Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, November 8, 2021

memo_logo.pngWe’ve had a busy start to November and we can’t let up until Congress votes to pass the Build Back Better budget deal, the Freedom To Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  And given the attacks by right wing lawmakers around the country on reproductive rights and on policies that support unions and the right to organize we should also be urging the House and  Senate to  pass legislation that will  guarantee abortion health care for women and workplace democracy for workers. Congress did pass and the President did sign the infrastructure bill (BIF) last week. We preferred to see Infrastructure and BBB voted on at the same time but there is a promise and a plan coming together for a vote next week on the budget deal. There are things to cheer about in the infrastructure bill: job creation, funding to  help mitigate environmental and health hazards posed by lead water pipes and Superfund sites, and investments in public transit and the manufacture of solar panels and wind farms that will help us green our energy supply. But we have more to do. Read on, and find out how to pitch in.



 

We’ve had a busy start to November and we can’t let up until Congress votes to pass the Build Back Better budget deal, the Freedom To Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  And given the attacks by right wing lawmakers around the country on reproductive rights and on policies that support unions and the right to organize we should also be urging the House and  Senate to  pass legislation that will  guarantee abortion health care for women and workplace democracy for workers. Congress did pass and the President did sign the infrastructure bill (BIF) last week. We preferred to see Infrastructure and BBB voted on at the same time but there is a promise and a plan coming together for a vote next week on the budget deal. There are things to cheer about in the infrastructure bill: job creation, funding to  help mitigate environmental and health hazards posed by lead water pipes and Superfund sites, and investments in public transit and the manufacture of solar panels and wind farms that will help us green our energy supply. The larger Build Back Better proposal will deliver financial relief to Americans by lowering the prices for Rx prescriptions and the cost of child care. Support for underpaid health care workers, four weeks of paid  family and medical leave and  the possibility for a roadmap to citizenship for the folks in  our country who need it are also contained in the progressive version of the bill. Call  your Member of Congress today! House Switchboard: 202 224-3121,  Senate: 202 224-3121            

Tell them to back the fullest version of BBB with all these provisions. We know that with so much happening in so many aspects of our lives the news can  often be confusing and overwhelming.  Part of our job at Progressive Maryland is to help folks know what’s happening and with your help come up with a plan on how to take action. 

Thanks for keeping the faith and for taking action to win long lasting social change. 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

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Progressive Maryland is organizing at the grassroots level for economic, social and political justice. We have a chance for our message and our policy priorities to break through now and in the coming months in Washington and Annapolis. Help us gain more ground by becoming a member of Progressive Maryland.

Our members strengthen our grassroots organizing and through their financial support help us reach Marylanders all over the state. In turn, PM provides its members important updates, invitations to some great leadership and political training sessions, and opportunities to help guide our chapter building, our issue and electoral priorities and other decisions. Please join today so we can build a better Maryland.

Quick Actions:

 

 

Statewide Updates:

Throwdown Thursdays 

Phonebank and text bank with our team every Thursday at 6pm. Every week we'll be phoning or texting voters across the state.We’ve activated folks on key issues and now we’re going to talk to them about the  upcoming elections! Please come out for this event!  Click this link to let us know you’re coming! Have fun and meet people from around the state.

 

This Thursday, Nov. 11, we’re doing something a little new and exciting! We’ll be calling dedicated members of Progressive Maryland to announce and invite them to our big Candidate Slate Launch. New to calling? New to election work? No problem, we’ll show you all you need to know!


Listen to our Virtual Town Hall with Senator Van Hollen A Conversation about the Build Back Better Agenda in Congress.

 

New Era PAC Friend & Fundraisers:

It’s November, which means we are a year out from the 2022 general elections and just about seven months away from the June primaries. We need to pull out all the stops to organize for progressive victoies across the boar.  happen. Progressive champions will be running for seats in the Maryland General Assembly, on County Councils, School Boards and for other positions. The New Era PAC powers our election work and the PAC needs your help. 

 

 

Our Drug Policy Taskforce is working to demand that Congress pass the MAT Act (Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment) which will allow folks suffering from substance use disorder easier access to lifesaving treatment like Buprenorphine. Email Jesse if you want to learn more:  [email protected] 

 

Healthcare Justice Campaign Expand Medicare and Childcare:

Listen to our Virtual Town Hall with Senator Van Hollen A Conversation about the Build Back Better Agenda in Congress.

