Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 8, 2021

tell_congress_we_need_relief_now_PA.pngHappy International Womxn’s Day! 

We are now past the halfway point of the legislative session and some crucial bills still need action -- "crossover" looms in two weeks. See below for what that means and other policy updates and action items, especially on law enforcement reform and ending medical debt. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 



 

Happy International Womxn’s Day! 

We are now at the halfway point of the legislative session and some crucial bills still need action. See below for policy updates and action items, especially on law enforcement reform and ending medical debt. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

Quick Actions:

Statewide Updates:

Statewide Community Forum on COVID-19 - Please join us this Wednesday, March 10, from 6:30-8:00 pm  We will discuss  the need for more equity and health justice in Maryland’s vaccine rollout, the fight to protect workers; and learn about  emerging issues with Long COVID. RSVP here.   

 

Housing Justice Campaign:

Progressive Maryland's Housing & Judiciary Reform Task Force is hosting a digital town hall on 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:

The campaign to pass the Medical Debt Protection Act (HB0565/SB0514) is well underway. This week, legislators on the House HGO Insurance & Pharmaceuticals Subcommittee are considering a number of amendments that would dramatically weaken the protections the bill provides Maryland patients. Let legislators know it's time to protect patients from predatory hospital lawsuits. If you haven't already, send a letter in support of the bill to members of the House HGO Committee at the link here and another to members of the Senate Finance Committee here. It's quick, it's easy, and it makes a difference. You can also sign on here to show your support and receive occasional email updates. Please contact Lindsey Muniak ([email protected]) with any questions or to get more involved!

 

Environmental Justice Campaign:

We will be holding a Leaders Call this Thursday, March 11, at 6:30pm for anyone interested in engaging with us around policy! We will be strategizing how to move forward the top EJ priority bills that need our help in session. It'll be a lot of fun! We'll go over power mapping to find out who our target legislators are and brainstorm how we can best connect with them to get their support. No experience in policy necessary, just enthusiasm and willingness to learn. RSVP here.

 

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

Baltimore City

Baltimore County/ Frederick County/ Western Maryland

Progressive Montgomery

Progressive Prince George’s

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus (Affiliate Chapter)

Please hold the date - March 23rd at 6pm - for our Spring Fundraiser! It is a virtual event where we will be highlighting local Progressive candidates running on the Shore in 2021 as well as highlighting some of the legislative priorities our organization has been working on in Annapolis. Email [email protected] for more information.

State and National News:

 

Child Care Workers shorted on vaccines

Child care was already in crisis in the US before anyone ever heard of COVID-19. In Maryland as much as nationwide, the virus accelerated the need and damaged the capacity of the largely private-sector essential service -- a necessity that is publicly provided in many other nations. Maryland’s child care regulation, parked in the widely criticized state education department, is suffering from poor management of vaccinations for this critical sector, as Maryland Matters outlines.       

 

UMD students stand up for workers

Saying that the University of Maryland College Park "is putting both workers and students at risk by refusing to meet with the union to bargain over basic health and safety precautions," student organizers with United Students Against Sweatshops on Friday held a banner demanding UMD President Pines bargain a contract with AFSCME Local 1072 over pandemic working conditions. "While the university has instituted new regulations such as a sequester-in-place, there were no new actions taken to further protect workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic!" said USAS Local 54. "How many students and workers need to get COVID before UMD will finally agree to keep our community safe and put people over profit? Workers need a fair union contract, which UMD can actually be held accountable to." CLICK HERE for the USAS petition. -- Report from Metro District Council AFL-CIO’s newsletter, Union City.Maryland Governance -- the 2021 Legislative Session

We’re more than halfway through the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) Legislative Session. “Crossover is essentially 14 days from today.  That means that it is pm_state_house_background.jpgimportant that we get as many bills as possible passed out of at least one house [by then],” urge our allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition. They have a list here for your attention and action. Nevertheless, they point out “That doesn't mean there aren't some big bills that have hearings this week” and they have a roundup of those here.

 

And a bill to rescind most parts of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR) -- protections for officers accused of abusive practices, originated here in Maryland -- picked up some damaging amendments in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Commission, as outlined by Maryland Matters. Last Thursday, minutes after a major pro-reforms demonstration on Lawyer’s Mall before the State House, and after weeks of voting, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee had finally moved all nine bills included in the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 over to the House. As the followup article in Maryland Matters reports, reforms continued to be roughed up in House hearings.

 

COVID-19 and Healthcare Justice Campaign

The Progressive Maryland Agenda for A Full and Equitable Response includes measures that  will advance racial equity, support essential workers, provide for safe reopening of schools, and allocate the level of funding that’s needed to meet the needs of ALL Marylanders who have been affected by the pandemic. We join many other organizations and elected officials in the call for a more equitable vaccination program in the state. Please sign the petition to the Governor, House Speaker, and Senate President. 

 

 

 

Throughout this crisis we’ve advocated for the workers on the frontlines of our economy and in our public service sector. There’s a  continued need for PPE and other protections for this universe of Marylanders. It’s important for their well being to get access to vaccine appointments, to receive hazard pay and be included in decisions about safe working conditions. An important bill making its way through the legislature that will help ensure these protections: 

 

 

 

Vaccine News and Updates

The country has doubled the number of vaccine shots being given from one million a day to more than two million. A positive development to be sure.  A third vaccine, coming from Johnson and Johnson (which requires just a single dose) is squarely in the mix now, adding hundreds of thousands more doses in the past couple of weeks. To help Maryland optimize an expected increase in supply it’s important for the state to fix the problems hampering the registration and appointment process. Most importantly, we need to address the issues around  equity in vaccine distribution. For weeks, local officials, especially leaders in Baltimore, Montgomery County and Prince George's County have been calling on the Hogan Administration to deal with equity issues and with the shortcomings in the registration and distribution system. Here’s a March 4 letter to the Governor from the Montgomery County Council. The issues and demands they lay out pertain not just MoCo but to many other underserved areas of the state.  

