Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 9, 2020

maryland_state_house.jpgIn the Memo this week: a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives as the Session is nearing the home stretch; news from our chapters, events from our progressive allies, and of course our recent blog posts.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday March 9 2020

FOR STARTERS: What a week in Annapolis for The Blueprint – the essential improvements needed for our schools statewide, based on the Kirwan Commission proposals! In case you missed it, on Friday the House of Delegates passed The Blueprint 96-41. This is a major milestone as the bill now moves to the State Senate. The most important thing we can do right now is to contact our leaders in the Senate. Please use this link to reach out to your State Senators and please share it with your network. Together, we will pass and fully fund The Blueprint to give every Maryland child a world-class education. It’s time and our kids can’t wait. Statewide, activist partner Strong Schools Maryland is a place to put your efforts for a world-class school system.

This Tuesday, March 9th Montgomery County Education Association will be hosting a Parent Meeting where they will be discussing the state of the contract negotiations between MCEA and MCPS. Please consider coming by to find out how we can stand in support of Montgomery County educators in the fight for the schools our students and communities deserve. The meeting will be at 12 Taft Court, Rockville MD, from 6:30-8:00pm. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm and it is ok to come at 7. Kids are welcome and we hope to see you there!

 

AND IN ANNAPOLIS, LOTS MORE

 In the Memo this week: a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives as the Session is nearing the home stretch; news from our chapters, events from our progressive allies, and of course our recent blog posts.

Don't miss the Annex -- a separate post with all you will ever need to keep track of this week's bills and hearings, from our allies at the Maryland Legislative Coalition.

 Progressive Maryland is working to improve the flawed election process in Maryland and in its jurisdictions, where big money seems to talk all too loudly, drowning out the voices of working families and those of less means.

Two important bills in pursuit of Fair Elections are making their way through the Session– one, SB 613/HB1125, strengthening the existing public-financing provisions for the race for Governor and adding the state Attorney General and Controller to the program, and the second, HB1351/SB0947, sets up a Fair Elections public financing electoral process for members of the Assembly, in which small-donor contributions are matched with public funds. Progressive Maryland and Maryland Working Families testified in favor of both bills; read our testimony here or in the blog roundup below. SB0947 needs a vote in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee to move on to a floor vote in time to stay viable this year, so if you have a senator on that committee – well, bug him or her. The Fair Election method is catching on in major counties and jurisdictions throughout the state either in place or pending an effective date after having been adopted in Baltimore City and Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s counties.

But lots more is happening in Annapolis this week and down the road – so much so that we have put the full info in a separate post, linked here. There the progressive activist will find something to do every day in the state capital – bills on preserving and expanding our access to health care coverage; on ending the criminalization of poverty by a skewed system of criminal justice, and on transformational, not just tweaked, education reform as embodied by the Kirwan school improvement plan. This material has been gathered by our allies at the Job Opportunities Task Force and the Maryland Legislative Coalition. It is a lot of work and they have earned your support.

Here are some of the Lobby Days/Nights still coming up. See an issue you are especially impacted by? You can join activists to lobby for a better Maryland. Follow links for details and contact information.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9:00 am - Strong Schools Maryland
Monday, March 9th - 1:00 pm - Fair Elections Check-In

All these proposed bills have to jostle for room inside some form of state budget. Kevin Kinnally of Conduit Street, the newsletter of the Maryland Association of Counties, has a roundup on the Budget Briefing presented to legislators early in the session by the Department of Legislative Services. It is more than you ever wanted to know, but features outstanding explanatory graphics. https://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/2020/01/20/fiscal-briefing-highlights-budget-big-picture/

 

Progressive Maryland’s BlogSpace and Weekly Memos will follow the Assembly session – but when that ends in April, we’ll keep going with our advocacy for progressive efforts in Maryland and, sometimes, how they are echoed in the wider region and nation.

And speaking of helpful emails – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email.

OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE

Progressive Prince George’s 

Prince George’s Chapter Update – the Blueprint for Maryland Schools

Activists continue working to update voters on the status of the Blueprint for Maryland Schools https://www.marylandblueprint.org/  in the General Assembly. The Blueprint, also known as the Kirwan Commission recommendations, is critical to achieving educational and racial equity and to increasing and strengthening the number of community schools in PG and around the state. In past weeks, canvassers have been door knocking and distributing yard signs from Bowie to Temple Hills. The most important thing we can do right now is to contact our leaders in the Senate. Please use this link to reach out to your State Senators and please share it with your network. Together, we will pass and fully fund The Blueprint to give every Maryland child a world-class education. It’s time and our kids can’t wait. Statewide, activist partner Strong Schools Maryland is a place to put your efforts for a world-class school system.

If you would like a Blueprint yard sign or want to learn more about upcoming events in support of the Blueprint, Community schools, and PGCPS related issues contact Patty Snee  at patty@progressivemaryland.org. Stay tuned for continuing updates on our local organizing.slate_for_school.jpg

 

PMD Montgomery 

: What a week in Annapolis for The Blueprint – the essential improvements needed for our schools statewide, based on the Kirwan Commission proposals! In case you missed it, on Friday the House of Delegates passed The Blueprint 96-41. This is a major milestone as the bill now moves to the State Senate. The most important thing we can do right now is to contact our leaders in the Senate. Please use this link to reach out to your State Senators and please share it with your network. Together, we will pass and fully fund The Blueprint to give every Maryland child a world-class education. It’s time and our kids can’t wait. Statewide, activist partner Strong Schools Maryland is a place to put your efforts for a world-class school system.

 

This Tuesday, March 9th, MCEA will be hosting a Parent Meeting where they will be discussing the state of the contract negotiations between MCEA and MCPS. Please consider coming by to find out how we can stand in support of Montgomery County Educators in the fight for the schools our students and communities deserve. The meeting will be at 12 Taft Court, Rockville MD, from 6:30-8:00pm. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm and it is ok to come at 7. Kids are welcome and we hope to see you there!

Important education issues, state and local, continue to be a key focus of our Montgomery County organizing.

 MARCH EVENTS:

On the local level we’re supporting the Education Association’s call to the School District and the County Council and Executive to fully fund our public schools. MCEA is in the midst of contract negotiations with MCPS.  At two recent bargaining sessions, the Education Association’s president, Chris Lloyd, stressed the need to increase funding by $100 million over maintenance of effort to meet critical staffing and program needs in our schools.

Please join us at the Parent Community Meeting TOMORROW, Tuesday March 10 at 6:45 at the MCEA office at 12 Taft Court in Rockville to learn more about the negotiations and the proposals from MCEA to create a better school system. More above about this.

   Actions Needed: Local

             Turn out to support our teachers at the next bargaining session on Monday March 16 at 15 W. Gude St. Rockville, 3rd floor.

Please contact County Executive Marc Elrich and our County Council Members to urge them to vote for full funding for our schools

 Marc.Elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/members/index.html

We’ll share dates and activities regarding public budget hearings at the Council this month as they get scheduled.

Districtwide Boundary Analysis: Support a process that will help positively shape MCPS now and in the future.  Progressive Maryland supports this Analysis and is getting signatures to a letter that One Montgomery has written to the School Superintendent and School Board Chair. 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HCGNjDMnfLJsKWGZHDHQ4bLkeC8vrgO6K4NEomZungc/viewform?edit_requested=true

Please sign and share with at least three other folks! We need to show there’s public support for gathering up-to-date data and facts about the operations and workings of our growing district.

Actions Needed: State

We support full funding of the Kirwan Commission game-changing recommendations for the Maryland public school system. We oppose Governor Hogan’s attempts to defeat the measure through a million dollar ad campaign.  Many elected officials from the MOCO delegation (and numerous of their colleagues from around the state) see the short and long term value of this Blueprint for our school system, our economy and our state. They have promised strong support and are committed to finding the revenue we need for Kirwan.

The measure is however facing some serious opposition so we need to keep organizing.

