2022 Session Newsletter - 2/7/2022
Dear Neighbors and Friends -
The 2022 legislative session is officially in full swing, with my office preparing for committee hearings throughout the month of February. So far, House Bill 114 - Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program has been heard before the House Judiciary Committee. This week, we are preparing for House Bill 367 - Landlord and Tenant - Repossession for Failure to Pay Rent - Rental Assistance Programs to be heard before the House Environment and Transportation Committee. I am excited to be working alongside so many community members and organizations to get my legislative agenda across the finish line!
In the state, there is promising news in the fight against the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Hospitalizations are continuing to decline below their pre-Omicron peak and total vaccinations have surpassed 11 million doses. This does not mean we can let our guard down - please be sure to check later in this newsletter about testing locations and vaccination sites.
At the county level, Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Department has announced an incredible lineup of events to celebrate Black History Month. These events will be taking place at various locations across the county. I will be taking part in events in Greenbelt, and hope to see you there!
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns.
Remembering Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward
Mayor Kevin (Scooter) Ward was a warm and joyful person. His sudden passing has been felt deeply by those who knew him and within the community at large. After stepping into the role of Interim Mayor in January of 2021, Kevin was formally elected Mayor in Spring of 2021. He became the City's first openly gay and second Black Mayor. As Mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was dedicated to building a community safety net, pushing for local availability of free food, COVID testing and vaccines, and funding relief programs for residents and businesses. During his year as Mayor, he was also a staunch advocate for affordable housing, providing support services and programming for seniors and vulnerable community members, and for innovative community policing and mental health outreach for both officers and the people they serve.
Celebrating Black History Month
The Prince George's County Parks and Recreation Department has organized a wonderful lineup of events to celebrate Black History Month and honor the African American community. To view the event calendar and register to participate, please click here. The City of Greenbelt is also holding Black History Month events focusing on Black health, wellness, and finance. I will be participating in two of the events on Thursday, February 10th and Sunday, February 20th. You can view the full calendar of events here.
Racial Justice Essay Contest
The Equal Justice Initiative has partnered with the Prince George's County Lynching Memorial Project to host the Racial Justice Essay Contest. This scholarship contest will be open to 9th - 12th graders attending public high school in Prince George's County. Prizes for winning entry will total at least $5,000, and submissions will be due April 15th, 2022. To learn more and to apply, please click here.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
The state of Maryland has opened several hospital-based COVID-19 testing sites. Those closest to Prince George's County residents include: UM Laurel Alternate Care Site 7300 Van Dusen Rd. Laurel, MD 20707 Open daily (Mon-Sun, 9 AM - 1 PM) Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center (testing at Washington Education Zone/Washington University of DC) 6511 Princess Garden Pkwy Lanham, MD 20706 Open daily (Mon-Sun, 9 AM - 1 PM) UM Capital Region Medical Center (testing at City of Praise Family Ministries) 8501 Jericho City Dr. Landover, MD 20785 Mon: 12 PM - 6 PM Tues - Fri: 10 AM - 4 PM Sat: 9 AM - 1 PM Bunker Hill Fire Station 3716 Rhode Island Ave. Brentwood, MD 20722 Mon-Fri: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville 6201 Belcrest Rd Hyattsville, MD 20782 Monday & Thursday: 9 AM - 3 PM Saturday: 9 AM - 1 PM Roseu Medical Center 7350 Van Dusen Rd. Laurel, MD 20707 (Appointment required, click here to schedule) Temple Hills Community Center 5300 Temple Hill Rd. Temple Hills, MD 20748 Mon-Sat: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM In addition, every home in America is now eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests through the United States Postal Service. To place an order, visit covidtests.gov. Many pharmacies that have partnered with the state and federal government to deliver COVID-19 vaccines will also be supplying free N95 and KN95 masks. Check your local pharmacy, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart for more information.
COVID -19 Vaccines and Boosters
If you, a friend, or a family member would like to receive the vaccine or booster, please review the county's website for more information. I encourage you all to get vaccinated - my office and I are fully vaccinated and have received our boosters. If you have any further questions, contact my office and someone will be more than happy to assist you.
Governor Larry Hogan recently announced the launch of the $248 million Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund. Grants from this fund will go towards helping homeowners with mortgage payments, home repairs, housing counseling, and legal aid services. This fund will help those who were unemployed or underemployed after January 21st, 2020. For more information on eligibility requirements and the application, please click here.
Maryland Health Connection Open Enrollment
Governor Larry Hogan has recently announced an extension of the open enrollment period for health insurance through Maryland Health Connection. Marylanders will now be able to apply for health insurance through February 28th, 2022, with coverage starting on March 1st, 2022. For more information on how to apply, please click here.