I hope you and your family are remaining safe and healthy. As much of the media and national conversation has shifted to reopening--and with Governor Hogan announcing a partial reopening in parts of Maryland as soon as today--it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of the shutdowns was to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that hospitals and medical professionals would be more able to deal with the volume of cases that will be with us for some time. That means that even as some of the restrictions are loosened, we cannot expect to immediately revert back to old habits and patterns. It is frustrating for many and deeply impactful on the economic well-being of many more, but it is our current reality until therapeutic or preventative treatments for COVID-19 are developed.
As always, you can keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or by clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
COVID-19 and the impacts it is having on all our sectors of our society is the most important issue my office and the state legislature is working on. For the latest statistics and data on COVID-19, visit the state's portal: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/. I also post District 16 zip code COVID-19 statistics on Facebook and Twitter daily, as well as statistics regarding congregate facilities such as nursing homes weekly.
The Governor's orders can all be found on his website. If you have a question about their meaning or how they are enforced, reach out to me anytime as we have been able to clarify many provisions for constituents.
Many of you are trying to navigate the state's unemployment system, which was simply not equipped for the volume or complexity of the current caseload. The Department of Labor website is your entryway for unemployment benefits: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/uibenefits.shtml. If you are having trouble with unemployment and live in District 16, you can fill out our District 16 constituent service Google form for assistance here.
The legislature's primary means of providing comprehensive oversight of the COVID-19 response is a Joint Legislative Workgroup. You can read about their work and watch/listen to their meetings here.
The Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation & the Environment, which I chair, is holding a briefing on Wednesday, May 20th with the Department of Transportation to better understand COVID-19's impact on our transportation sector. More information will be available here prior to the briefing.
The Governor recently vetoed numerous pieces of legislation and let others become law without his signature.
Of the bills I authored, Governor Hogan allowed three to become law without his signature:
- Pedestrian Access Act of 2020 (HB 194): Requires the State Highway Administration to create mobility rules when issuing access permits along state highways.
- The County Tax Fairness Act (HB 621): Gives Montgomery County--and other counties--more time to repay a state fund for tax refunds already provided to taxpayers, improving local cash flow.
- The Maryland State Agency Transparency Act (HB 421): Requires several state agencies to video stream their proceedings and take other transparency measures.
The Governor also vetoed two bills I authored:
- HB 86: Reformed what is known as the WMATA/Metro operating subsidy cap to give more flexibility to the transit agency.
- 21st Century Economic Fairness Act (HB 932): Applied the sales tax to digital goods--just as it is currently applied to physical goods--as 30 other states do.
The Governor also vetoed numerous other, signficiant pieces of legislation including the Blueprint for Maryland's future; a major package for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to settle litigation; background checks on firearms transfers; a study of expanded commuter rail; funding for anti-violence programs and coordinaton; and more. The Governor's press release links to the vetoed bills lists and letters. One bill the Governor allowed to become law but will not go into effect is the Built to Learn Act, bipartisan legislation to invest more in school construction. The legislation was tied to the Blueprint for Maryand's Future.
The legislature will have the option to try and override these vetoes when it next convenes.
The Department of Legislative Services recently released the 2020 Session Major Issues Review, which highlights some of the legislature's work on major priorities in 2020. You can read the report here.
If you are starting or continuing your higher education next year, you may be eligible to apply for my office scholarship. More information is online.
The 2020 primary is on June 2nd. The primary will largely be conducted by mail. You can return your ballot postage paid through the mail or at dropbox locations. If you have to vote in person, a few polling sites will be open on Election Day but do not just go to your typical, neighborhood polling site. You can learn more about local voting options here. You can check your voting and ballot status here to make sure a ballot is on the way online.
And be sure to click here to watch this Public Service Announcement from the Mongomery County House and Senate Delegation regarding the election. See if you can spot your District 16 legislators.
Last year the Maryland Department of Transportation released a Context Guide, finally recognizing that a road in downtown Bethesda is not the same as a road in rural Garrett County. You can view the guide here. I wrote the State Highway Administration with questions and comments about the guide and the State Highway Administration recently responded. The short version of the response is that the document will continue to evolve, so we can and will continue to send suggestions.
- District 16's Bama Athreya had an op-ed published in the Washington Post about workers and the recovery from COVID-19.
- Congratulations to Joyce Dubow and Miriam Kelty on their appointment and reappointment to the Montgomery County Commission on Aging.
- If you missed the District 16 online Town Hall with special guests Congressman Jamie Raskin and County Executive Marc Elrich, you can watch it online here.
- District 16 lost a stalwart Democrat and I lost a great friend and supporter with the passing of Madeleine Sigel. My condolences to her family and friends.
- Condolences to Shelly Guggenheim on the passing of her husband, Joe Guggenheim.
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences or an upcoming event, please email email@example.com.