Hi Friend,

The 2019 Maryland Legislative Session wrapped up last Monday, April 8, following the heartbreaking loss of House Speaker Michael Busch, who passed away suddenly the day before.

Our elected officials stayed late into the night to close the session and had many legislative successes. Read below for a brief wrap-up, find steps you can take to help ensure certain bills are signed into law, and join us on Saturday, May 4, to discuss the recent legislative session at a community forum.

Spotlight Events

Wednesday: Join Our Happy Hour with Special Guest Congressman Trone in King Farm

Stay engaged with your fellow activists this spring!

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday April 17, as DoTheMostGood MoCo hosts its first Happy Hour at locally owned and operated Botanero Restaurant in the King Farm section of Rockville (800 Pleasant Drive) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (No cover, no minimum; enjoy free snacks and specials on food and drinks.)

Our special guest tomorrow evening will be Congressman David J. Trone, who represents much of MoCo's upcounty community. Spread the word to your friends in Frederick and Garrett County, too! RSVP here.

Sign Up to Find Out "How Progressive Is Maryland" on May 4

Join us Saturday May 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at Wootton High School in Rockville for our next community forum on Takeaways from the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session, where we'll try to answer questions like "how progressive is Maryland?" and others.

Speakers include House Majority Leader Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D15), Senator Cheryl Kagan (D17), and Delegate David Moon (D20). Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post reporter covering Maryland state politics, will moderate. REGISTER TODAY

2019 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Wrap-Up

ENACTED Legislation Includes:

  • Gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026
  • Substantially increasing the amount of renewable energy utilized
  • Substantially increasing the funding for public education
  • Establishing a first in the nation drug affordability board to study the high cost of prescription drugs and make recommendations on what the state can do to reduce such costs
  • Raising the minimum age required to purchase tobacco
  • Allowing local school boards to set the school calendar (so that schools can start before Labor Day)
  • Banning polystyrene food containers, making Maryland the first state to do so
  • Permitting those Federal employees who are not paid during a Federal government shutdown to apply for unemployment benefits
  • Expanding the childcare tax credit

The MD Legislature DID NOT ENACT These Bills That Would Have:

  • Required an environmental impact report before significant new action could be taken aimed at expanding I-270 and I-495 or similar road construction projects
  • Granted permission for Montgomery County to proceed with ranked choice voting in elections for certain county elections
  • Mandated for Maryland citizens to have health insurance
  • Authorized assisted suicide for certain patients with terminal illness
  • Limited county cooperation with Federal immigration officials
  • Barred gerrymandering of Federal congressional districts and the establishment of an independent commission to make recommendations on Congressional district boundaries
  • Banned 3-D printed guns and required background checks for private sales of shotguns and rifles

Urge Governor Hogan to Sign Key Healthcare Bill on Drug Affordability

The Maryland Citizen's Health Initiative wants support from citizens like you in encouraging Governor Larry Hogan to sign into law the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (HB768), which would help curb the high cost of prescription drugs and give the state authority to set an upper limit on what state and local governments pay for high-cost prescription drugs. Use this online Advocacy Tool to urge Governor Hogan to sign the bill into law.

Lend Your Support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act

The Maryland Assembly this month passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB516). Since Governor Hogan has vetoed a Clean Energy Jobs Act before, we must encourage him to sign it this time. Let him know that Maryland will lose $240 million in tax credits and thousands of jobs if he vetoes the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Please write or email Governor Hogan at: 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401 or governor.mail@maryland.gov, or send a tweet to @GovLarryHogan.

At our two spotlight events posted above, DTMG plans to have postcards ready for you to write to Governor Hogan urging him to sign this and other key legislation into law.

Washington Post Publishes DTMGer's Letter to the Editor

DTMG steering committee member Olivia Bartlett penned a letter to the editor that ran earlier this month in the Washington Post warning local residents not to expect innovative alternatives to the I-270 and Beltway expansion because the Maryland Department of Transportation did not collect the proper advance feedback from residents and advocacy groups in the impacted regions before ruling out other plans. See her letter on our website.

Highlights from Recent Events

DTMG MoCo Met with Student Activists at Wootton High School

The next generation of community organizers met recently at a student-organized Activism Night at Wootton High School in Rockville. DTMG was invited to participate in the non-partisan event, which drew more than 100 local activists, teachers, parents, students, and elected officials.

Students were encouraged to get involved through social media, activism sites, education and leadership groups, and political organizations, and learned that registering to vote is a key way to participate in our democracy.

DTMG steering committee member and Obama Administration alum Ashwani Jain was impressed by how committed the participating students were to improving their community, and he added it was great that several of them expressed interest in becoming student fellows in a new program he's leading for DTMG.

