Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 15, 2021

state_house_image_wikimedia_commons.jpgToday would have been the 88th birthday of Ruth Bader Ginsburg! We remember this great champion of equality and will keep dissenting as long as we need to. Congress should honor her legacy and #RestoreTheVRA. We continue to observe Womxn’s History Month and keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts and the back-and-forth of legislation in the Maryland General Assembly as we approach the last month of the session. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 15, 2021

Dear [first name or Friend],

Today would have been the 88th birthday of Ruth Bader Ginsburg! We remember this great champion of equality and will keep dissenting as long as we need to. Congress should honor her legacy and #RestoreTheVRA. We continue to observe Womxn’s History Month and keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts and the back-and-forth of legislation in the Maryland General Assembly as we approach the last month of the session. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

Making our history today:

“We are still in the midst of celebrating Women’s History Month, but for me I close out this week’s DC Update Memo recognizing the fact that it’s been a year since we lost one of our young Black/African American sisters, Breonna Taylor and we all cannot forget why we fight each day for justice and country that must dismantle the militarization of law enforcement and re-invest funds back into the communities and the future of our next generation.” -- Joy Blackwood, People’s Action

Statewide Updates:

Housing Justice Campaign:

Progressive Maryland's Housing & Judiciary Reform Task Force is hosting a digital town hall TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 16th from 6:30pm-8:00pm, to discuss Maryland's ongoing foreclosure crisis. We will be hearing from experts and homeowners about the ongoing fight to protect Maryland homeowners from the foreclosure industrial complex. RSVP here

                                              

End Medical Debt Campaign: 

Join us this Friday, March 19, from 1-2pm for a Rally to End Medical Debt - RSVP Here.

In the last 10 years, Maryland hospitals have sued over 240,000 of their patients. Medstar hospitals alone account for over 14% of the cases, collecting over $48 million in lawsuits and wage garnishments. No one chooses to get sick, and yet patients are sued for medical debts incurred through no fault of their own. They are continually hounded and harassed by the very institutions that they had to seek help from in their most vulnerable time of their need. This is why we need to encourage Del. Pendergrass and the other members of the Health and Government Operations Committee (HGO) to pass a STRONG version of HB0565 (The Medical Debt Protection Act) out of their committee. Our elected officials will not do the right thing unless we gather our voices together and make them. 

This Friday, we will meet outside of the Medstar Admin Building in Columbia (10980 Grantchester Way, Columbia, MD 21044) and show that the Marylanders refuse to allow this predatory practice to continue. Click here to RSVP. 

The Medical Debt Protection Act (HB0565/SB0514) is under threat. The House HGO Insurance & Pharmaceuticals Subcommittee has stripped the legislation of its key patient protections. The subcommittee is expected to push forward a dramatically weakened amended version of the bill today (Monday 3/15). You can sign on here to show your support for the End Medical Debt Maryland campaign and receive occasional email updates. Please contact Lindsey Muniak ([email protected]) with questions or to get more involved.


Healthcare Justice Campaign:

Thanks to everyone who attended our COVID Forum on March 10. It was a fitting way to mark the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s official declaration of the pandemic in 2020. At our meeting, several healthcare leaders and advocates presented on the state of the state regarding COVID, the problems with the vaccine rollout and the emerging issues around long COVID.  A top concern for our speakers and everyone on the call is the inequity we’re experiencing in the state’s vaccine distribution. Local officials, advocates, and Progressive Maryland have been urging the Hogan Administration for weeks to improve the program. Now it’s time for all of us to call Governor Hogan. Please see the call to action below in our COVID section.


Drug Policy Campaign:

Read and share this informative op-ed on the importance and need for Overdose Prevention Sites to save lives, by PM volunteer and writer Janice Lynch Schuster.

