A Maryland legislator wants the General Assembly to reconvene for a special session, saying issues surrounding rental assistance, possible evictions and policing cannot wait another five months.
Gov. Larry Hogan has been governing through executive orders since Maryland's General Assembly ended its session early when the coronavirus pandemic began.
“We’re calling for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly so that we can address these issues, so that we can keep people in their houses during this global pandemic, so that we can provide proper PPE and hazard pay for frontline workers, and, absolutely, to deal with police brutality,” Del. Julian Ivey said.
Ivey bypassed house leadership in hopes of building a coalition supporting a special legislative session like neighboring Virginia where legislators will consider the commonwealth's budget and policing policies next month.
“Virginia, specifically, the former capital of the Confederacy, take more urgency on the police brutality than the state of Maryland where we have super majorities in both chambers,” he said.
“My concerns basically fall into line of COVID-19,” Del. Ron Watson said.
Watson, also of Prince George's County, said he wants to wait until January’s planned session. He's concerned about the health of members considered to be at high risk for COVID-19.
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“I understand what other surrounding areas are doing but their demographics are not our demographics,” he said.
While Democrats have sent letters to Hogan asking for executive orders to address outstanding issues, Ivey says the governor has failed to act.
“We have to step up and do the job that we ask the people of Maryland to allow us to do on their behalf,” he said.
Many legislators told News4 health is a primary concern and they are anxious to see what Maryland's attorney general has to say about what a special session could look like for the General Assembly.
A spokesperson for the governor's office said in a statement the governor will give thoughtful consideration to the conclusion and recommendations made by a legislative work group established by the speaker of the House of Delegates to review policing polices.