L’Shanah Tovah! To all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we wish you a happy and healthy new year. Yesterday, we had a chance to celebrate Labor Day. Dolores Huerta, the legendary labor organizer reminds us that “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.” We draw inspiration from her words and we honor the contributions of workers in our country, especially this year, as we continue to face multiple crises. The labor and services performed by millions of workers from every sector of our economy and communities helps sustain all of us. We stand with them and with union members every day of the year. Progressive Maryland’s work for health, economic, environmental, racial and gender justice is inextricably linked with the struggles of workers and with the labor movement. Fortunately, public support for unions is at an all time high and gives our labor allies a chance to make real gains in workplace organizing efforts. Let’s all do our part to support them and to speak up for higher wages, better benefits and safe workplaces. Worker power empowers all of us! See more in the memo about local union events and more of course about PM’s ongoing work.
Thank you for being part of this moment and this movement.
The Progressive Maryland Team
- Join us: become a grassroots PM member and help us build a more just and progressive state.
- Join our 2022 Elections Team by signing up for 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 contacting voters about the awesome progressive candidates we will be supporting for office 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 for Medicare Expansion. 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. We’re also been doing outreach to activists, too, 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 an event called “Stories from the Overdose Crisis”. The event is September 15th at 7:00 p.m. You can sign up for the event by clicking this link. We're excited 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. We'd love to have community members join us to talk about the overdose crisis, to share personal experiences, to 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].org.
Healthcare Justice Campaign
Support the campaign to win a game-changing expansion of Medicare! Many Democrats in Congress are pushing for a budget reconciliation package that includes provisions to add coverage for dental, vision and hearing health to Medicare as well as lower out-of-pocket costs and the eligibility age. There’s also a piece that will grant Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Please take a minute now and:
--RSVP for our phone bank. We’re calling Marylanders to ask them to contact our Senators. This Thursday Sept. 9 at 6:00pm
--Email our Senators: Tell Congress to expand Medicare
Contact Malcolm if you want to volunteer or learn more. [email protected]
This is a critical time to strengthen the state’s response to COVID. All but one jurisdiction in the state are at high levels of Covid transmission thanks to the delta variant and the relaxing of COVID public health measures by the Governor and some locales. Last week we had a 7 day average of almost 1,200 cases a day. Hospitals are full or near-full in several places around the state. We need leadership at the state level to institute masking mandates, housing support programs, PPE for workers, and more vaccination outreach and education especially in those communities with under 50% vaccination rates. If you agree that we need more responsible leadership from the Governor please give him a call at 410-974-3901 and urge him to act.
Save the date for our statewide Community COVID Forum on Tuesday evening Sept. 28. 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
We’re underway on a few fronts: we have a committee researching the records of our elected officials so that we can hold them accountable. Email [email protected] if you want to join the research committee. Join us for other committee meetings this month. The Outreach Committee meeting happens this Thursday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. This committee recruits other organizations with which we can partner and also welcomes new volunteers to the chapter. The Field Committee will meet on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The field team does phone calling, texting , and door knocking to contact voters. Please join us at one or both meetings. We need input as we come up with our goals and a plan of action.
The Frederick Progressives hosted Congressman Jamie Raskin at a Town Hall last week 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. Thanks to all the organizers and participants. And special thanks to progressive champion Rep. Raskin.
Would you like to support Afghan Refugees coming to our country? Attend an event this Thursday evening Sept. 9 in Silver Spring. RSVP here for the event that Progressive Maryland is supporting, and to learn more about ways to help.
State and National News:
As many as a quarter-million Maryland households are in danger of eviction unless Gov. Larry Hogan steps in to maintain a moratorium on evictions that the high court overturned last week, and both officials and local activists are calling for countermeasures. Maryland is one among many states that have distributed less than 10 percent of the federal rental assistance money provided in earlier Federal coronavirus relief packages (Delaware and West Virginia are in the same category; Virginia has distributed nearly all the money provided and DC’s program has reached high percentages of eligible families.)
