The Fight for Justice and More: PM Weekly Memo for Tuesday, October 12, 2021
As we marked another Indigenous People’s Day yesterday around the state and around the nation, we were moved by the Native elders, activists and faith leaders who came to Washington, D.C. to demand that President Biden declare a Climate Emergency. We’re inspired by the courage, vision, and determination of these front line activists who are raising awareness about the need to save our waterways and restore our ecosystems. For decades, their communities have witnessed first hand the environmental destruction caused by the fossil fuel and other extractive industries. We should heed their call to “build back fossil free” and institute public policies that put the planet and people first. Congress can take a major step forward by keeping the climate provisions in Build Back Better and then getting to work on a robust Green New Deal.
Federal action is needed now to address the existential threat of human induced climate change. Such measures will help all of our communities, particularly those that have suffered environmental degradation, like many areas of Baltimore. Read the post in today’s Maryland Matters by PM’s Executive Director about this topic: Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore
Thanks for reading our update and for being part of this movement.
The Progressive Maryland Team
Our members power our work!
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 do a variety of things to help us expand our reach and increase our impact. They canvass, text bank, lobby, help our communications team, lead task forces and donate $5-$15 a month. Members help decide our electoral and issue priorities. There’s a lot at stake in Congress right now and that will be coming up during the MGA session in Annapolis so we need more members in the fight.
Phonebank and textbank with our team every Thursday at 6 p.m. Every week we'll be calling or texting voters across the state about a number of important issues. Soon we'll be transitioning to throwing down for progressive candidates that need our help to win! Click this link to let us know you’re coming!
This Thursday, Oct. 14, we’re making phone calls to demand that Cannabis be legalized! To this day in Maryland, we still have about 15,000 arrests per year that are related to Cannabis-- this puts far too many people at risk, needlessly clogs our justice system, and perpetuates the racist policies of the so called war on drugs It’s long past time to join 18 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing marajuana. That’s why this Thursday we will be making calls to constituents in Speaker Jones’ district to ask them to contact her and urge her work to make cannabis legalization a reality next year in Maryland.
New Era PAC Friend & Fundraiser
Dateline Howard County-- Jake Burdett hosted twenty one folks for a New Era Project party in Howard County yesterday. Participants heard from DelegateJen Terrasa of District 13 and former Circuit Court Candidate Stephen Musselman and discussed key issues facing Howard County especially around zoning and land use. Thanks to all who helped with this successful event.
In case you missed it, find out more here:
Drug Policy Campaign
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 get involved. [email protected]
Healthcare Justice Campaign
Fight to Expand Healthcare, Medicare and Childcare:
Congress must hold the line on the Build Back Better Act, a bold budget deal that requires wealthy corporations and the super rich to pay their fair share in taxes. BBB will invest in health care, child care, better schools, environmental protection, climate action and support citizenship for immigrants who call the United States home. It will expand Medicare and lower Rx prices. We can’t let Big PhRMA and other corporate interests derail this plan that the public and elected Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly support. Contact your Member of Congress today. Use this phone 2 action tool to urge your Representative to hold the line.
Join a special evening of textbanking for #BuildBackBetter this Thursday, October 14, at 6:00 p.m. This event is hosted by the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Campaign, LSPC and other PM allies.
We remain in a challenging place with the pandemic and can’t let up on COVID measures.Sign here and Tell our state leaders that.
Vaccination rates are too low in many rural areas and in some urban neighborhoods. Thousands of residents and workers still require support to help them recover their health and their financial footing. Schools need better ventilation systems, technology upgrades, more teachers, counselors and staff. Too many Marylanders are at risk of eviction. We stand with them and all the advocates who are fighting to prevent evictions and to extend the moratorium. The state just announced that there’s a $2.5 billion budget surplus. Let’s target that money (much of which came from federal relief funds) to help people and not park all or most of it in the rainy day fund.
Local Chapter Updates:
Progressive Baltimore County
Contact Zach for updates and how to get involved in local campaigns.
Progressive Harford County
The website for Progressive Harford County is done! Check out progressiveharco.org today.
Progressive Harford County is starting a series of town halls with local and statewide candidates. Our first town hall will be with Ashwani Jain, a gubernatorial Democratic candidate, on Oct. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m. Jain will be asked about his background, policies and vision for Maryland. Attendees can also submit questions to be asked during the town hall. Register for the event today.
Interested in joining our environmental justice or election work groups? We’re seeking MoCo folks who want to get involved. Contact [email protected] if you’re interested.
State and National News:
Here's the Capital News Service roundup of new laws that went into effect starting Oct. 1st, including Anton's Law!
Hogan appears to think Maryland has few immediate needs. Really??
The roundup in Maryland Reporter: “Hogan suggested saving most of the $2.5 billion budget surplus for a “rainy day,” in the five-point plan for what he would like to do with the extra money, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR.
Hogan said one of his top priorities will be reducing taxes for seniors, but the plan does not offer details, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post. [frequent voters who lean GOP, we at PM would observe]. The Democratic-led legislature will likely reshape the governor’s spending plan in the budget, Bryan Sears writes for The Daily Record [paywalled alas]. With supermajorities in both chambers, Democrats have shown a willingness to override Hogan’s vetoes.
