Hogan budget cuts will leave Maryland still worse off; feds need help understanding that health care bills are critical; Re-entry meeting this week and meetings of chapters in Montgomery, Baltimore City, Frederick and Lower Shore coming up this week or soon. Plus events from our allies and a reprise of our most recent blog posts. It's all in the Memo.
Governor Hogan and Budget Reductions: Unfortunately, We received bad news last week on the state economic front. Governor Hogan brought a proposal to the Board of Public Works to cut $672 million from the state’s budget. His plan would cut school programs and funding, require laying off hundreds of state employees (many of whom are essential workers) and lower spending on important safety net programs. The state is facing a shortfall in revenues to be sure but Maryland’s elected officials need to review all the options, including waiting to see what comes of the next federal aid package, before making harmful reductions during this challenging time for Maryland residents and families. Organizing by a number of groups including MSEA and AFSCME helped limit the amount the Governor requested but the Board voted 2 to 1 to impose $413 million in cuts.
Progressive Maryland will continue to work with our allies to push for investment and worker/consumer safety over cuts and reduced protections. See the report from our friends at the Maryland Center for Economic Policy that examines what BPW did during the Great Recession and lessons we can learn about budget choices from that period:
Board of Elections: Limiting Voter Options. The State Board of Elections, in an affront to the Maryland Association of Election Officials (MAEO), the recommendations of numerous advocacy groups, and to our democracy refused to recommend that ballots be mailed directly to voters for the upcoming November general election. That’s a departure from the vote by mail system used in last month’s Primary. Instead the Board issued a report that calls for voters using the absentee ballot application process and did not fully address the need to protect early voting and provide enough polling locations. Read the MAEO to learn more about their recommendations.
Governor Hogan should listen to the recommendations of local administrators.
Federal Level Advocacy: Progressive Maryland continues to partner with our national affiliate People’s Action and our state coalition allies to push for more action and aid from the Federal government during this staggering health and economic crisis, particularly when it comes to meeting the healthcare needs of millions of Americans. Please contact Senator Van Hollen to ask that he co-sponsor the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act
We are exploring a campaign to get local elected officials across the state to pass resolutions to urge our Congressional Delegation to sponsor the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act (H.R.6906) and the Medicare Crisis Program Act (H.R. 6674) -- stay tuned for an update on that front. The Rockville City Council unanimously signed a letter in June to the Montgomery County congressional delegation, urging them to co-sponsor these bills. The Rockville letter also urged the delegation not to support the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act (H.R. 6514), which would expand COBRA subsidies. That's a poor solution, because it would expose already-suffering workers to huge premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Thus far, Rep. Jamie Raskin is the only Member of the Maryland Congressional Delegation who has co-sponsored both.
These two bills would empower Medicare to pay all of the costs of covid-related treatment for the uninsured and cover all out-of-pocket costs for those with public or private insurance, for as long as this pandemic continues. We need these kind of remedies to help all the individuals and families who are struggling to get the care they need during a pandemic.
Local and State Resources: Many counties and cities have stepped up testing and contact tracing efforts in an effort to better understand and slow the spread of COVID-19. Rental assistance programs have been set up in many counties and cities to help those who are facing financial hardship. Check the COVID-19 page on your locale’s website. Find resources, too, on Marylanders United website.
- Re-entry Town Hall (Virtual) RSVP: www.bit.ly/REENTRYTOWNHALL
https://secure.everyaction.com/VonyKIGJOE6AnhNAGrYNdg2 Thursday July 9 from 5:30-7:30 The Re-entry Working group will host a virtual Re-entry Town Hall. A dire need persists for housing, health care, transition services, and access to voter information for returning citizens in Prince George's County. The group will be presenting its demands to County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy, County Council Vice Chair Calvin Hawkins and Re-entry Advisory Board Chair Walter Simmons.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
Thursday July 9 from 6-7:30 PM the Baltimore City chapter will be holding its second chapter meeting. This month will have a serious focus on mass transit and the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) ballot question here in the city. Read more here from our blog. RSVP for our meeting here (https://secure.everyaction.com/puHXyQqW7EGe-Yub6k6nfQ2), and find out how passing this ballot question will advance our fight for racial, economic, and climate justice in Baltimore and across Maryland.