If you know a student from eighth grade through college who's interested in DTMG's student fellowship program, they can apply by sending a resume to Ashwani Jain at ashwani81289@gmail.com or Barbara Noveau at barbara@dothemostgoodmoco.org. No prior experience is required. Fellows will receive high-level experience in political advocacy and electoral organizing, as well as access to a network of political operatives, professional development opportunities, and references.

Please join DTMG in welcoming Rohin Shah and Isabel Stares as the program's initial fellows.

Last Chance: Oppose EPA's Proposed Relaxation of Mercury & Air Toxin Rules

Comments are due by Wednesday April 17 at 11:59 p.m. on the EPA's proposal to relax its emission standards on regulating hazardous air pollutants.

Greet Refugee/Asylum Seekers As They Arrive in Silver Spring

Transit Immigrant Assistance Silver Spring (TIA SS) seeks new volunteers and community organizers ready to help welcome asylum seekers and refugees to Montgomery County. Bus greeters meet in two-person shifts at the Silver Spring Greyhound Station. Greeters offer each migrant a bag containing toiletries and weather-appropriate outerwear, as well as a flyer from Direct Services for Immigrants with contact info on rides, legal aid, and school enrollment.

Greeters should commit to volunteering at least once a week. Shifts include 7:05 a.m., 11:25 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. A doctor is on call for all shifts in the event of a medical emergency. New greeters will receive video training. Contact Roxanne Weiss at ranaraine@gmail.com for more information or to volunteer.

And check our website for a list of items you can donate to help assemble welcome bags for migrants from the southern border.

Upcoming Events

CABE to Host Open Q&A Thursday with MD State Highway Administrator

The Citizens Against Beltway Expansion invites interested citizens to its open meeting Thursday April 18 at 3 p.m. at Christ Congregational Church, 9525 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. CABE will meet with Greg Slater, who heads the Maryland State Highway Administration, the agency spearheading the project to widen I-270 and I-495 that would add privatized toll lanes. Use this opportunity to ask about the SHA's plans and the likely impact on your home, wallet and environment. Register here.

MCPS Hosts Public Meetings on Achievement Gap in Schools

Following the release of an interactive Equity Accountability Model dashboard, the Montgomery County Public Schools Office of School Support and Improvement (OSSI) is hosting public meetings at local high schools in April and May to explore the new MCPS Equity Accountability Model. Attendees will discuss strategies to better monitor, measure and report student achievement across the county's public schools.

As Montgomery County Board of Education member Karla Silvestre observed at a DTMG education forum in February, overall student achievement in MoCo public schools tends to mask more problematic data until factors such as race and poverty are more closely examined. MCPS is charged with ensuring there is more focus on the students who might not achieve the same level of success or have access to the same opportunities for success as other students.

RSVP here for the public meetings. (All meetings are 7 to 8:30 p.m.):

New Date Added to M-DOT Workshops on Road Widening Plans

The Maryland Department of Transportation has added new meetings to its series of public workshops describing plans to move forward with its controversial toll lanes on I-270 and I-495 (the so-called "Lexus Lanes"). You can learn more and make public comments at these locations in Montgomery County:

  • Silver Spring: Wednesday April 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Eastern Middle School, 300 University Blvd. East
  • Rockville: Thursday April 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Wootton High School, 2100 Wootton Parkway
  • NEW: Germantown: Thursday May 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Seneca Valley High School, 19401 Crystal Rock Drive
Find more information at https://495-270-p3.com. Contact the study team for the I-495 and I-495 Managed Lanes study, the first element of a Public-Private Partnership Program (P3), at 495-270-P3@sha.state.md.us.

DTMG Immigration Team Gathers for Monthly Meetings

Help us advocate for more just immigration policies as well as an increase in voting participation among local immigrant citizens. Join the DTMG immigration team, which meets on the last Sunday of each month in private homes. Email kavitasethuraman@hotmail.com or info@dothemostgoodmoco.org for the address of our next meeting, scheduled for Sunday April 28 from 4 to 6 p.m.

BCC Breakfast Club Announces May & June Meetings

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Breakfast Club has announced the guest speakers for its next two meetings:
  • Montgomery County Sherriff Darren Popkin will speak on Monday May 6 starting at 7:30 a.m.
  • Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh presents on Monday June 3. The program starts at 8 a.m.

Both events will be held at the Original Pancake House at 7703 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda.

First Democratic Presidential Primary Debates Set for June 26 & 27 in Miami

NBC News announced it would host the first Democratic presidential primary debates across two nights, Wednesday June 26 and Thursday June 27, from Miami. The debates will be televised on NBS, MSNBC and Telemundo, and will be livestreamed across the networks' online platforms.

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