Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 13, 2021

opioid_RIP_toon.jpgThe overdose crisis has reached new levels of harm and devastation in our country and communities. Last year more than  93,000 people in the United States died of preventable overdose. Sadly but not surprisingly the  number of people struggling and dying has increased during the pandemic. It’s long past time to end the overdose crisis and to invest in public health solutions like treatment and harm reduction. Progressive Maryland’s  Drug Policy Task Force is meeting with lawmakers, gathering stories, working with allies and holding a special  event this Wednesday evening, Stories From the Overdose Crisis (see below for more details) in order to sound the alarm. We need a new approach, one that prioritizes policies and programs that offer people help. Let’s come together now to do something about this crisis and to demand accountability from Big Pharma and to demand that drug policies be overhauled and updated. Let’s turn our concern into action.



 

The overdose crisis has reached new levels of harm and devastation in our country and communities. Last year more than  93,000 people in the United States died of preventable overdose. Sadly but not surprisingly the  number of people struggling and dying has increased during the pandemic. It’s long past time to end the overdose crisis and to invest in public health solutions like treatment and harm reduction. Progressive Maryland’s  Drug Policy Task Force is meeting with lawmakers, gathering stories, working with allies and holding a special  event this Wednesday evening, Stories From the Overdose Crisis (see below for more details) in order to sound the alarm. We need a new approach, one that prioritizes policies and programs that offer people help. Let’s come together now to do something about this crisis and to demand accountability from Big Pharma and to demand that drug policies be overhauled and updated. Let’s turn our concern into action.

 

Thank you for being part of this moment and this movement. 

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

Quick Actions:

    •    RSVP for Welcome Back Congress Rally Calling for a Budget that invests in Care, Climate, and a Path to Citizenship

 

 

 


Statewide Updates:

Throwdown Thursdays!

 We’ve launched Throwdown Thursdays! Join us-- we will  either textbank or phonebank EVERY SINGLE WEEK on Thursdays at 6pm! We’re starting with throwing down on our issue campaigns and over time will transition to a voter contact program that lets folks know about awesome progressive candidates who will be on the ballot in the 2022 elections.  Join the team now to get experience! It’s fun and it makes a difference. This Thursday, we will be phone banking to update our members on the progressive budget deal and the Sept. 21 Welcome Back Congress March and Rally. . RSVP here.


Rental Assistance, Housing Rights for All

Please support the work of advocates and organizations as they work to fight evictions and keep Marylanders housed. Get more information here about Maryland’s rent relief programs: Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Drug Policy Campaign

The Progressive Maryland Drug Policy Task Force is proud to announce that in preparation for the next legislative session we've been meeting with members of the state legislature. Our volunteers are also talking to community members  and made 300 calls last month.  We’ve  heard  a lot of moving stories from people who have been personally affected by the overdose crisis. We want to share some of these stories with you and will be doing so at a special event this Wednesday :“Stories from the Overdose Crisis”. The event is Wednesday  September 15th at 7:00 p.m. You can sign up for the event by clicking this link. It’s an honor to partner with the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition (BHRC) and Love in the Trenches to bring you these stories. We’ll also hear from Delegate Jocelyn Peña-Melnick and Prince George’s County Council member Calvin Hawkins. To make the event a success we need concerned Marylanders to join us. We’ll discuss the impact of  the overdose crisis, share personal experiences, create solidarity, and talk about what we can do to end this crisis. Sign up for the event here. Questions? Would you like to share your story? Interested in volunteering? Please reach out to Zach Kovach at [email protected]

 Healthcare, Economic, and Environmental Justice Campaign - A Call to Action

Build Back Better: Invest in Medicare Expansion, the Care Economy, Climate Action and A Path to Citizenship!

Congress must pass the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation deal. We can win a package that invests in people and communities, and creates a framework and a foundation for a just and equitable recovery from the pandemic. A budget that will add life saving benefits like dental, vision, and hearing to Medicare; that can bring down soaring Rx prices, that will make significant  investments in green jobs and infrastructure. And that creates a way to secure citizenship for all in our county who need it. Please join us, this is a major movement moment and we need you! You can: 

--Join Us in D.C. for the Welcome Back Congress Rally next Tuesday Sept. 21

--RSVP for our phone bank on Thursday Sept. 16 to help get the word out. . 

