We, the Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD), urge the Maryland legislature to hold a special session before the regular session, to deal with the crises gripping our state and county.
MCYD is a diverse group of young adults who are passionate about making our community a better place through political activism and organizing. We believe the Maryland General Assembly should convene a special legislative session before the planned regular session in January in order to meet the immediate needs of Marylanders during these unprecedented times.
Over the past four months, over 900,000 Marylanders have filed unemployment claims, many for the first time. Families have been devastated by death and illness, students and workplaces have had to adapt to teleworking, and the state is making difficult funding decisions as we plunge into a deep economic downturn. Black residents, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, face added trauma from the police violence and racism that has been at the forefront of policy conversations following the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people at the hands of police. Each day that passes without policing reform and other systematic changes puts Black Marylanders at risk and enables oppression and racism to permeate throughout the state.
For too many Marylanders facing financial hardship during COVID-19, relief has not always been readily available. Undocumented immigrants, many of whom are essential workers, have been left out of relief programs, and unemployed residents were met with difficulties and delays with their unemployment benefits. As counties begin to reopen, we fear the imminent impact this will have on vulnerable residents who have been hanging on by a thread: At-risk employees will be forced to return to work, small businesses will close, people will lose their homes as evictions resume, and there will be many other long-lasting negative impacts to our communities without comprehensive, inclusive, statewide relief.
Although Governor Hogan has the power to implement these much needed relief programs, he has made it clear that protecting Black, immigrant, and other vulnerable communities is not his priority. For this reason, we urge the State Legislature to convene a special legislative session to take action on these pressing matters:
- Override the Governor’s vetoes of important bills
- Financial relief and protections, and fixing issues with unemployment insurance
- Policing reform, including passing Anton’s Law, repealing the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, limit use of force, and keeping law enforcement out of schools
- Protecting the health & safety of all Marylanders, and ensuring the 2020 election is safe
We have had to deal with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, as hundreds of thousands of residents have lost their jobs and many have had difficulties receiving their unemployment benefits or their federal stimulus checks.
Millions have seen their schools and workplaces close, had to follow stay at home orders, or been forced to work in unsafe conditions. The state’s revenues have swiftly declined as the United States plunges into a deep economic downturn. And Maryland continues to be impacted by systemic racism and police brutality.
We urge Maryland legislators to support a special legislative session soon to enact emergency measures for these crises. We also understand and share their concerns about the health and safety of legislators, staff members, and the public. Thousands of people gathered in Annapolis would provide an ideal environment for the coronavirus to spread. Therefore MCYD urges that this special legislative session be a virtual session, in order to prioritize public health.
It may not be normal to call for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly, in fact, it has not been called into a special session since the Civil War. But these are not normal times. The problems facing our state will only get more serious in the coming months if the legislature does not take action to solve them.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 925-708-1135 if you have any questions.
Michael DeLong, President
Teresa Woorman, Vice President
Stephen Schiavone, Treasurer
Kathleen Bender, Political Advocacy Director
Margie Delao, Communications Director
Keyna Anyiam, Membership Director
Steven Cenname, Secretary