Despite the surprise appearances of House and Senate leaders at a rally to show how a special Assembly session could work, their disappointing refusal to call such a session brought progressives' vow to keep the pressure on. Read about what happened Wednesday and what happens next.
WOW - what a powerful action we had on Wednesday! More than 200 of us staged a People’s General Assembly in Annapolis to demonstrate the need for and the ability of the Maryland General Assembly to hold a special session of the legislature while keeping physically distant with our masks on.
The House Speaker and Senate President crashed the action, which gave them the opportunity to hear directly from us about the very real concerns and issues that Marylanders are facing, including protection from eviction and foreclosure, worker protections, the state’s HBCU settlement which hangs in the balance, and immediate state revenue loss due to recent federal tax policy changes.
As Pam Wood reported in The Sun,
The leaders of the Maryland General Assembly announced Wednesday that they will not hold a special session, despite calls from activists who want immediate action on housing, policing reform and other issues.
Senate President Bill Ferguson and House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones made a surprise appearance at an Annapolis rally organized to push for a special session. More than 100 participants from groups including Progressive Maryland, Jews United for Justice and immigrant rights group CASA spread out on folding chairs on a grassy area near a school to demonstrate that lawmakers could safely hold legislative hearings and votes.
We are deeply disappointed in their decision, declared at the rally, not to reconvene and will continue to urge them to reconsider, with the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable in mind. These life or death concerns can’t wait until January. Furthermore, it was concerning to not hear our elected leaders propose solutions to the critical issues residents raised or commit to the solutions we proposed. While we acknowledge that legislators have been working to serve constituents under extraordinary circumstances, without convening, they can’t pass the legislation needed to ensure that every resident has their basic human needs met, which Governor Hogan has failed to do.
Here’s what you can do to keep the pressure up:
- Upload your pictures and videos from the action here, check out those of other folks, and share on social media (here’s our toolkit)!
- View a few photos from CASA here.
- Respond to the tweets from the House Speaker and Senate President and post and tag them on Facebook as well! They are trying to spin the message - set the record straight!
- Send an email to Speaker Jones and President Ferguson here.
- Join a phone bank this Sunday from 2-3:30pm, to reach voters in Speaker Jones and President Ferguson’s districts.
- Write a letter to the editor in response to the coverage of the action in the Baltimore Sun.
Thank you, again, for taking part, being flexible, and ultimately showing our elected leaders that we are not going to be appeased by platitudes.
The PM Team
More coverage of the event:
Len Lazarick in Maryland Reporter: https://marylandreporter.com/2020/09/17/progressives-demand-legislature-hold-special-session-but-leaders-refuse/
Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters: https://www.marylandmatters.org/2020/09/17/in-impromptu-appearance-jones-and-ferguson-close-door-on-special-session/
The Washington Post ran the Associated Press brief: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/leading-maryland-lawmakers-rule-out-special-session/2020/09/17/1b834de0-f934-11ea-85f7-5941188a98cd_story.html