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Our Blog: Forward Progress

  • Trayvon Martin and the Emergence of an American Human Rights Movement

    The murder of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer did not happen in a vacuum. We have had a summer of roll backs: the Voting Rights Act gutted by the Supreme Court, reproductive rights chipped away and a hot summer of violence in our beloved Baltimore and around the nation. All of this is a call to attention.

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  • When is a signed contract not a contract?

    Question: When is a signed contract not a contract?

    Answer: When a car dealer decides to change the terms of the contract.

    Unfortunately, this is not a joke. And it is not at all funny. Legally, of course, when a consumer signs a contract to buy a car, the contract is binding. The car buyer and car dealer agree on the terms of the sale.

    Tell car dealers to stop the funny business!

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  • A Prescription for Housing

    Testifying before the Maryland Senate in support of a bill that created the state’s first task force to study housing and support service needs of unaccompanied homeless youth, Lisa Stambolis, Director of Pediatrics at Health Care for the Homeless Maryland, explained that she treats homeless youth every day for asthma, diabetes, and other illnesses. But, as she poignantly put it, what she really needs to write a prescription for is housing.

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  • Maryland Becomes Leader in Gun Violence Prevention with Firearms Safety Act of 2013

    As lawmakers at the national and state levels grapple with how to approach and pass new gun legislation, Maryland has taken a firm step forward. April 4th marked the landmark passing of the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, which made Maryland one of our nation's leading states in passing effective gun violence prevention legislation.

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  • Effective Discipline: Positive Results, Keeping More Kids in School

    By --

    Recent headlines tell of student expulsions or suspensions for making bad choices or exhibiting bad behavior.  I do believe we are all in agreement that children should be held accountable for their behavior.  Sometimes out-of-school punishments are necessary.  However, some recent disciplinary decisions have caused many to question whether the punishment suited the student’s action.

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  • Young and Alone With No Place to Call Home

    Maryland consistently ranks among the wealthiest states in the nation. Yet in recent years our state has seen a marked increase in the number of “unaccompanied homeless youth,” or young people aged 14 to 25 who lack stable housing and are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

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  • Historic passage of death penalty repeal in Maryland

    We’re number 18!

    Last Friday, Maryland's House of Delegates voted 82-56 to pass historic legislation to repeal the death penalty in Maryland. The bill has already passed the Maryland Senate 27-20. With the expected signature of Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland is set to become the 18th state to end capital punishment, offering a strong model and momentum for other states working towards repeal.

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  • A Good Bet: Investing in Education

    It’s hard to get people to agree on much in this time of political division and economic anxiety, but one thing has been a perennial – Marylanders have been willing to support funding for all children in their state to get a good education. To this advocate, that’s gratifying.

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  • Make Ticketmaster Play by the Rules Now – and Thank Me for the Extra Revenue for the City Later

    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake can thank me later. I’ve found a way to generate more than $500,000 in revenue for the city of Baltimore this year, and all the mayor has to do is follow city law.

    Astonishingly, amid recent reports of Baltimore’s fiscal crisis, the mayor is prepared to ignore this source of vitally needed revenue – to help a struggling little company called Ticketmaster.

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  • Count Shows Rise in Homelessness Again this Year: What will it take to End This Crisis?

    When the bitter cold of winter sets in, most of us take refuge in the warmth and comfort of our homes. Spared from the immediate need to find shelter, we are free to go about our daily routines. But for those without housing – a basic human necessity and the foundation upon which we build our lives – each day is a struggle for safety and stability.

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  • Legal Services Funding Crisis

    The hundreds of thousands of Maryland households that include a member with a disability are generally twice as likely as other families to live in poverty; in fact, people with disabilities are the most impoverished and disenfranchised segment of the population.  Countless low-income people with disabilities need legal representation across the full spectrum of their lives, to defend their rights, access services, and be integrated into community life.  Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) is the only legal advocacy organization exclusively focused on the needs of people with all types of

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  • The time is now for Maryland to finally end capital punishment

    Could this be the year that Maryland becomes the 18th state to repeal the death penalty? The reasons to end capital punishment are many, even though not all are widely known.

    For instance, did you know that Maryland has only put to death five people since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978? And today, only five men sit on death row and there have been no executions since 2005.

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  • The United States stands out among the few nations of the world that do not provide guaranteed sick leave for workers.

    Officials warn of worst flu season in years, advise sick workers to stay home and rest: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CAN’T?

    A good number of us are going to contract the flu this winter.  We will stock up on tissues, soup and Tylenol.  We will be tired.  We will ache.  We will be miserable.  Many of us will be too sick to go to work.  We will be forced under the covers until we feel better, never noticing a difference in our paychecks.

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  • Gun Violence - Solutions Now!

    Since April 20, 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot up Columbine High school in Jefferson County, Colorado thirty-one other major mass gun shootings have occurred. During that same time frame only 14 similar events occurred in the entire rest of the world. Gun Violence is epidemic in the United States and the first message out of the White House again was “Now is not the time to talk about gun control.”

    We need to discuss our options.

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  • National Mortgage Settlement - More Needs to Be Done

    On August 29th, the Office of Mortgage Settlement released a report on the progress five national banks have made in fulfilling their obligations under the national foreclosure settlement. The banks have committed to providing relief to beleaguered homeowners through principal reduction loan modifications, refinancing, short sales, and more.

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  • Maryland Meals for Achievement program allows 367 kids (like some of these Monocacy Elementary School students) to get free, healthy breakfasts -- up from just 108 before the program. Photo: Share our Strength, Brian Alexander

    Happy New Year - Your investments are paying off

    By --

    On July 1, the State of Maryland starts a new fiscal year, with a new balanced budget. The deliberations leading up to this budget were contentious, and the legislature had to come back to Annapolis for a special session to wrap up its work.

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  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    "Well done is better than well said"
    Benjamin Franklin, US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

    While I agree wholeheartedly with this notion, I have to admit it has taken me awhile to come around to this viewpoint. I’m someone who loves words -- I can sink into a book the way others sink into down comforters. In fact, I may take more comfort in a book than in a down blanket.

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  • My Fairwell

    By --

    Unfortunately my time blogging for the Moving Maryland Forward Network is coming to an end. I have been blogging for years but this was my first stint as a professional blogger, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t learned a lot. Not just about the differences between professional and recreational blogging, but also a ton about state politics and non-profit operations.

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  • Doomsday Averted: O'Malley Calls Special Session

    By --

    Finally!!! Governor O’Malley called a special session to begin on Monday, May 14th. The Maryland House of Representatives and Senate will convene to fix the Maryland budget so we don’t have to suffer through the doomsday budget (which I’ve outlined in this earlier blog post).

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  • President Obama Speaks Out for Equality

    This morning I awakened to the news that North Carolina had passed a state Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. My heart broke. This is the state that my parents hail from, as well as so many of my family members.

    A state where I spent the summers with my grandmother and cousins, and have so many fond memories...and a state that just legislated bigotry and injustice as if setting the calendar back a good 50 years. One step forward, two steps back....

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