Hi Friend,

The Maryland General Assembly legislative session is in full swing, and that means it's your opportunity to raise your voices about key policy issues now in play, from health care to education and the environment. Please review the coming events and action items below and do all you can to support legislation that will do the most good for the future of our state.

Spotlight Events and Actions

Saturday: DTMG Hosts Forum on 'What's Next For Maryland Schools'

Sign Up Now for Our February 9 Forum!

Maryland Schools are no longer ranked #1 in the nation, and statewide, our schools are underfunded by $3 billion. The Kirwan Commission has been working for two years on game-changing policies to restore excellence, but ultimately it is up to state government to fund and implement these changes.

Learn what's at stake and how you can use your voice to advocate for change at our forum "What's Next for Maryland Schools" on Saturday February 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington.

Panelists include Rich Madaleno, Director, Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget, former State Senator (D18) and Kirwan Commission member; Maryland Delegate Jared Solomon (D18); MoCo Board of Education At-Large member Karla Silvestre; and Joe Francaviglia, Partnership Director at Strong Schools Maryland. Sign up here and help restore our schools.

Lobby Next Week with DTMG and Strong Schools MD

DTMG is a founding member of Strong Schools Maryland, and as you'll learn in our February 9 education forum, Strong Schools Maryland is aggressively pushing Kirwan Commission policies. Organizers will be in Annapolis every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the legislative session. Tuesday February 12 is DTMG's designated lobby day.

Join our team members in Annapolis from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Sign up here to represent DoTheMostGood and Strong Schools Maryland on February 12, and you will receive specifics by email closer to the event about where to meet. If you cannot join us on February 12, please choose an alternate date to lobby with Strong Schools Maryland.

Advocate for Prescription Drug Affordability in Maryland

The Maryland Health Care for All Coalition is holding its Prescription Drug Affordability Advocacy Day on Thursday February 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the House Office Building in Annapolis, where you can learn tips on legislative advocacy and then visit state senators and delegates. Information and registration is here. To arrange carpools with other local activists, please contact katherine.deerkoski@gmail.com.

In advance of the Advocacy Day, Health Care for All is taking stories of Maryland residents who have been burdened by rising prescription drug costs. To share your story, visit this link.

Support the Clean Energy Jobs Act on Maryland Climate Lobby Night

Join fellow Maryland environmentalists and the CCAN Action Fund Monday February 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Annapolis for the Maryland Climate Lobby Night to ask state officials to commit to putting Maryland on the path to 100 percent clean energy. Children are welcome. Meet in room 145 of the Maryland House of Delegates Building at 6 Bladen Street. Sign up here.

Attend DTMG's Forum on Transportation Policy Next Month

Our March forum will focus on transportation policy at the state and county level on Saturday March 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington. Everything from Lexux lanes to Bus Rapid Transit and Metro will be on the agenda. Speakers include Maryland Delegate Marc Korman (D 16); Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker; Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth; and Susan Swift, Executive Director of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance. Sign up here.

Upcoming Events

Tomorrow: Join Environmental Legislative Summit in Annapolis

The Maryland Sierra Club, along with several other environmental groups, is co-sponsoring the Annual Environmental Legislative Summit on Wednesday February 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. in Annapolis. More info is here. You can also attend the Maryland Sierra Club lobby night Monday February 25 in Annapolis.

MoCo Government to Hold Interactive Budget Development Forum

Following a series of in-person community meetings on the budget, the Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget is hosting its Balancing Act interactive budget forum on Monday February 11 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville. Register here.

Poor People's Campaign Plans Meeting in Rockville

The Poor People's Campaign will hold its monthly Montgomery County Region meeting on Tuesday February 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Montgomery County Council Office Building's cafeteria at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.



Environment

Support The Ban on Foam Food Containers

Join the Maryland Sierra Club, the Maryland Legislative Coalition and other activists in supporting Maryland HB 0109, which would ban the sale of polystyrene food packaging starting in January 2020. Polystyrene is an environmental hazard, neurotoxin and probable carcinogen. Use this link to send comments to your legislators.


Bill Would Give Counties Greater Say In Proposed Toll Lanes

The Maryland Legislative Coalition is calling for activists to support Maryland HB 0102, which would expand the prohibition of the construction of toll roads, highways or bridges without the consent of the majority of counties affected. The bill should be of interest to anyone opposed to the so-called "Lexus Lanes" proposal to add toll lanes on I-270 and I-495. Find contact information for your legislators here, and if you don't know the names of your legislators, click the "Find Your Legislator" link at the top of the legislators' page and type your address.

Oppose EPA Proposal to Ease Regulations on CO2 Emissions

Comments are due February 19 on an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to roll back regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Use the "comment now" button on the page for the proposed regulation.

Health Care

Speak Up on Stabilizing the Individual Health Insurance Market

DTMG MoCo joins the Maryland Health Care for All Coalition, the Maryland Legislative Coalition and Indivisible Montgomery in supporting two health care bills that have been introduced by Maryland legislators.

  • HB 0258 / SB 0239 would allow Maryland to tax insurance providers whenever the Federal government fails to tax them according to the provisions of Affordable Care Act. The monies collected would go into the Maryland Reinsurance fund to help stabilize the individual market by lowering the price of insurance in Maryland.
  • We encourage you to contact your state senator and delegates and ask them to vote yes on this bill. If you want to provide testimony on this or any bill, click on this link.

Immigration

Help Refugee/Asylum Seekers with Rides or Donations

DTMG is working with Takoma Park Mobilization's immigration subcommittee and the Montgomery County chapter of the ACLU to assist refugees vetted as asylum seekers who are being sent to our area. Train to be a greeter for arrivals at the Silver Spring bus station or volunteer to drive refugees to Baltimore for check-ins with ICE; contact Roxanne Weiss at ranaraine@gmail.com. Direct Support for Immigrants has also set up an online donation site here to collect money for legal fees, burner phones, or Lyft rides.

The group is also collecting items for welcome bags for newly-arriving refugees:

  • Adult travelers will receive socks, gloves, hats, towels, tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, deodorant, combs, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
  • Volunteer greeters will offer travelers these add-on items as needed: Water; menstrual care items; boxes of chocolate milk; bags of children's socks (small, medium, large or newborn); children's toothbrushes; kids' journals, coloring books, and crayons; diapers of various sizes; travel-size tissue packs; children's and adults' coats in various sizes; kids' hats and gloves; and travel-ready food (apple sauce, Goldfish crackers, protein bars, and fruit snacks).
  • To donate, please contact Gwen Stewart at gwenatsumner@gmail.com.


For updated information between our Action Update newsletters, please check our website at www.dothemostgoodmoco.org.