Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 29, 2021

CampaignMiscImage_1594309709.6756.pngWe stood with our AAPI family in sorrow and solidarity over the racist mass shootings in Atlanta in recent weeks. As the shootings in Boulder, Colo. show us, we struggle not only with the otherizing motives of the violent but with their easy access to murderous weapons and the law’s enablement of their makers and sellers. We stand against all forms of racism and gender based violence -- and the way greed caters to and encourages them.

April approaches and with it the wrapup of our state Assembly session; we continue to keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts, struggles for justice in Congress and the back-and-forth of state legislation. This and much more in the Memo.



 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 29, 2021

We stood with our AAPI family in sorrow and solidarity over the racist mass shootings in Atlanta in recent weeks. As the shootings in Boulder, Colo. show us, we struggle not only with the otherizing motives of the violent but with their easy access to murderous weapons and the law’s enablement of their makers and sellers. We stand against all forms of racism and gender based violence -- and the way greed caters to and encourages them.

April approaches and with it the wrapup of our state Assembly session; we continue to keep you up to date on both the fast-moving, national-level COVID relief efforts, struggles for justice in Congress and the back-and-forth of state legislation. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team


Quick Actions:

Statewide Updates:

Healthcare Justice Campaign: Ending Medical Debt: 

An amended version of the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 (HB 565/SB 514) has passed the House & Senate unanimously and is on its way to the governor's desk. It doesn't look exactly like the bill we hoped to pass this year, but this legislation will still make a huge difference for many Marylanders struggling under the burdens of medical debt. It's a vital first step toward ensuring medical debt protections for all patients.

So, what's next for the End Medical Debt Maryland coalition? The fight to protect Maryland patients is only just beginning!

Join us in Baltimore for a Rally to End Medical Debt this Saturday April 3rd from 12:30-1:30pm in front of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Billings Administration Building at 601 N Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21287. Let’s tell our legislators that we plan to keep fighting for people affected by this issue,  we're not going anywhere.  We'll be social distancing and following strict COVID safety protocols. Please RSVP on our Action Network page and/or Facebook event page for more details and updates as we finalize our list of speakers and performers. All are welcome!

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 any questions or to get more involved.

Fighting COVID-19:

We appreciate the Progressive Maryland and Healthcare Task Force leaders who have been pushing for equitable distribution of doses over the past several weeks--it’s paying off. The CampaignMiscImage_1594309709.6756.pngcalls by our folks, other advocates and local officials for more state support of public health departments and more partnerships with nonprofits has spurred a response from the Hogan Administration. Of course, getting a boost in the supplies coming to the state has helped, too. 

According to the state website, maryland.gov, more than 2,500,000 doses have now been administered and more than 911,000 people have been fully vaccinated in Maryland.  New mass vaccination sites will open in Montgomery County in Germantown (finally!) and at the Timonium Fairgrounds in early April, followed by sites starting up in Frederick, Anne Arundel, Harford, and Howard Counties. And more clinics and mobile units are getting added to as well as transportation services which should help vulnerable Marylanders have more options for getting the shot. We appreciate the thousands of staff, volunteers, doctors, nurses, National Guard members, and other dedicated public servants who are central to the vaccination rollout.

Maryland is now in Phase 2 A of distribution. For pre-registration, everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible. Here’s the link. Please get registered and get vaccinated. If you would like to learn how to volunteer at some of the sites or have information about needs or opportunities please reach out to Josh or Patty.

It’s absolutely critical for everyone to continue following the public health guidelines. Cases and hospitalizations are rising again in Maryland and many states. This disturbing trend is due in part to the lifting of restrictions and the presence of a number of variants. Dr. Fauci is urging public officials to “hold on a little longer” in terms of easing restrictions . More information about the current situation and recommendations from the CDC can be found in this transcript of today’s White House Briefing.

 Please stay vigilant: wear masks, social distance, limit travel except for essential trips and avoid gatherings.