Please email, write, or call your Delegates and State Senators asking them to fully fund all of the Kirwan recommendations. Here are some suggested points you can use, courtesy of our allies at Strong Schools Maryland:

  • Our students and schools are the winners when these recommendations get funded. Maryland schools have been underfunded for too long, our kids can’t wait.
  • Support the full range of proposed systems changes. Taken together, they will make a difference for all Maryland students--the changes needed in education practice and funding require a comprehensive approach, not a selective one.
  • We need full funding. Taking action this year will help us avoid much bigger costs in state and local dollars for social services in the future.
  • The new funding formula ensures that all districts receive enough funding AND it will help fix many inequity issues in the current school funding formula.

 Thank you for taking action on these issues at this very critical time. Contact Patty Snee at patty@progressivemaryland.org  or Josh Raznick at josh@progresssivemaryland.org if you want to learn more and get involved in the MOCO Chapter’s work on education and other issues.

Frederick County Progressives

Take Action Anne Arundel County

Talbot Rising

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus 

PMD Baltimore


 

EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES

Wednesday MAR 11 Greenbelt Climate Action Network 7 - 9 PM March meeting "Changing the System through Non-violent Direct Action". Learn more about planned action and why the organizers feel that "direct action" is the best way to effect change. Greenbelt Community Center, Room 114 -- 15 Crescent Rd, Greenbelt, MD   https://www.facebook.com/events/726104001129562/

Thursday MAR 19 March on Annapolis for Jobs and Justice 8 AM House office building, 6 Bladen St. Info and RSVP https://www.eventbrite.com/e/march-on-annapolis-for-jobs-justice-tickets-95513917699

Sunday APR 5 MoCo DSA 🌹General Branch Meeting 2:00 PM, Silver Spring Library, 900 Wayne Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

 

>>And see our list of progressive organizations’ Lobby Days in Annapolis, in the Annex

>>Baltimore progressives, Check in on the wide-ranging Baltimore Activist Alert calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/


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 woodlanham@gmail.com

We recently published these blog posts:

 

March 06, 2020 Activists, legislators press constitutional remedy for Citizens United decision

The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision (2010) has unleashed a decade of big money into political campaigns at the national and state level. Activists propose a constitutional amendment to declare corporations are not persons with first amendment rights, which finding caused the trouble in the first place. Others worry about opening up the US Constitution to amendments by forces that -- yep -- have unchecked money to spend. Here a Maryland activist argues for a long-sought Assembly resolution favoring constitutional action. We include a link to Thursday's hearing on the measure.

 

March 03, 2020 Miller moves to erase local vetos over state highway projects

Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) has been a foe of much legislation to benefit working and low-income families throughout his long and dogged tenure as Senate autocrat. Now that he has left the top spot he seems determined to continue the state’s top-down control on anything involving spending projects – just as he did as Senate prez, despite giving lip service to local autonomy in areas where big money and the corporate wealthy who wield those dollars were not an issue. Now he moves to return top-down control over money projects to the state of Maryland.

Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters outlines the stakes, the stakeholders and the return of Mike Miller to bigfoot status.

 

March 02, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 2, 2020

In the Memo this week: a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives in week NINE of the Session; news from our chapters, events from our progressive allies, and of course our recent blog posts.

 

March 02, 2020 Annapolis Annex to the Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, March 2, 2020

Here is all you will need to navigate the flurry of bills, hearings and activities that roil the Maryland General Assembly session as we enter Week NINE of the three-month marathon. Our progressive allies at the Job Opportunities Task Force and the Maryland Legislative Coalition have your scorecard and action plan.

 

February 25, 2020 Public funding for state candidates will democratize a flawed electoral system

Two important bills in pursuit of Fair Elections had hearings last Friday (Feb. 20) – one, SB 613/HB1125, strengthening the existing public-financing provisions for the race for Governor and adding the state Attorney General and Controller to the program, and the second, HB1351/SB0947, sets up a Fair Elections public financing electoral process for members of the Assembly, in which small-donor contributions are matched with public funds. Progressive Maryland testified in favor of both bills last week.

Here is testimony in support of both bills before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee as delivered Friday, Feb. 20 by Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford.


>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 woodlanham@gmail.com.

>>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