Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, March 15, 2022

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Next Monday, March 21 is Crossover Day, one of the most important days in the Maryland General Assembly session. To have a chance of becoming state law, bills need to be voted out of the chamber they began in before the Crossover deadline. That means there’s less than a week left to ensure progressive legislation continues moving forward this session — we need all hands on deck! 

We’re headed to Annapolis with allies this week to urge lawmakers to support bills that will benefit working Marylanders, and you’re invited to join us! Tomorrow morning from 9–11 AM, we’re coming together on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis with CASA, Renters United Maryland, and countless other partners and community members for an Immigrant Justice Rally for Healthcare, Housing, & Human Rights. Join us as we call on the General Assembly to act now to expand healthcare for everyone regardless of their immigration status, protect the rights of tenants who are at risk of eviction, and grant access to legal representation in immigration court.

If you’re busy tomorrow morning, there are other opportunities to make your voice heard at the State House! The Time to Care coalition is gathering on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis from 9:30–11 AM every morning this week for a Week of Action for Paid Family & Medical Leave. We’ll be greeting lawmakers and urging them to take action on legislation to establish a strong statewide family and medical leave program before the crossover deadline. 

We hope you'll join us!

The Progressive Maryland Team


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Quick Actions:


2022 Maryland Elections

The primary elections are coming up fast! Progressive candidates are running for state and local office across Maryland, and people power can make the difference in their races. Visit pgmd.us/electionvolunteer to get involved with our election team and join our efforts to support candidates fighting for transformative change!  

Don’t forget to check out our Throwdown Thursday phonebank, happening again this week from 6–8 PM. Click this link to let us know you’ll join! You’ll meet some great folks, and we’ll provide training and support. 

Note to Candidates: If you’re running for office, have already filed for candidacy, and are interested in being considered for our endorsement, you may complete a candidate questionnaire here.

 

🗳 Candidate Corner

Wala Blegay, candidate for Prince George’s County Council District 6, is hosting a fundraiser with small & local business owners from the community this Thursday, March 17 from 6–8 PM at Famous Lounge (5010 Brown Station Rd, Suite 150, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772). RSVP here to attend

Tiffany Jones, candidate for Democratic State Central Committee, is hosting a virtual birthday fundraiser this Friday, March 18 from 6:30–7:30 PM on Zoom. RSVP here to join

Laurie-Anne Sayles, candidate for Montgomery County Council At-Large, is participating in Gaithersburg’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade! The parade was initially scheduled for last weekend but was postponed due to snow, so there’s still time to sign up here to march with Laurie-Anne’s #SaylesForce Team this Saturday, March 19 at 9 AM (we’ll meet in Gaithersburg at the Corner of Rio Boulevard and Grand Corner Avenue). 

Last week the House Health & Government Operations Committee heard HB 610, a bill sponsored by PM-endorsed incumbent Del. Sheila Ruth that would establish a Commission to study the implementation of a single-payer healthcare system in Maryland. Salisbury City Councilmember Michele Gregory, our endorsed candidate for State Senate District 38 on the Eastern Shore, testified on behalf of the legislation during the hearing. Thank you, Del. Ruth and Councilmember Gregory, for pushing this important legislation!

Learn more about all of our endorsed candidates for 2022 on the Progressive Maryland website! Go to pgmd.us/2022endorsements for candidate bios and links to support their campaigns.


Statewide & Federal Updates

🩺 Healthcare Justice

A year after its introduction in Congress, the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R.1976) has 121 co-sponsors in the US House — that’s more than half of the House Democratic Caucus! And we have more good news on this front. A hearing on universal health care will be scheduled for sometime in April or May in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, with H.R. 1976 as the focus. We’ll share the date & further details as we learn them, as well as plans for turnout for the hearing. In the meantime, we remain focused on efforts to ensure the U.S. Senate works on pieces of the progressive agenda that will authorize investments in the health and care economy; reduce Rx prices; make billionaires pay more in taxes; and enact meaningful measures on climate action. 

We’re also supporting single-payer healthcare at the state level by urging legislators to pass HB 610, a bill that would establish a state Commission on Universal Healthcare. In addition to hearing excellent testimony from bill sponsor Del. Sheila Ruth and Salisbury Councilmember Michele Gregory (see the Candidate Corner above!), members of the House HGO Committee heard testimony from Kristy Fogle, Progressive Maryland board member and chair of the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition. Thank you for your powerful testimony, Kristy — and thank you to all of our members who submitted written testimony in support of this important legislation!

 

📣 Immigrant Rights 

Join Progressive Maryland, CASA, and allies from across Maryland for a Rally for Immigrant Justice TOMORROW, March 16 from 9–11 AM at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. We’re calling on members of the Maryland General Assembly to act now to expand healthcare for all regardless of immigration status, protect the rights of tenants who are at risk of eviction, and grant access to legal representation in immigration court. Everyone deserves to be healthy, to have a place to live, and to have legal assistance. We hope you'll join us in making these demands heard! Register here to let us know you’ll attend!