The fight against this global pandemic requires a united worldwide effort. We need to end the pandemic everywhere in order to ensure the health of people everywhere. It’s in our interest as a nation for other countries, especially in the global south, to get access to vaccine doses as soon as possible. Inequities in global distribution are preventing access to life saving vaccines for many countries. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has the power to waive the Trade and Intellectual Property Rules (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccines which would speed up the production of vaccines and make it easier for other nations, not just the rich countries, to get the doses they need.  We’re joining with People’s Action, our national affiliate, in calling on the Biden Administration to demand that the WTO to grant this waiver. The President has an incredible opportunity to exert U.S. global leadership on this critical public health policy and to help save millions of lives around the world. 


Medicare for All:

The Medicare for All Act of 2021, H.R. 1976, was introduced on 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, income, location, employment status, or medical situation. Three members of our U.S. House Delegation are already co-sponsoring the measure. Our hats off to Representatives Raskin, Sarbanes and Brown for their leadership. The bill has 113 co-sponsors to date. We must persuade others in the Maryland Congressional delegation to sign on. That’s why we’re organizing! 

If you live in CD-7 and are a constituent of Rep. Mfume please send him an email today asking him to sign on. On Thursday, April 1, at 6:30 we’ll have a phone bank to call his constituents to let them know about the Medicare For All Act of 2021 and to ask them to call their Congressman. Please join us! RSVP here. All are welcome--we’ll provide training, camaraderie and updates on how we’re building the campaign.

 Help us pass local resolutions in support of Medicare For All! Montgomery County folks: You can help by signing the petition to the Council asking them to pass a Medicare for All Resolution. Ask your local civic association or group to sign an organizational letter of support. 

Prince George’s County supporters:The Medicare for All Resolution has been introduced by CM Deni Taveras (D-2) and is being sponsored by six other Councilmembers.  A hearing on the Resolution may take place in early April.  We need folks to testify or submit testimony in support of the resolution. Interested? Please reach out to Josh or Patty.

If you’d like to bring a local resolution to your County, City or Town Council please reach out, you can help us build political momentum for Medicare For All across the state. 

 

Housing Justice Campaign

Housing bill in the Assembly: Tenant Evictions During COVID-19 - B1312 Landlord and Tenant - Eviction Actions - Catastrophic Health Emergencies - Delegate Wilkins. This bill will require 48 hours notice to any resident or tenant who is facing eviction and it prohibits eviction of any tenant who owes less than $600 in rent. It will also allow for a grant program to be established by any local jurisdiction to establish an Eviction Prevention Program. Find out more, including how to support the bill, in the Legislative Coalition’s Monday dispatch.

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland

Our next full meeting is April 21st at 6:30pm - RSVP here.

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

Montgomery County Justice Working Group

Join together with members of the Progressive Montgomery community to get organized and educated on justice issues in Montgomery County. We will be working on judicial reform, criminal justice issues, and any issues that are important to YOU. 

 

Progressive Prince George’s

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus (Affiliate Chapter) our monthly meeting is this coming Thursday, April 1st at 6pm, virtual. REGISTER HERE

 

State and National News: 

Maryland Tax Policy -- check out Sen. Paul Pinsky’s solid argument for combined reporting requirements to keep big corporations from gaming Maryland’s tax policy.

This week in Annapolis…

Our allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition report: Two weeks to go. This week, we need to focus on the really impactful bills that need help.  Those bills include The TRUST Act - SB0088/HB0304, getting local law enforcement out of Federal immigration enforcement; Essential Worker Protections HB0581/SB0486 with enhanced paid sick leave provisions and more; Climate Solutions Now Act - SB0414 This is the Clean Energy Jobs Act, but bigger, bolder and better; Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights (LEOBR) - HB0670 Police Reform and Accountability Act of 2021 and SB0627 Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021; and Tenant Evictions During COVID-19 - HB1312 Landlord and Tenant - Eviction Actions, which protects renters and mortgage holders from losing their homes during the pandemic. See the Coalition’s whole explainer here, including what we are asking you to do to push for these bills. And see their list of hearings for this week here.

