In the Memo this week: Fair Elections bills face a hearing this week; a roundup of the broad scope of legislation requiring attention from Maryland's progressives in week six of the Session; 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.
The Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday February 18 2020 -- Note that new notifications since the email Memo was sent Tuesday afternoon appear in GREEN TYPE below.
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 facing a hearing this Thursday – 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. 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 many of the Lobby Days/Nights coming up. See an issue you are especially impacted by? You can join activists to lobby for a better Maryland.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9:00 am - Strong Schools Maryland
Tuesday, February 18th - 9:00 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Thursday, February 20th - 9:30 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Monday, February 24th - 4:00 pm - Sierra Club Lobby Night
Tuesday, February 25th - 9:00 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Wednesday, February 26th - 8:30 am – Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform Lobby Day
Thursday, February 27th - 9:30 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
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.
PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND IS HIRING – Organize with us throughout the state and in digital and strategic organizing tasks – check the opportunities here.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
Saturday, FEB 22 Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Canvass 1 - 3:30 PM PGCEA HQ, 8008 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747 -- Join us as we talk to voters about supporting community schools and the Kirwan commission funding recommendations. RSVP and info
Education issues, state and local, continue to be a key focus of our Montgomery County organizing.
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 sessions that were held last week, Chris Lloyd, President of MCEA on behalf of the members, asked the County to vote to increase funding by $100 million over maintenance of effort.
We know that MCPS needs more money in its operating budget to provide full staffing and resources for the services and programs that students, schools and our community deserve. We’re supporting MCEA in its negotiations with MCPS and its spending proposal. We’ve turned out community members to a number of hearings since last December and plan to continue our solidarity campaign with our teachers.
Actions Needed: LOCAL
Please contact County Executive Marc Elrich and our County Council Members to urge them to vote for full funding. [email protected]
We’ll share dates and activities regarding public budget hearings and Board of Education meetings as they get scheduled for late February and March.
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.
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. A multi-committee extended hearing was held on President’s Day in Annapolis. Hundreds of students, teachers, advocates, and community leaders turned out to rally and testify in support of this game-changing measure. 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.
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 [email protected] if you want to learn more and get involved in the MOCO Chapter’s education and outreach work.
Our next meeting is at the Wicomico Public Library in Downtown Salisbury on February 20! Click here for info.
EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES
Tuesday FEB 18 MORE Network Community Meeting , 6-9 pm Grace Episcopal Church, 1607 Grace Church Rd, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 Hosted by MORE Network – Montgomery County Racial Equity Network and 3 others: Engage and connect via an overview and update on the Racial Equity and Social Justice bill/ Bill 27-19; and plan next steps. https://www.facebook.com/events/202636414255374/
Monday February 24 2020 Mayoral Forum on Environment & Equity at 6pm at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church (2821 Reisterstown Rd). Hosted by Baltimore Blue Green Just, Charm City mayoral candidates and their visions regarding environmental and social justice issues in Baltimore. Moderators: local radio host Tom Hall and UMD associate dean Dr. Sheri Parks. Doors open at 5:30pm register online
And see our list of progressive organizations’ Lobby Days in Annapolis, above
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 [email protected]
We recently published these blog posts:
Here's a complete roundup of bills getting progressive attention in the legislative session in Annapolis in this and upcoming weeks. Many upcoming lobby days are included.
February 15, 2020 Highway P3 process lacks transparency, has Down-Under smell
Will Gov. Hogan, like Trump, make Maryland taxpayers hostages to a foreign [global capitalist] power? A dominant Aussie megacorp appears to be pulling his strings on the Beltway giveaway, this meticulous reporting from the Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition’s longtime gadfly Ben Ross shows.
Major news from two of the state's premier progressive organizations -- starting with the Baltimore races, Progressive Maryland and the Working Families Party will work in solidarity to elect progressive candidates around the state. ·
February 10, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, February 10, 2020
This week, Week 5 of the General Assembly session, is a big one for hearings on critical bills – on the environment (throughout the week), on Kirwan education funding and accountability (mostly Wednesday), and on social justice with an emphasis on criminal justice, immigration and the criminalization of poverty (lots of them on Tuesday). Below, the Maryland Legislative Coalition scans the schedule and keys the issues for you along with the Job Opportunities Task Force, two of our pivotal social justice allies.
February 07, 2020 Opening doors to democracy in Prince George's County
Democracy in Prince George’s County depends on increasing access to power outside the tightly-held approval pipeline of the county’s large donor class and elected leaders. The last thing ordinary folks need is to let big money further into the county’s electoral sphere. But that's where some politically powerful figures want to take us.
>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 [email protected].
>>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