Barron First Black Person To Be Md’s U.S. Attorney: Erek L. Barron has officially been sworn in as the 49th United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, William Carter reports for WBAL NewsRadio. Barron, a former state delegate [from Prince George’s County], is the first Black person to hold the title and first Democrat in 20 years.
More Marylanders Identify As Indigenous: The number of Marylanders identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native has more than doubled in the past decade – from 58,600 to 128,650, according to U.S. census records, a spike that some local leaders attribute to a grassroots effort among Indigenous communities to better document themselves in government records, Lillian Reed reports in the Sun.
Around the USA:
A revoltin’ development: A Year After ‘Defund,’ Police Departments Get Their Money Back – from the NYT
Parsing the Parsimony Landscape: The Build Back Better bill, is still under attack from conservatives and corporations. And the neoliberal narrative and austerity speak is starting to dominate some of the coverage. As evidenced here:“Democrats have two choices: They can either cut out major planks of the [reconciliation] bill or they can winnow each program down, making them skimpier and temporary to fit into the budget. [for example} If you only extend the child tax credit for five years and bet that in 2026 the government of the day will extend it again, that brings down the price tag substantially. But if you bet wrong, the tax credit ends.” That’s from a Buzzfeed deepish-dive piece by Paul McLeod on what options everybody will be mulling while lawmakers spend this week in districts.
From People’s Action, this DC update: If there is a scaling back: “Most recent reporting indicates that most Senators favor the haircut approach [see above] which could mean that programs sunset after a certain number of years and would need to be reauthorized and/or refunded within a few years rather than being fully funded over the 10 year time frame that was covered in the $3.5 trillion proposal the House put together.
“The haircut approach,” continues PA’s Megan Essaheb, “would seem to satisfy more Members of Congress and stakeholders but could also be complicated for some programs (such as those that take longer to ramp up) and, we still face the challenge of Senator Manchin’s (terrible) idea to only fund means-tested programs, his opposition to parts of the climate deal and his and other Senators and moderate House members’ desire to weaken the plan to lower prescription drug prices. Other conflicts are likely to surface as Democrats move forward with negotiating with the 4% of their party [members] that don’t support the $3.5 trillion plan. We should continue to publicly call for all of the important (and popular) investments (see 5 progressive priorities) that we want to see in the bill and not engage in the public debate around arbitrary numbers.”
Here’s the latest timeline, definitely subject to change, from the Progressive Caucus Center for the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill (to meet October 31 deadline to pass both BBB & the bipartisan infrastructure bill):
-Before October 19: Reach consensus framework on bill.
-Week of October 19: Finish legislative text of revised Build Back Better Act, report out of the Rules Committee, and bring to the House floor
-Week of October 25: After House passage, consider the Build Back Better Act in the Senate (includes amendment vote-a-rama).
-Before October 31: Following Senate passage, send the bill back to the House to pass with Senate changes before it goes to the President. Also pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and send it to the President with the Build Back Better Act.
Events From Our Allies:
Thursday October 14 at 5:00pm | Rally for Montgomery County Housing Rights | 13900 Robey Rd, Silver Spring MD
Sunday October 17 2-5 pm
Jews United for Justice:
Monday, Oct. 18 | 7pm
Reel & Meal presents "PFAS Diaries" – A series of documentary shorts details the effects of PFAS contamination. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used at military installations throughout the country for decades as a constituent chemical for firefighting foam; they leach into our soil and water and are released into the air through incineration.
Register here for remote access – Intro 6:30pm; films begin at 7pm
Friday, October 22 at 10am:
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].
October 12, 2021 Build Back Better has the pieces for a better BaltimoreProgressive 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. -Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 4, 2021October 04, 2021 Media discourse keeps the "both sides" illusion aliveAs the full horror of Donald Trump's attempt to seize power and dump democracy fades in the public mind, the mainstream media -- which collectively had been pointing out the difference between facts and lies -- have slumped back into he said-she said vanilla coverage. Take the word "strict," analyst Sean Dobson suggests -- a word with a lot of positive connotations for most readers. Does it make sense to describe as "strict" scuh recent state-level atrocities as Mississippi's or Texas's draconian new abortion laws, or the blatant voter-suppression laws being passed by Republican legislators in a dozen-plus states where they have control? Or is the press slipping back to its old duck-and-cover strategy to avoid being tagged as "liberal"?September 29, 2021 Progressive Maryland Statement Against Corporate Meddling Following Dēmos and People’s Action ReportA new report from People's Action and Demos details the avalanche of corporate spending to stop or trim important measures that would expand Medicare, childcare, paid family leave, community health programs, green jobs and critical climate initiatives.“It’s not surprising that these businesses that represent billionaire and multi-millionaire CEOs and stockholders are lobbying hard to keep the status quo in place -- big tax breaks for them, higher prices and lower wages for us -- and that they are spending tens of millions of dollars to vocalize their demands and to drown out the peoples’ voices” said Larry Stafford, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland.-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 27, 2021-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 20, 2021-Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 13, 2021
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