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland

Fair Elections Taskforce Meeting will be held on March 17th at 6:30pm - RSVP here.bailout_sig.jpg

Baltimore City

Baltimore County/ Frederick County/ Western Maryland

The Frederick County Progressives held their monthly meeting Sunday, March 14th, at 1:30pm. We were happy to greet new members at the meeting and expand the group. As The FCP continues to grow, we have plenty of ways for new members to get involved. We are holding an upcoming meeting to discuss how the FCP and its members will be involved locally in work related to the COVID pandemic and helping with equitable vaccine distribution. There will also be opportunities to be involved with deep canvassing efforts in the near future as we build power surrounding the upcoming city elections in 2021 and wider elections coming up in 2022. We would love to see more new faces next month, FCP meetings are held the second Sunday every month. If you're interested in getting more involved in the work being done in Frederick County then please contact the Progressive Maryland Regional Organizer in the area, Zach Kovach, or the FCP Chair, Nick DeSalvio.

Progressive Montgomery

Progressive Prince George’s

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus (Affiliate Chapter)

You are invited to attend our Spring Fundraiser on March 23rd at 6pm! Please register here. It is a virtual event where we will be highlighting local Progressive candidates running on the Shore in 2021 as well as some of the legislative priorities our organization has been working on in Annapolis. Email LSPC for more information.

State and National News: 

This week in Annapolis…

From our allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition --  There are only a few hearings left, and the bills are very late, so you will not see a separate Hearings newsletter this week.  You will see it again next week after Crossover. Both chambers are focused on getting as much legislation as possible through the voting process. So are we!  In order to have a chance at final passage, we need to have all of our bills pass one house before crossover. Follow link for details.

Our allies at the Job Opportunities Task Force are focusing this week on HB 89, to improve educational opportunities for incarcerated folks.  Details, including their other social justice legislative efforts to end the criminalization of poverty, at this link.

An important remedy: HB1204 -- The Transportation Equity Analyses and Assurances Act of 2021 (Transportation Equity Act) -- will make equity a central goal in MDOT planning throughout any and all decision-making processes regarding all modes of transportation in Maryland. Its many sponsors are anchored by the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition

Why do we need it? Maryland has a shamefully long history of racist transportation policies, from highways built through and dividing Black communities to the cancellation of the Red Line route, which would have provided urgently-needed access to jobs for residents in low-income, redlined communities in Baltimore and regional economy-transforming, transit-oriented-development (TOD). Equitable transportation will play a key role in dismantling systemic racism by:

  • Increasing access to good jobs, schools, education, and healthy food;
  • Providing incentives for community economic development; 
  • Reducing smog, air pollution, and heat islands, which disproportionately impact Black communities

Contact YOUR legislators on this important act.

 

Vaccine News and Call to Action:

There’s progress on the virus front as more and Marylanders get vaccinated. The vaccine is the most effective way to save lives and protect people. Unfortunately, we are seeing major gaps between white residents and BIPOC residents getting the shot; BIPOC Marylanders are being left behind in jurisdictions all over the state. This needs to end. To address the problems it will take  more community involvement and input; more sites and more user friendly ways to get appointments; and greater investment  in our public health infrastructure (especially as supplies to the state are expected to increase dramatically in late March and April requiring adequate capacity to deliver the three different vaccines in the mix.) For information about the vaccine, the virus, testing and other news visit the state web site.

Please call Governor Hogan today to demand vaccine equity! Here’s a script we made for you to make it easy :)

On a related note, we know that the digital divide has played a significant role in the administration of the vaccine as well as the ways in which millions of Ameicans can access the services and programs their families need. Many of the issues are summed up in this recent op-ed.

 

Medicare for All:

The bill will be introduced in the U.S. House this Wednesday, March 17, by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. This landmark legislation would improve and expand Medicare; it would provide a way for all Americans to get health coverage no matter their age, location, employment status, or medical situation. We appreciate the leadership of Representatives Raskin, Sarbanes and Brown who are co-sponsoring the measure. To help persuade others in the Maryland delegation to sign on, we’re asking local City and County Councils to pass Medicare For All resolutions that urge our two Senators and other Representatives to become co- sponsors. 

The Prince Georges County Council could see a resolution as soon as this week. Councilmember Deni Taveras is helping to lead the effort. In Montgomery County, local leaders will be meeting with Councilmembers this month about a similar resolution.  Montgomery County residents can help by signing the petition. If  you want to get involved in this campaign and/or think your organization, local civic association, or advocacy group may want  to sign on in support please contact Josh or Patty.