We’re still pushing to get the Build Back Better Act to include prescription price negotiations to lower drug costs and for provisions that will lower childcare costs for families.  When it comes to Medicare expansion the benefits need to include dental and vision coverage not just hearing. Call  your Member of Congress today! House Switchboard: 202 224-3121,  Senate: 202 224-3121            

Questions? Want to get involved? Please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

 

Fighting COVID:

Vaccine shots for children ages 5 and up will help us end the pandemic and protect school children and staff. Mandates and ongoing public education are contributing to an uptick in vaccination rates but COVID hot spots still riddle the U.S map and parts of western Maryland, the Eastern Shore and some urban neighborhoods are lagging in vaccination rates.The health, economic and housing challenges related to the pandemic haven’t gone away  Now is not the time to let up on COVID measures and recovery efforts. Please tell our state leaders.  Maryland officials recently announced that we have a $2.5 billion state budget surplus. Let’s invest that money and any of the additional federal rental relief money we have to keep people safe, healthy and housed. . 

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Baltimore County: 

Listen to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney Candidate Forum if you missed it last week!

 

Progressive Harford County: 

Tuesdays are the new hottest night in Harford County. Starting this week, Progressive Harford County will hold a casual happy hour before heading to the weekly County Council hearings. Join us on Nov. 9 at Looney's Pub (312 S. Main St., Bel Air, MD 21014) for our first happy hour at 6:30 p.m. and then head to the County Council Legislative Session (212 S. Bond St., Bel Air, MD 21014) at 7:30 p.m. Come out to get to know other progressives and then make our voices heard together at the County Council Legislative Session.

The town hall with Jacob Bennett, Democratic Harford County Council - District F primary candidate, is Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Zoom. Register now for the town hall.

 

Progressive Montgomery:

Interested in joining our environmental justice or election teams? We’re seeking MoCo folks who want to get involved in local organizing on these exciting campaigns. Contact [email protected] if you’re interested. 

 

Progressive Prince George's

Activists get more done when we struggle together! "Prince George's Deserves Better" and we can make it happen. Contact PM organizer DaJuan at [email protected] to get involved.

 

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus:

The Maryland General Assembly is seeking public input on redistricting for our state legislative and congressional/federal election districts. Your public comments will have a direct impact on how our state and federal legislative districts will look for the next ten years. For this reason, several community leaders, organizations, and concerned Eastern Shore residents have come together to form Chesapeake for Redistricting A Better Maryland (CRAB MD). CLICK THIS LINK TO ADD YOUR VOICE.



State and National News:  

Maryland focus: Maryland parents and teachers are feeling pretty energized because despite Hogan’s last-ditch veto delays the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future has finally been passed by the General Assembly and serious improvements in school funding and management are going into effect. But where are we starting from? Many parents and local officials are still stuck in the outdated notion that Maryland is a top school system. But in 2019 the state was – just barely – a notch above very very average in school spending., as we see from this chart in Education Week. So we need to buckle down, especially considering the deep losses to student progress that we have suffered since the pandemic arrived in early 2020. The gap between Maryland’s top schools and our struggling schools has widened, in some cases catastrophically, and the communities that surround and depend on those schools can often thrive or struggle along with them. The Blueprint funding package includes additional resources for the struggling schools. Are they arriving yet? Each district must satisfy  itself on that, but some report there are still big disparities. 

Maryland legislators reacted to Friday night/Saturday morning House passage of the bipartisan infrastructure billThe Sun reports “Those [$6 billion for Maryland] include five years of funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay program, and language allowing the Red Line — a planned Baltimore light rail system rejected by Gov. Larry Hogan six years ago — to be revisited.” The larger human-needs BBB bill can get a House vote after a Congressional Budget Office scoring shows it is paid for, according to conservative House Dems.

 

In case you missed it, read this piece by our Executive Director, Larry Stafford, in Maryland Matters : Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore

 

Evictions are still happening, just under cover of other, sexier news. Low-income Maryland renters fear becoming part of the casualty list as Goldman Sachs projects three quarters of a million families evicted for nonpayment nationally by the end of 2021, as the financial mag The Economist reported in mid-October. Our state has missed its federal requirement for spending the rental relief money the US has already allocated. The New York Times reports that eviction is not the “tsunami” that was feared. “Instead, what’s emerging is a more gradual eviction crisis that is increasingly hitting communities across the country, especially those where the distribution of federal rental assistance has been slow, and where tenants have few protections.

