memo_logo.pngToday is a significant day in the state's legislative calendar. It's Crossover Day in the General Assembly, which means that any bills that haven't passed out of their original chamber by the time lawmakers adjourn this evening, no longer have a chance of becoming state law this session. We've been tracking committee and floor votes closely to see which bills will still have a path forward when voting wraps up. We’re hoping to celebrate the success of many of our priority bills making it through crossover so read on for updates and actions you can take today to support progressive legislation and build a more just future for our state and communities!

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

 

Here’s what’s in today’s memo:

    • Legislative Updates

    • Women’s History Month

    • PM Task Forces & Issue Campaigns Updates
    • Local Chapter Updates
    • State & National News

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES:

 

Click here to view the suggested dates of interest provided by the General Assembly. 

 

TRACKER: Click here to keep track of all active Maryland bills, their action status, top sponsors, and top committees. You can also view the bills from the previous legislative session. For more detailed updates on this year’s Legislative Session and to search specific bills click here.

 

Update on some of our priority bills we’re supporting:

 

Healthcare

 

Take action on important healthcare legislation! Send an email now asking your lawmakers to support bill HB1337. Click here to send your email.

 

Environmental

 

We’ll be watching closely to see if the Reclaim Renewable Energy Act will make it through one of the chambers tonight. Please take a moment to use our easy tool to send a quick email to the members of the committee and urge them to support the bill! Click here to send your email.

 

Housing

We are hoping that House Bill 477 will be brought to a vote tonight. This bill will prevent landlords from retaliating against tenants who are organizing tenant associations. 

 

Reentry

 

Great news! The Maryland Deaths in Custody Oversight Board bill (HB565 and SB036) has passed out of the House and will now move to the opposite chamber! The Reentry Services for Women Commission and Pilot Program (HB37) has passed out of committee and we are now hoping the bill will move to a floor vote tonight.

 

We’re still trying to push The Fair Choice in Housing Act (HB964 and SB635) to a favorable vote before midnight. Send a quick email to the members of the committee and urge them to support this bill! Click here to send your email.

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: 

Each week, we’ll highlight women leaders in the area, past and present, in different categories to honor their contributions. This week's category: STEM

Henrietta Lacks, born in 1920, was a Black woman who tragically passed away from cervical cancer at the age of 31 in 1951. Born as Loretta Pleasant, she later changed her name to Henrietta. After facing personal challenges, including the placement of her disabled daughter in a psychiatric hospital, Lacks battled cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Her cells, taken without her consent, formed the groundbreaking HeLa cell line, revolutionizing medical research. Despite her significant contribution to science, her exploitation raised ethical concerns. What was done to Henrietta Lacks is perhaps one of the most egregious ethics violations in modern medical history (post antebellum) because of the vast and far-reaching implications her cells have had on medicine. Her life inspired the best-selling book and subsequent film, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Tragically, she passed away in 1951, leaving behind a legacy of medical advancement and ethical reflection.

Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein (1926-2009) was born in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Maryland in 1955. She left an indelible mark on biomedical science during her 50-year career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As the first woman to lead an NIH Institute, serving as Director of NIGMS (National Institute of General Medical Sciences), she shattered glass ceilings and blazed trails for future generations of women in science. She made significant strides in polio research, contributing to the development of the Sabin vaccine. A tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion in science, she played a pivotal role in establishing programs like MARC for minorities at NIH and championed the professional development of women in microbiology.  

Dr. Ligia Peralta, M.D., is a distinguished leader in pediatric and adolescent medicine, renowned for her pioneering work in combating the HIV epidemic among young people. Serving as Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Peralta has integrated her roles as a pediatrician, educator, researcher, and advocate. She has developed innovative programs like the "One Stop Shopping" model, providing comprehensive care for HIV-infected adolescents and vulnerable youth. Dr. Peralta's contributions have earned her prestigious awards, including the Latinos of Distinction Award from the FDA and the White House. She also made history as the first Latina to serve on the National HIV Task Force, shaping treatment guidelines for children and adolescents.

PM Task Forces & Issue Campaigns Updates

Healthcare Justice: Hearing on Thursday, March 7th for HB 1337!

Making Progress on Our Priorities!

 

HB 1337 was passed by the Health Government and Operations Committee (HGO) Having health insurance should mean we get the care we need when and where we need it! That’s why we introduced the bill, sponsored by Delegate Woods, D-26. The legislation, by requiring more data and information from the industry about claim appeals and outcomes, lays the groundwork for  more accountability and transparency from health insurance carriers in our state. 