 

National Action Alerts 

From our national allies at People’s Action: American Rescue Plan/COVID Stimulus Relief: On March 12, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan under the watchful eyes of a number of folks: Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, the First Lady Jill Biden, the First Gentleman Doug Emhoff and a number of Democratic lawmakers. We should all take a little time to celebrate all that our People’s Action Family and many of us in the progressive community has done to get this relief package passed. It sets the foundation for us to continue our work in building a bolder vision for the next phase of revitalizing our country as we now turn to what is going to be a tougher fight, which is the recovery side of our work and the 2022 midterm elections. -- People’s Action

 [A critical part of the Rescue Plan legislation helps hard-pressed working families in Maryland and nationwide: The Act’s temporary provisions making the full Child Tax Credit available to all children except those with the highest incomes (sometimes called making the credit “fully refundable”) and making an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) available to far more low-paid workers not raising children in the home (so-called “childless workers”) will result in historic reductions of child poverty and provide timely income support for millions of people, including millions of essential workers. --PM edit

What to Expect (for this week):

House resumes work on Tuesday, March 16: We should expect to see a number of bills voted on this week including H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2021 which offers lawful permanent residence, citizenship, and “equitable” higher education to immigrants who entered the U.S. under the age of 18 (aka Dreamers). This bill also offers permanent residency to Temporary Protected Status recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure beneficiaries, which will allow them to apply for citizenship after five years of residency. H.R. 1603 is also slated to be voted that covers undocumented agricultural workers so they are able to qualify for a new temporary immigration status or permanent legal status. Basically, changing the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program by setting up a pilot program that would allow visa holders to switch jobs without having to re-apply and employers can use the E-Verify program instead. -- People’s Action

Events from our allies:       

MovementPoliticsTeambanner.jpgWednesday, March 17, 8 – 10:30am | Rally in DC in support of Medicare for All 2021 bill. Register here

 

Thursday, March 18, 5:30pm | Remembrance Ceremony for Essential Workers & Rally for Worker Protections. In-person Lawyers Mall, Annapolis + virtual. Event link here

 

Friday, March 19, 10:30am | Maryland Climate Future Rally. In-person at Lawyers Mall, Annapolis + virtual. Info and register here

 

Sunday, March 21, 4-5:30pm | The Overdose Crisis & War on Drugs Teach In by People’s Action. RSVP here.

 

Wednesday, March 24, 7:00pm | Black Lives Matter: Black Women Lead Panel by the Maryland Democratic Party. Register here.

 

Thursday, March 25, 7pm | Student Action Panel on Environmental Rights by MD Campaign for Environmental Human Rights. RSVP here.

 

Tuesday, March 30, 11am-12pm | Sojourner Truth Legacy Project Virtual Program by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Register 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].

- March 13, 2021  Schools reopening, county by county -- the plan up to date

Gov. Hogan has abruptly set the stage for openings across the state, giving local officials fits. Among them are schools, which teachers and their unions insist should be much safer to open for face-to-face learning than they are at this point. The national priority for vaccinating teachers will help, but signs of progress in Maryland are spotty and disputed.

- March 10, 2021  We're not bluffing. Criminal justice/police reform is non-negotiable

Effective criminal justice reform and police accountability are on the line in Annapolis. Today. See floor debate here.  It’s time to show our legislators that we are serious when we say that if they do not act on behalf of the people they are elected to represent then we will replace them. Despite last week's in-person protest in Annapolis, legislators are breaking faith and we must now ensure there are consequences for those who stand on the side of the Fraternal Order of Police in the next Democratic primary in 2022. See all the ways below.

- March 09, 2021 Take action: a foreclosure crisis looms; where is Maryland leadership?

Progressive Maryland's housing and judiciary reform task force will tackle issues of the pandemic housing, foreclosure and eviction crisis at a virtual forum Tuesday, March 16, 6:30-8pm. Join us to face up to the emergency during which joblessness and quarantine have put working families, both mortgage holders and renters, in danger of becoming unhoused during a perilous time.

- Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 8, 2021

- Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 1, 2021

 

>>Read more on the homepage of progressivemaryland.org.



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