 Our allies at the Job Opportunities Task Force are pushing to expand and improve paid sick days during public health emergencies by supporting amendments that would combine House Bill 581 protecting essential workers and the Healthy Working Families Act, which added paid sick leave to Maryland’s labor law. The result would add public health emergency factors to the paid sick leave law that JOTF and allies like Progressive Maryland fought six years to pass. A global health pandemic has underscored how woefully insufficient the state’s law is in protecting low-income workers. The Business Regulations Subcommittee of the Economic Matters Committee will have the final say, so check out who you need to influence. See the full explainer in JOTF’s Monday alert.

 

National action alerts from People’s Action

Our national affiliate asks if during Congressional Recess you or any of your member group leaders/activists/advocates are meeting with your state/district elected official? PA can assist with providing information or staff contacts in-district/state. Please contact either me or our campaigns director, Sondra Youdelman ([email protected]) if you need assistance or sample templates/information. 

Speaking of meeting with the pols, People’s Action leadership scored a meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, last week to remind him there are 40-plus state level organizations like Progressive Maryland under the PA umbrella. A top priority for Schumer and for the PA leaders is the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act, to ensure that voting rights remain free of the noxious laws being passed by GOP-controlled state legislatures. PA and other progressive organizations will be boosting solutions that will free the Senate from the tyranny of the filibuster, which could block any progress this year and beyond.

Finally, Joy Blackwood, who sends a Monday update from People’s Action, notes “We have a few more days left of Women’s History Month and to end the month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was joined by a few trailblazers in Congress - Reps. Barbara Lee, Doris Matsui, and Jackie Speier. I found the broadcast and conversation to be interesting, others might feel the same. Click the link to watch the broadcast.”

 

Events from our allies:   

Monday, March 29  -- Political education | 6:30 – 8:30pm | NEW Socialist Night School: Eugene Debs and American Socialism 

As a five-time presidential candidate and founding member of both the Socialist Party of America and Industrial Workers of the World, Eugene Debs’ legacy has loomed large over the American socialist movement. Join Shawn Gude (of Jacobin and Substack’s Debs Dispatch) to explore the many facets of Debs’ legacy. Register at link.

Tuesday, March 30, 11am-12pm | Sojourner Truth Legacy Project Virtual Program by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, celebrate the rise in Black women’s political leadership. Register here.  

Tuesday, March 30 -- Join People’s Action and friends on Tuesday, March 30 at 3 p.m. Eastern for a virtual town hall to celebrate the passage of the American Rescue Plan and to talk about the importance of ongoing direct cash relief for American families.


Saturday, April 3 | 2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA April Branch Meeting - Info and registration here.

Wednesday, April 7 | 4pm Parents, students and educators car rally at Eleanor Roosevelt High School because they want to go back to in-person learning ONLY WHEN IT’S SAFE with improved ventilation, enforcement of masking, vaccinations for teachers and flexibility on teleworking. 

 

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].  

-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 22, 2021
We stand with our AAPI family in sorrow and solidarity over the racist mass shootings in Atlanta. We stand against all forms of racism and gender based violence. We have joined many groups in signing the Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta statement: “A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities”; and our national affiliate People’s Action has released a press statement. Furthermore, here is a statement that we support from the MoCo Progressive Asian American Network in response to these hate crimes.  Keep 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.

-March 16, 2021 Assembly aims to adjust Kirwan plan to tackle post-COVID landscape

The General Assembly is tweaking -- and in some cases adjusting big-time -- the huge program called the Blueprint for Education to make sure the Kirwan plan adapts to the needs of a post-COVID landscape and to the learning loss that the past year has brought to Maryland's K-12 students. This Maryland Matters coverage shows the possibilities.

-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 15, 2021

- 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.