Advocates warned that Black and Latino renters will face disproportionate harm as evictions resume. The Intercept reports that “A Centers for Disease Control study found that when 27 states lifted their eviction moratoria this past summer, it resulted in 433,700 excess Covid-19 cases and 10,700 excess deaths nationally. The court’s majority nonetheless sided with the economic concerns of landlords.”
Labor Day Update from People’s Action, our national affiliate: “It’s Labor Day today and three pandemic jobless aid programs - covering a combined 12.1 million people - will end today, without action from the White House or Congress. More than 9 million Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits and millions more will see their weekly incomes plummet as other programs expire this week. (The Hill) The U.S. added just 235,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent as the economy appeared to falter under surging coronavirus cases, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.
Seems pretty clear we need a big, bold investment plan to get things moving in the right direction and right some past wrongs. However, in case you’re not already clear that we’re in a battle for federal control of corporations vs the people, here’s an article that came out in the Washington Post last week that is worth looking at: Corporate America launches massive lobbying blitz to kill key parts of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion economic plan: Drug makers, big banks, tech giants and others are preparing to fight the party’s package, including its proposals for raising taxes. The biggest targets are revenue provisions (i.e. making corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share) and drug pricing reform (i.e. reining in Big Pharma profits).
And here is what the 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.
Does unemployment insurance keep our working folks home? Here’s new evidence from the Economic Policy Institute (Aug. 27)
- Between April and July, states that cut UI benefits averaged overall job growth of 0.9%, while states that maintained federal UI benefits saw average job growth of 1.6%.
- States that cut UI saw their unemployment rates decline, on average, by 0.2 percentage points, from 4.7% to 4.5%. During the same period, states that retained federal UI experienced a larger decline of 0.4 percentage points from 6.1% to 5.7%.
- Leisure and hospitality employment, one of our hardest hit industries, grew faster in states that preserved full UI benefits than in those that cut assistance.
While the differences among the two state groups do not necessarily indicate that these two groups are on significantly different recovery tracks, one thing has become clear: cutting UI benefits did NOT boost job growth.
Events from Our Allies
Tuesday, September 7 | 7pm | Webinar by The Clean Air Baltimore Coalition
Come learn more about what the zero waste vision for Baltimore can look like! GRASS Baltimore will focus on the recovery of the very valuable resource of glass - one that is infinitely recyclable! The co-op utilizes glass in the circular economy - diverting bottles from the waste stream to make new art, and reselling them to local breweries and restaurants! GRASS will also do much more! Register here.
Join Our Revolution Maryland, Progressive Maryland, Greenbelt Climate Action, Food & Water Watch, Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition, and Sunrise Movement Maryland tomorrow, September 8th at 12pm for a Rally at Representative Steny Hoyer's Greenbelt office to demand that he fight for Medicare Expansion, Worker Protections, and Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies. RSVP HERE!
THURSDAY, SEPT. 9 - 12:00 p.m.: Special briefing to go over what’s in the Build Back Better Act and what you can do to help! (RSVP Here) Join Indivisible, Way to Win, Women Donors Network Action and the Progressive Caucus Action Fund for this roundup.
Thursday, September 9 | 6pm | Redistricting Teach-In by Common Cause Maryland
Common Cause MD is organizing people power across the state to ensure Marylanders play an active role in shaping our own representation. We'll be discussing the latest redistricting updates and how you can make your voice heard at the state and local level. Teach-in will include trainings on how to testify, map your community, write letters to the editor, and more. Don't miss out! Join here.
Labor Solidarity Event with workers at Strathmore: Solidarity rally with IATSE Local 868 at Strathmore: Saturday, September 11, 6pm – 8pm. Meet on the 4th parking level of the Metro garage by the pedestrian walkway.
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].
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.
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.
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.
“ '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.
>>Read more on the homepage of progressivemaryland.org.