 

A WAPO article from today pushes back on the narrative about vaccine reluctance.  To be sure we need targeted outreach and education especially from trusted messengers to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. But it’s important to not let the Governor overstate the hesitancy factor as the main barrier to BIPOC residents getting the vaccine. Many other barriers exist and immediate state and local action can help to remove them. Solutions to this urgent issue include: providing more ways for people to register for appointments, setting up more vaccination sites, investing in more vaccinators and support staff, and deploying more mobile vaccination units. In short, creating more capacity. Building more public health infrastructure will serve us in the short term and in the long run. 

 

Medicare for All

Representative Anthony Brown has signed on to co-sponsor the federal Medicare for All legislation. We appreciate his support as well as the leadership of Rep. Raskin and of Rep. Sarbanes who are also co-sponsors. The bill will be introduced in the U.S. House on March 17 by Rep. Pramila Jayapl. 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. To help persuade others in the Maryland delegation to sign on, we’re asking  local City and City Councils to pass Medicare For All resolutions urging our two Senators and other Representatives to become co- sponsors. 

 

We have a local campaign in  Montgomery County so if you live in MoCo: Please take a moment now to sign the petition and share widely with your MoCo friends and family.  Please contact Josh or Patty if you’d like to be part of this effort in Montgomery County or other areas of the state.  [email protected], [email protected]

 

tell_congress_we_need_relief_now_PA.pngNational Action Alerts 

Senate Passes the American Rescue Plan: on the passage in the Senate of the American Rescue Plan in the Senate. Here's also a good article with some details as well as one that talks about how Biden is focusing on the poor in his economic stimulus approach. The Bill now goes back to the House early next week for a vote (on the changes) and then over to the President to be signed.

 

Join The People's Bailout on Monday evening at 7pm ET for a livestream Bread & Roses: Demanding Care & Relief to help get us to the last step. Social media toolkit here or just retweet: https://twitter.com/pplsbailout/status/1368260244921532421 or https://twitter.com/pplsbailout/status/1368216060395130880.

 

Related Progressive Measures

Wealth Tax Bill:  Sen. Warren (D-MA), Rep. Jayapal (D-WA-07) and Rep. Boyle (D-PA-02) have introduced the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act. This bill requires the wealthiest 75,000 households in America, or the top 0.1%, to pay their fair share. It would help us narrow widening racial wealth gaps, rebuild the middle class, and invest in an America that works for all of us. The Ultra-Millionaire Tax would bring in nearly $3 trillion in revenue over 10 years – without raising taxes on the rest of the 99.9% of American households. People’s Action supports this legislation. 

Events from our allies:                   

Tuesday, March 9 |  Join the fight against tax breaks for the rich county-club set! 

MoCo DSA’s bill ending tax breaks for country clubs is sponsored by Del. Gabe Acevero and in committee in the Assembly session now. Join us to watch the committee hearing for this bill together on Tuesday, March 9. The Committee hearing starts at 1:30 pm, the exact timing of when the committee will consider this bill is TBA. RSVP to this event and we’ll send you the details as soon as we know.   

 

Call to action:

Saturday, March 13 | DC Teens Action Memorial/Vigil

DC Teens Action is seeking organizations to collaborate in hosting a Memorial/Vigil in DC to commerorate the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s murder and honor black women who were killed due to anti-Black violence. If your organization is interested in co-hosting please fill out this doodle poll and provide your availability for the first planning meeting: https://doodle.com/poll/h5cbetx45tcxdqkm. For questions, please contact [email protected].

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 1, 2021

Happy March and Womxn’s History Month! 

We are now at the halfway point of the legislative session and some crucial bills still need action. See below for policy updates and action items, especially on law enforcement reform and ending medical debt. This and much more in the Memo.

Thank you for being part of this movement. In Solidarity, The PM Team

February 27, 2021 Assembly bills, communities fight impact of power plants in Prince George's

 

The impact of a cluster of polluting fossil fuel power plants on children and neighborhoods has sparked bills in this Assembly session in response. A Maryland Matters report and independent research provided to the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace fleshes out this instance in which environmental racism and profit are causing officials to look the other way.

 

February 25, 2021 At least four Assembly bills aim to advance environmental justice

 

Efforts to bring environmental justice to impacted communities -- such as Brandywine in Prince George's County, where Black communities have several polluting power plants placed or scheduled in their immediate neighborhood -- are emerging in the Assembly session. That includes significant upgrading of a commission on environmental justice that has lapsed into near-inactivity, lawmakers note. Maryland Matters recounts the state of play.

 February 05, 2021 WEEKENDER: Working together to tackle the bad state of the state

What is crushing our communities during the COVID emergency? In many ways, they are the same social factors that keep our vulnerable communities under stress at most times – but the COVID crisis has cruelly exposed those factors. Hogan's "State of the State 2021" chatfest dodged big issues and made current miseries sound like our fault, not his. But there are paths we can take that will get us out.

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