Both the Supreme Court and Congress went off for short or long breaks leaving rubble to clean up and victims to rescue. Here's news you can use from Maryland and national activists to remind us: preserving democracy and defending working families is a task never completed. What helps? Solidarity, working together to make life better for all of us even though our political environment sometimes makes us feel all alone. Get the scoop here.
The Feds: Congress is on a two-week break but…
National activism news from People’s Action Fed Affairs Director Megan Essaheb:
“Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin made progress on the budget reconciliation bill last week, having reached an agreement on the drug provisions of a budget reconciliation package and sending it to the parliamentarian for review. The Washington Post reports that the provisions sound similar to what was passed out of the House. There is no mention of the insulin provisions, which may not pass the parliamentarian’s application of the Byrd rule. There is not yet an agreement on the energy and climate policy provisions and increased taxes on corporations and CEOs.”
Mitch McConnell, the GOP’s Great Barrier Chief, threatens “Republicans will block the supply chain/micro-chips bill referred to as USICA if Democrats pass a budget reconciliation bill.”
Non-medieval states are still scrambling (see ours, below) to patch together reproductive health access plans following the overturning of Roe.
But the Supremes had another goody to deliver on their last session of the season before summer break, and it was for the fossil fuel industry, putting a crimp in the Clean Power Plan that would green up electrical grids across the nation.
Megan E of People’s Action has more on that: “There is some division among experts and advocates over whether the ruling was just bad or really terrible. Some climate advocates had feared the Court would strip the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon, entirely, which it did not do. Its decision was limited to the Clean Power Plan.” However, the Court used to defer more to the Exec branch when it comes to interpreting the law Congress makes, but “now, the Court appears to be saying that it will do the interpreting. This will impact administrative policy throughout the executive branch, not just at EPA.”
Climate activists are increasingly turning to state and local government: From Politico: Lawsuits are increasingly targeting governments and companies for climate inaction or greenwashing, posing a rising threat to fossil fuel majors and other corporate polluters. And NBC reported on advocates turning to the states and businesses for climate advocacy. "AP at length, via the Pew Center: The SCOTUS ruling is putting a renewed focus on efforts across the country to limit the reliance on power plants that spew planet-warming emissions into the air. While Democratic states have taken the lead on the most aggressive climate policy in recent years, some Republican-led states are also helping shift the U.S. power grid toward cleaner sources of energy." And, as the Maryland Association of Counties excellent report Conduit Street relates, sometimes the states are putting it together.
Also from Megan E: ISSUE UPDATE: HOUSING
The Washington Post reported on inflation making homelessness worse:
“In interviews, shelter officials in 15 states all reported a dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly single mothers, seeking services this year. In some cases, waitlists have doubled or tripled in a matter of months.
Every $100 increase in median rent is associated with a 9 percent increase in the estimated homelessness rate, according to a 2020 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Economists say that figure is particularly troubling as rents continue to soar to unprecedented highs. The national median asking rent jumped to a record $2,002 in May, up 15 percent from $1,738 a year ago, according to Redfin” the WaPo reported.
Here in Maryland:
New Tuesday Morning: Larry Hogan tries to pre-empt Assembly, directs state cops to drop permitting restriction: "Gov. Larry Hogan has directed the Maryland State Police to suspend the state’s 'good and substantial reason' standard for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed gun in light of last month’s Supreme Court decision." Baltimore Sun
"Open Carry Larry" is definitely burnishing his GOP knuckle-dragger credentials in his GOP prez prep playbook.
D.C.-area officials move to help abortion clinics after Roe ruling -- Local officials expect an influx of patients from states with trigger laws that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. WaPo
GLITCHES EMERGE AS BALLOTS MAILED OUT: About a half-million Maryland voters have already received their ballots by mail or online — and millions more have received sample ballots or other information about what to do come primary day. But in an unusual year in which the voting is later than normal and district lines have switched, hiccups have already popped up. Baltimore Sun.
NEW LAWS took EFFECT FRIDAY: There are 264 new state laws that went into effect last Friday, July 1, and a glimpse shows they include transportation, expanding access to abortions and providing more training for clinicians interested in performing abortion services, new testing on PFAS chemicals leading up to a ban in 2024, increased police accountability and new rules on restraining kids in classrooms. Baltimore Sun
POLL SHOWS PARTISAN DIVIDE: Democrats and Republicans don’t seem to agree on much these days, but a new Goucher College poll, conducted in partnership with WYPR and The Baltimore Banner, found the majority of voters in both political parties thought that the rule of law in the U.S. and democracy itself is under threat.
- The Baltimore Banner offers an overview of the survey information on Maryland voters from the Goucher College poll, listing which issues are important to voters of different parties, and finding a state divided by party.
Franchot tests positive for COVID: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a leading candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, said on Twitter Friday (July 1) that he tested positive for COVID-19, the Baltimore Sun reported. Franchot said he is vaccinated and boosted and his symptoms are mild, but the positive test means he will need to quarantine during a crucial stretch of the political campaign to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
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