--Email our Senators: Tell Congress to expand Medicare

Contact Malcolm if you want to volunteer or learn more. [email protected]

 

Fighting COVID-19:

President Biden enacted strong policies last week in the campaign to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the transmission of the delta variant. Establishing vaccine mandates to cover more workplaces, making investments in at-home testing, and providing  federal support to locales and school districts under attack from GOP governors for mask mandates and vaccine requirements will make a difference. The US death toll now stands at 660,899. Hospitals across the country are struggling to keep up with all the cases and patients. We know that unvaccinated folks are at the highest risk of getting sick and dying; that’s why vaccinating millions more Americans is such a big public health priority. Maryland is doing better than some states so hats off to all the folks on the frontlines of vaccinations efforts. But we still need to vaccinate tens of thousands of residents and the state can’t ease up on the response to the virus. Get involved in the fight against COVID-19. Urge everyone you know to get a vaccine. And: 

  • Call Governor Hogan: 410-974-3901 and urge him to act: we need masking mandates, housing support, PPE in all work settings, and more resources for vaccination programs. 
  • Volunteer. Check with your county health department and local non-profits to see what they need in terms of help.

Save the date for our statewide Community COVID Forum on Tuesday evening Sept. 28 at 6:30. To learn more or to volunteer to help with this virtual event or other COVID community work  please contact Patty at [email protected] 

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Baltimore County 

Contact Zach for updates and how to get involved in local campaigns. 

Progressive Harford County 

Thank you to everyone who has joined the Progressive Harford County committee meetings over the last few weeks. We have one more committee that’s getting up and running — the field committee. Please join an important zoom meeting this Thursday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about the work of this Committee. At this meeting we will  start to establish the goals and activities of the field group which will be responsible for a grassroots voter and constituent contact program.

Progressive Frederick:

The Frederick Progressives hosted Congressman Jamie Raskin at a Town Hall on September 2nd.The main focus of the conversation was on voting rights and pending legislation that would protect the right to vote.  About 80 participants were on hand to show their support for the work that Rep. Raskin is doing.  You can watch a video recording of the event at the Frederick County Progressives Facebook page linked here. 

Progressive Montgomery:

We’d like to have a contingent of MoCo PM activists attend the March and Rally next Tuesday. We may also be doing a related action in the morning at 10 a.m. focused on Pharma’s intensive efforts to derail Medicare Expansion and other progressive healthcare policy proposals. Contact Patty at [email protected] if you’re interested. 

 

State and National News:  

COMING RIGHT UP -- some info/action events from People’s Action and allies:
Starting now -- Lobby the Ways & Means Committee: On September 14 and 15, the House Ways and Means Committee will be voting on how much revenue to include in the $3.5 trillion House budget reconciliation bill. If the House passes a reconciliation bill that raises only $2 trillion, Senate moderates will almost certainly demand spending be cut to match the revenue. So...this is an important week for pressuring members of the Ways & Means Committee to vote large. Here is a link to an explanation of the importance of lobbying House Ways and Means Committee members, who they are and how to contact them, suggested talking points, and a sample email for writing them. Thanks for everything you can do to influence things over the next few days. [Prepared by Americans for Tax Fairness]. Call any one of these committee members, and say “I’m calling you because Maryland has no representation on Ways and Means!” 

Note also that the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be marking up their chunk of the reconciliation bill beginning today -- health care, energy, clean water and broadband are included on the committee’s lengthy menu. MD Rep. John Sarbanes is on that committee and you can remind him that this is the time to go big by calling  (410) 832-8890.

  • SEPT 14th @ 5:30 pm ET - On Tuesday, September 14th at 5:30pm EDT, For America Action and Americans for Tax Fairness, along with many labor, civil rights and advocacy partners, including People’s Action, are hosting a national mobilization call about the urgent need to tax America’s ultra-wealthy and billionaires to support President Biden’s $3.5 trillion in Build Back Better investments and his tax plan, and build support for a wealth tax. It will feature Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and other exciting guests, and be moderated by Heather McGhee. Sign up for the call here. Use the Social Media Toolkit to help promote.
  • SEPT 17th Day of Action - Remind the Senate of their obligation to protect our freedom to vote and to urge them to pass the For the People Act (democracy reform). RSVP to join a local rally to call on the Senate to deliver on their promise to pass the For the People Act with urgency.