 

💜 Paid Family & Medical Leave

We need to make a big push this week in Annapolis to boost our chances to pass paid family & medical leave policies. Join the Time to Care coalition at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis every morning this week from 9:30–11:30 AM to greet legislators in front of the State House and urge them to take action on the Time to Care Act of 2022 (HB 8 / SB 275)Sign up here to participate in these Days of Action, and don’t forget to list Progressive Maryland as your organization! Then, take a minute to add your name to our petition in support of the Time to Care Act — help us get 50 more signatures by the end of this week!

 

🏥 End Medical Debt Maryland 

The Justice For Hospital Patients Act of 2022 (HB 694 / SB 944) has the potential to deliver some much needed financial relief to patients who should have received free care from Maryland hospitals but were wrongfully overcharged $120 million from 2017–2018. This bill will begin a process allowing the overcharged patients to pursue reimbursement. We need to contact our legislators about supporting the measure–stay tuned for an alert later this week. This is a great time to join the End Medical Debt Maryland campaign to hold hospitals and their wealthy CEOs accountable and bring justice to Maryland patients. Questions? Want to get more involved? Contact Malcolm.

 

⚖️ Reentry Work Group

Reentry: Where Do You Stand?, a series of virtual listening sessions with candidates for state and local office in this year’s elections, continue this week — join us for virtual events TONIGHT, Tuesday, March 15 and this Friday, March 18 from 6–7:30 PM. Tonight’s event will feature candidates and incumbents for State Senate in districts representing Prince George’s County — we’ll be joined by Sen. Joanne Benson (D24), Jonathan Rosero (D25), C. Anthony Muse (D26), and Jason Fowler (D27). Candidates will share their plans to support reentry services for formerly incarcerated individuals and will take questions from community members during a Q & A session. RSVP here to attend this week’s Reentry Candidate Forums

 

🌱 Environmental Justice Task Force

Marylanders deserve clean air and water, and we need a safeguard against corporations who consider our communities collateral damage in their pursuit of profit. That's why we need to pass the Environmental Human Rights Amendment (HB 596 / SB 783) this year. The Senate heard the bill last week, and now we’re asking them to move it forward — sign this petition calling on members of the Maryland State Senate to support the bill. Ready to do more? Reach out to Yves to get involved with our Environmental Justice Task Force!


Local Chapter Updates

Progressive Montgomery:

Mark your calendars for a Meet & Greet with PM-endorsed candidates for Montgomery County Council Natali Fani-González (District 6) and Laurie-Anne Sayles (At-Large) on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 PM! RSVP to attend at pgmd.us/MoCoMeetAndGreet

Progressive Prince George's:

Join us TONIGHT, Tuesday, March 15 from 6–7:30 PM for our first Progressive Prince George’s Chapter Meeting after a long hiatus! If you live in PG County, this is a great opportunity to meet fellow activists and plug into our issue and electoral work in the coming months. 


State and National News:

Marylanders are feeling the sting of inflation, especially at the gas pumps. There’s a bipartisan push underway in Annapolis to suspend the gas tax for 30 days in response to the surge in fuel prices, a move being considered in other states as well. As Crossover Day approaches, members of the Maryland State Senate vote to pass an amended version of the Climate Solutions Now Act out of the chamber. Four corresponding bills in the House are still waiting on committee votes. In the meantime, a new review from five environmental groups shows that water pollution enforcement and government oversight have dramatically dropped off under Governor Hogan’s administration. Read on for all this and more, in our weekly roundup of News You Can Use!


Events From Progressive Maryland & Our Allies:

TONIGHT: Tuesday, March 15 | 6–7:30 PM (virtual) — The Reentry Work Group of Progressive Maryland is hosting a forum with incumbents and candidates for State Senate in districts representing Prince George’s County as part of the ongoing series Reentry: Where Do You Stand? Register here to attend.

TONIGHT: Tuesday, March 15 | 6–7:30 PM (virtual) — Join us for a Progressive Prince George’s chapter meeting to learn more about the issue and electoral work we’re doing in PG County and how you can get involved! Sign up here to join.

Wednesday March 16 | 9–11 AM (Annapolis) — Join Progressive Maryland, CASA, and our allies for a Rally for Immigration Justice! We’ll come together at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis (100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401 US) to urge members of the MGA to act now to expand healthcare for all regardless of immigration status, protect the rights of tenants at risk of eviction, and grant access to legal representation in immigration court. Register here to help us make these demands heard!

Wednesday, March 16 – Friday, March 18 | 9:30–11:30 AM (Annapolis) — Join the Time to Care coalition at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis every morning this week to greet legislators and urge them to take action on the Time to Care Act of 2022 (HB 8 / SB 275). Sign up here to join — don’t forget to list Progressive Maryland as your organization when you RSVP!

Monday, April 4 | 12 PM (Washington, DC) — Join Progressive Maryland in Washington, DC for a Day of Action to Cancel Student Debt! We’re coming together with groups from across the country at the Eisenhower Memorial (540 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20500) to call on President Biden to cancel student debt before the moratorium on student loan payments ends on May 1. RSVP here to attend


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].


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