Mark your calendars because this week we will be holding our July Progressive Maryland Chapter meeting in Montgomery County! We want to take all the amazing energy in the streets and organize into a long term movement that is able to fight for systemic change in our county and state. Our meeting will be this Thursday July 9th from 6-7:30 PM on zoom. RSVP by clicking here.
The Frederick County Progressives will be meeting Saturday, July 12th, at 1:30 PM. This month the FCP will be meeting to discuss the work the chapter has been participating in during the Covid Crisis, chapter growth and development, and planning upcoming events. To contact a member of the FCP directly, you can send an email to [email protected] or contact Progressive Maryland's Regional Organizer in Frederick County, Zach, at [email protected] or at (410) 775-6274
Lower Shore Progressive Caucus next meets Saturday Aug. 1. Find out more here https://www.lowershoreprogressives.com/august_monthly_meeting
EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES
Tuesday July 7 from 6:30-8 PM, the Baltimore County Justice Coalition will be hosting A Virtual Community Conversation About Defunding The Police with panelists Beth Wolde and Ian Miller, two of Progressive Maryland's Justice Task Force organizers. Join Baltimore County Justice Coalition and other members of the Baltimore County community to explore public safety alternatives to policing, and the meaning of ‘defund the police’ and ‘abolition’ as they are being discussed nationally.
Following a panel discussion and Q & A, community members will have an opportunity to share their thoughts with one another. This event also will provide an opportunity to connect with Baltimore County Justice Coalition, a social-political group that is committed to ensuring accountability and transparency among the Baltimore County Police Department. Please register at https://bit.ly/defundpolicebcjc https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-community-conversation-about-defunding-the-police-tickets-111837053638 to attend
Wednesday July 8 from 7-9 PM, discussion/debate between Prince George’s County Council members Tom Dernoga and Dannielle Glaros on CB-48 -- a pending measure that would increase the county’s taxing powers -- with co-moderators Suchitra Balachandran and Stuart Adams, presidents respectively of the West College Park and Calvert Hills Civic Associations. The event is being convened by four College Park City Council members. Dernoga’s and Glaros’s districts jointly cover College Park and they have taken opposing positions on this bill. Access link: http://b.link/CB48TownHall https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82697946073?pwd=QnlDNjgwSnpWNVRQMm5jSWlqeG9nZz09#success
Monday, July 20 | 6:30 PM
Reel and Meal at the New Deal presents “Illegal”
Part of the Utopia Film Festival. The director of “Illegal,” who fled war in El Salvador, hopes to counter the right-wing rhetoric so prevalent these past four years by depicting examples of real people seeking refuge in the US. To register htttps://www.meetup.com/mdcdsa/events/271674658/ For more about this program contact [email protected]
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 [email protected]
We recently published these blog posts:
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!
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.
A Hogan mouthpiece said revenue shortfalls will require “painful choices” but he didn’t say whose pain was involved. Workers can guess – and state workers won’t be the only ones penalized because Hogan will soften the blow to business interests at their expense.
One legislator told Maryland Matters, below, the state workers he has spoken with are "under no delusion that something needs to be done in the face of the deficit, but that they want a seat at the table in the negotiation process."
The Covid-19 pandemic clearly shows why the U.S. needs a health care system that gives every resident access to health care at every stage of life. A system that relies primarily on employer-provided medical insurance is inadequate. Even unemployed people need affordable health care. This nation needs a system that offers health care for all, all the time.
Have your say about this Thursday evening June 25 at 5:30 in our statewide call to create a Health Care Task Force. Please join us for a timely conversation about health and racial justice. RSVP for the virtual meeting here.
Federal protection against evictions ends July 25 and Maryland judges say they will process evictions after that. The governor is being pushed to strengthen protections for low-income renters and mortgage-holders, and municipalities have the power to control rental policy, as this report in Maryland Matters details. Will renters work together to get relief? Watch our statewide call on the pandemic's impact on the long-term housing crisis in Maryland, with testimony for advocates and activists.
>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 protected].
>>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