--Tuesday Sept. 21 Join Us in D.C. for the Welcome Back Congress Rally to refresh their memories on who they work for.

--RSVP for our phone bank on Thursday Sept. 16 to help get the word out. . 

--Email our Senators: Tell Congress to expand Medicare

 

And here BTW is what the smaller, bipartisan infrastructure bill is expected to do for Maryland (pdf) … start with repairing 273 bridges in poor condition and add broadband, clean water in the pipes, EV chargers and resilient communities… and more. It would  be great if this is all our nation needed but tax fairness and the needs of working families demand the big package.

Maryland Briefs: Outdoor lunchtime sought to keep schools safer: As students in the DMV return to their K-12 schools, parents and administrators are fighting off trouble by having lunch outdoors, testing (sometimes random!) and student quarantines. Is it going well? Not everywhere.

A mask mandate for all Maryland K-12 public schools was a near-unanimous decision by the statewide school board back in August. But a committee of the General Assembly had to sign off on it, and the law required a two-week (10 business days) waiting period before they could do so, unless Gov. Larry Hogan waived the waiting-period requirement. He didn’t, of course, because how could he keep up with hardcore aspirants to the presidency like Gov. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) or Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) if he got a rep as a mask wimp? So the review committee will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to approve the statewide mask mandate, well after most kids have gone back to school. Many of our biggest county systems have such a mandate already but it will be/would have been easier to enforce with the state board’s imprimatur. 

 

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]nd.org.  

September 10, 2021 Eviction risk sharpens as rental assistance flags in Maryland, nationally

The last protections against eviction during the still-raging pandemic have fallen in many states, Maryland included. How did the feds' $46 billion in assistance get bogged down? We hear about it from Maryland Matters (our state failure) and The New York Times about today's bleak landscape and, well, supply chain issues plus appalling factors like "the reluctance of local officials to ease eligibility requirements for the poor.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, September 7, 2021

August 31, 2021  BRIDGES Coalition launches Campaign Advocating for Overdose Prevention Sites

The BRIDGES Coalition launches the “Yes On My Block” Campaign to promote community support for overdose prevention sites (OPS) in Baltimore. The campaign launches on Overdose Awareness Day 2021 in recognition of the desperate need to support bold new strategies to save lives from overdose.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 30, 2021

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 23, 2021

We are at a crossroads for healthcare in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! Let’s be sure that our lawmakers focus on: lower costs for prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate on Rx prices; coverage for vision, dental, and hearing; a younger eligibility age to enroll in Medicare; and lower copays. We can do this with your support.

August 19, 2021  Time to trim lobbyists' privileged access to Assembly members

Officials from around the state are gathering in Ocean City this week at the Maryland Association of Counties annual meeting. The officials will be surrounded by deep-pocketed types aiming to influence the way they make law and policy. We have come to call them lobbyists.

Jimmy Tarlau, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, checks off the ways high-paid lobbyists distort the public policy process with financial contributions and provides a checklist of how the Legislature should check the lobbyists power.

As soon as they stop eating the lobbyists' crab cakes.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 16, 2021

Maryland’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired Sunday without an extension of the state of emergency by Gov. Larry Hogan, despite a letter Friday, just before the expiration,  from House Speaker Adrienne Jones and her top lieutenants urging Hogan to extend it

“This is a preventable public health crisis,” WMAR quotes Public Justice Center attorney Matt Hill, who said up to 4,500 Maryland families were at risk of eviction without Hogan’s extension. Support your neighbors in trouble and let your local officials know how you feel about Hogan’s do-nothing pandemic response.

August 10, 2021 The political "duopoly" keeps Maryland divided, conquered by mediocrity

“ 'Bipartisan' sounds like it includes all viewpoints, but it’s just another word for control by the duopoly," concludes veteran journalist and observer of folly Len Lazarick in this column on how Maryland's state politics stay in the grip of centrism. The parties pick their voters, not the other way round.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 9, 2021