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Updates on primaries and the coronavirus
INDIVISIBLE MONTGOMERY
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Hi <<First Name>>,

Our world, country, state and county are undergoing major upheavals in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The scale of the response--major event cancellations, social distancing--is unprecedented in the United States, and yet absolutely necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

It was only ten days ago that Gov. Hogan confirmed the first three cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. Now, the entire state has entered a partial shutdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. To say this has moved fast would be an understatement. On a positive note, those first three COVID-19 patients in Maryland are reported to have recovered and are doing well.

Personally, I appreciate the governor's response to COVID-19 in Maryland. This is a serious disease that could easily overwhelm our health care system. Taking action as early as possible is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.

As you likely saw, Indivisible Montgomery and our partners in the county have canceled all in-person events. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement last night indicating there should be no gatherings with more than 50 people. While some of our gatherings fall under this threshold, our work is completely voluntary, and it would be irresponsible for us to keep gathering and possibly spreading the virus.

While you're practicing your very important social distancing, we can still be active participants in our democracy. Here are a few things you can do:
  • Fill out the census! If you haven't already, you should receive a notification in the mail explaining how to complete the census. It is absolutely important that we do this so that we get an accurate count of everyone in our country.
  • Request a mail-in ballot! The Maryland primary is on Apr. 28, and it is not clear how the coronavirus will affect our chance to vote. So request your mail-in ballot and avoid the lines and disease vectors!
  • Consider phone banking, texting and getting up to speed on all of the activities we'll need to take this fall to defeat President Trump. More details coming soon!
  • And get ready to call our members of Congress for our weekly day of action on Tuesday!
And a few relevant news stories:
  • The dos and don’ts of ‘social distancing’ (The Atlantic)
  • New coronavirus test 10 times faster is FDA approved (Bloomberg)
  • Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” (The  Washington Post)


Did you know there is a presidential primary going on? You may not have remembered given the wall-to-wall focus on coronavirus for the past week. In fact, there was a debate last night! Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Illinois are slated to vote Tuesday. These are delegate-rich states, as well as potential battlegrounds come the fall, and voters in these states could have the biggest effect on the race since Super Tuesday.

One thing that the coronavirus has made clear is that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would each be vastly superior presidents to President Trump. Infighting and woeful incompetence within the White House are dramatically hampering federal actions to combat the spread of coronavirus. Contrary to this, Biden and Sanders gave sober remarks about the pandemic and took responsible actions to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

A question percolating since the threat of coronavirus became apparent is whether Trump might use this as a lever to delay the November election and remain in power. The answer: he can't. Only Congress can set an election date, and Trump's term expires at noon on Jan. 20, 2021. If there were no election, the Speaker of the House would assume the presidency when Trump's term expires.

Also in this newsletter:
Best,

Chris Pickett
Calendar
This week! (Indivisible Montgomery events in bold)

Note: Because of COVID-19, most of the local in-person events have been canceled or postponed
  • Tuesday, Mar. 17: Indivisible Montgomery day of action! Scripts in your inbox tomorrow morning.
Upcoming notable events
  • Apr. 16-23: Maryland primary early voting!
  • Apr. 28: Maryland primary!
Hearings and Events
The Hearings and Public Events committee leads Indivisible Montgomery delegations to the Hill to attend various hearings and other events. Originally the Conflicts of Interest committee, this group still focuses on issues around corruption in the administration and is branching out to take advantage of other opportunities to attend important Hill briefings and events.

The Hearings and Public Events Committee met by phone on Mar. 15, to discuss our plans between now and the election. In light of the uncertainty for when public events will resume being held, we decided that we will accelerate our switch to concentrating on elections-related activities. We had previously planned to make this switch in June, but we agreed to make it now. We will continue to prepare the hearings report and to report on corruption and conflicts related news. Note, however, that public access to the Capitol is restricted for the near future.

No hearings currently scheduled for this week.

What we're reading:
  • Full appeals court to hear McGahn, border wall cases (POLITICO)
  • Trump's travel ban sidesteps his own resorts (POLITICO)
  • Airlines, travel and cruise industries hurt by coronavirus could get tax relief from White House (The Washington Post)
Regulatory Changes
The Regulatory Changes committee, formerly the Environment and Science committee, has extensive experience responding to the Trump administration's all-out assault on environmental regulations. Now they are expanding their scope to cover regulatory changes across the federal government. This committee will write responses to proposed regulatory changes that all Indivisible Montgomery members can use to push back against Trump's regulatory rollback.

The Regulatory Changes committee won't be holding in-person meetings in March or April, but we'll continue working on regulatory responses as members' schedules allow. If you'd like to get involved, pleasecontact Angela.

The Department of Interior is currently taking comments on its proposed rule change that will dramatically weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The deadline for comments is Mar. 19. The committee won't be posting comments on the Indivisible Montgomery website, but you can learn more and submit your own comments here.

What we're reading:
  • Judge blocks Trump rule that would have kicked 700,000 off food stamps during a pandemic (Slate)
  • Maryland House gives final approval to bill prohibiting single-use plastic bags (The Washington Post)
  • The Energy 202: Watchdog opens probe into whether federal grant was used to bolster Alaska’s timber industry (The Washington Post)
Elections
The Elections committee is the focal point of all of Indivisible Montgomery's elections activities. This committee also collaborates with other resistance groups in the community to ensure we maximize our volunteer energy.

Look for an email very soon with a large menu of effective voter contact actions you can take from home while waiting out the coronavirus. Among them: the Indivisible Payback Project is targeting your "favorite" nine Republican senators for payback, including Sens. McConnell, Graham, Collins and Ernst. You can help defeat them by supporting critical organizing work in their states. Go here to learn how.
 
You can donate now to the eventual Dem nominee in a number of 2020 races. Funds like Ditch Mitch, Retake the Senate, or any of the SwingLeft funds are great ways to make sure your donations are used by Democrats in important races in November.
 
One important race that will be decided very soon is the election for Wisconsin Supreme Court. An extreme right-wing judge is running against a liberal judge in a race that could bring the court close to tipping back toward liberal control next year. The election is Apr. 7 and you can make a difference in this critical election for justice and democracy in Wisconsin by donating to Judge Jill Karofsky.

Want to donate or volunteer with a group fighting voter suppression or encouraging women to run for office? Check out this page with a short list of organizations that do that.
 
What we're reading:
  • Biden surge, coronavirus spread force reappraisal of the general election (The Washington Post)
  • Pod Save America's Dan Pfeiffer on Joe Biden, beating Trump, and saving democracy (Vox)
  • Can you guess how popular Bernie Sanders" policies are? (FiveThirtyEight)
Your support for our work will be critical to making the change we need in 2020. Please consider giving to Indivisible Montgomery today!
And visit our website: indivisible-montgomery.org
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