 

Learn more about this issue and our national campaign: check out last week’s livestream here

 

One of our priority bills and a top priority for the End Medical Debt Campaign Maryland,  HB328, which would prohibit the use of arbitrary, burdensome tests by hospitals to deny low-cost care to low-income patients, passed in the House! There’s a Senate Finance hearing on the measure this Wednesday, March 20.

 

We also lifted up the need to decriminalize HIV at the Healthcare Justice Rally in February. The bill we focused on there, HB485 passed in the House last Friday and now it’s on to the Senate! Congratulations to our allies for all of their excellent work.

 

To find out more about our healthcare organizing and advocacy contact Patty

Returning Citizens Task Force & Black Workers Center

 RCTF’s next meeting will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 pm) with a presentation by Jason Williams, Executive Director, Forged Pathways, and member of Steamfitters Local 602.  He will follow-up with information about the apprenticeship programs featured at the RCTF/Black Worker Center Hiring Fair on February 24 and update us on the legislation Forged Pathways has been advocating in Annapolis.  

 

The key measure that RCTF has been supporting -- the Fair Chance in Housing Bill -- did not pass out of Committee and so this step to reduce discrimination against  returning citizens when seeking housing will have to wait until , at least, next year.  We will debrief about what took place and will also provide updates on the status of criminal justice reform legislation RCTF members and allies have been working to pass in the state legislature.

               

Direct service providers participating in Progressive Maryland’s regrant program will hear from Michael Williams, Director, Returning Citizens Affair Division, Prince George’s Executive Office.

 

If you have any questions about these or would like to get involved please contact Kurt.

Environmental Justice Task Force: Suspense Surrounds the RREA. Will it be Scheduled For a Vote?

 

Suspense lingers in the air as environmental justice advocates and Progressive Maryland’s Environmental Justice Task Force members incessantly fight to get the clear-sighted Reclaim Renewable Energy Act scheduled from the house or senate committees.  If the bill doesn’t get scheduled for a vote, it will die. After the recent RREA Press conference on Feb 29 in Annaplis, media attention of the RREA continues to increase. 

 

Last Tuesday, March 12Aman Azhar, a Washington D.C., based journalist who covers environmental justice for Inside Climate News, published an interview featuring Shenae Thomas, a native Baltimorean and EJTF member. This interview uncovers the enigma Shenae had concerning the incinerator until a member of Progressive Maryland knocked on her door and educated her about the incinerator. This was a life changing event. To read the full interview view it here

 

The fact that there’s still lingering reservations from legislators, even with the RREA being precisely modified from last years bill to focus on removing trash incineration from Maryland’s renewable energy program, is utterly asinine. However, it is the EJTF’s, and RREA coalition’s belief  that legislators will take heed to the proliferating concern from ratepayers not wanting their monthly utility bill supporting toxic energy that is associated with environmental racism: Trash incineration.

 

Stay tuned for updates on an upcoming listening, which is being planned between the EJTF and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

 

Gratitude and Acknowledgements: Aman Azhar Journalist with Inside Climate News, Christianne Maguerite, Communciations Director and Janay Fenner Communications Coordinator staff with  Progressive Maryland. Thank you for helping make the stories of frontline community come to life.

 

Click on this quick action alert to get your legislator’s attention on the RREA

Local Chapter Updates: 

South Prince George’s County 

 

The people of Oxon Hill and surrounding South County decided that we have had enough dealing with greedy corporations skyrocketing our bills and disinvesting from our schools, and committed to building power. We are having a power mapping meeting to decide the next steps for our campaign and map out the power players that could make it happen. This meeting is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 6. RSVP here. Questions? Email Anton.

 News You Can Use: Assembly scuffles to scrape up money to match dreams

 

Most of the action in Annapolis, as we see below, is focused on scraping together enough revenue to cover the state's ambitious transportation and education plans, long-range. New taxes are on the table. Today is "Crossover Day," a largely made-up date by which bills need to have passed at least one chamber of the Assembly to have a good chance of passage by the session's end in about three weeks. Many advocates and corporate lobbyists got overtime (psychic rewards or actual moolah) for navigating the rapids as the Assembly plowed through a weekend of work to see favorite bills make it out of committees or get successful floor votes. Including one about an inquiry into the use of psychedelic substances that may not have crossed your radar. Plus the off-and-on news about a federal shutdown. News You Can Use, for better or worse.

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Progressive Maryland
P.O. Box 6988
Largo, MD 20792

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M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...