“Most tenants are forced to leave their rental units not because of formal eviction proceedings, but because they’ve been illegally locked out or their utilities have been shut off, or because they want to avoid an eviction being added to their record by leaving on their own.,” the Times account continues. And the profit motive is strong: “...even now, experts say, the available numbers dramatically undercount the number of tenants being forced from their homes either through court-ordered evictions or informal ones, especially as rising rents make seeking new tenants increasingly profitable for landlords.” When new tenants move in, The Economist also noted, is the moment that rents routinely rise.


>>Maryland Matters reported that beginning November 1, young adults in Maryland can enroll in a health insurance program through the state’s public health benefits exchange platform for as little as $1 a month. 

 

National Update

Speaking of health care, People’s  Action’s roundup on the fortunes of the two bills battled over in the House, now that they are unlinked, shows: “Here is the White House’s summary of the plan to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices that was agreed to in the BBB Act. The benefits of the plan will increase over time as the cumulative [effect] of drug price negotiation grows. Medicare will at first negotiate prices for 10 drugs a year beginning in 2025 (Medicare Part B & D drugs) whose FDA exclusivity has expired (typically 9-12 years); the number would increase to 20 per year starting in 2028. The cost of insulin will be lowered for all insured people with an out of pocket maximum of $35 per month starting in 2023. Starting in 2024, redesign Medicare Part D benefits to include an out-of-pocket (OOP) cap for all Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 per year. Starting in 2023, drug manufacturers who raise drug prices above the point of inflation using 2020 prices as a benchmark would be penalized.

Medicare expansion was only limited to hearing coverage, though the coverage was improved from the previous version of the bill.”

 

After a week off, “during the Week of November 15th, both the House and Senate are likely to be voting on (or moving forward) the Build Back Better and climate intervention plan. We’ll want to keep the pressure up for a quick vote in favor, and then pivot to work to amplify the victory…” So say our friends at Peace Action, and we agree – and many of us live close enough to DC to join the action Nov. 17 as folks put a little street heat on the politicians.

 

And the health of the planet: Want the full dope on the Glasgow COP-26 meeting, good, bad and ugly? This roundup from The Conversation, “Progress or Greenwash,” has more than you could possibly want to know.

Events From Our Allies: 

On Wednesday, November 17, from 10 AM - 2 PM, join with other activists for a No More Excuses Rally in DC for a peaceful rally to call on President Biden to get the Senate to FIX or NIX the filibuster and PASS the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the D.C. statehood bill. 

 

 

Prince George's Climate Action Plan: Join the Department of the Environment at one of their upcoming Community Meetings to discuss the draft Climate Action Plan. Residents can help Prince George’s County become more climate-resilient, by participating in the community meeting either virtually or in-person.

https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3748/Climate-Change

 

Join PG Changemakers for Why so much turmoil in the Prince George’s County Redistricting Process? Saturday, November 13th at 10 AM. Register for more details here 

 

Register now for the Baltimore City Virtual Youth Development Forum, sponsored by the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, hosted by MENTOR Maryland | DC, and Strategic Resources Group. This virtual gathering, featuring well-known and respected practitioners from Baltimore and beyond, is designed to bring adult youth development staff, stakeholders, and leaders together to learn, network and grow. Featuring inspiring performances, keynotes, panels, and workshops, and networking, you do not want to miss this opportunity to sharpen your ax and hear from others doing this work! Register at: bcyfund.org/events 

 

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]  

November 03, 2021 "We should never stop learning" -- a teacher's journey to respect for diversity in the classroom

"[It's easy to fall for the] myth that the fight for LGBTQIA rights was only about protecting wealthy white people like Caitlyn Jenner. I discovered the irony of this false narrative when I started to investigate …a deep dive into human history reveals just how fluid the idea of gender has always been in cultures around the world.”

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, November 1, 2021

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 25, 2021

We can build a better Maryland with grassroots supporters like you! We need to push local, state and federal officials to address the investments we need in our communities and to make positive changes to our social and economic systems. We’ll all do better when our public policies put people first.  That’s what the Build Back Better Act  does and  why we’re laser focused on getting it across the finish line in Congress. 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 18, 2021

October 12, 2021 Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore

Progressive Maryland's Executive Director Larry Stafford Jr. highlights the pro-urban and pro-Baltimore elements embedded in President Biden's Build Back Better plan. It's important to keep it intact as GOP indifference and some neolib Democrats want to dismantle it. Protecting it is vital, for Baltimore, for Maryland and for democracy.