Baltimoreans. Find out more in this article by Jaime Sigaran, a transit activist.
REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at email@example.com.
>>Keeping up with the 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 2017-18 starting from here