Delegate Nicole A. Williams Newsletter: George Floyd, Police Accountability, COVID-19 and more
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
This past week has been rough. I learned that one of my dearest friends has COVID-19. She is hanging in there. Her husband and son are also sick with the virus. If you are a spiritual person, I ask that you please keep them in their prayers.
This is in addition to the conversations and protests taking place across our country in response to the killing of George Floyd. Racism is a stain upon the history of our country that we cannot ignore. We must be willing to have tough and honest conversations about the subject with people of all backgrounds about all aspects of racism, not just the overt displays and actions.
This past Saturday, Maryland Speaker Adrienne Jones announced the formation of a workgroup to study police accountability here in Maryland. I strongly support Speakers Jones’ leadership on this issue and I look forward to seeing the legislative recommendations that will come from this group.
There were also elections on Tuesday. We are still trying to figure out the results, especially for the races in Baltimore City. The numerous mistakes that occurred must be corrected prior to the November election.
Lastly, Governor Hogan announced that starting at 5 PM today we are moving to stage two of his reopening plan. However, local jurisdictions have the option to enact more restrictive measures. After the Governor’s announcement, Prince George’s County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks released a statement saying that Prince George’s is not ready to move to phase two.
Maryland House of Delegates Workgroup on Police Accountability
Maryland Speaker, Adrienne Jones and House Judiciary Chairman Luke Clippinger announced the formation of a workgroup to address Police Reform and Accountability. This announcement comes on the heels of the high-profile murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The group will be chaired by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary from Howard County.
The workgroup will look at
Policies and procedures related to the investigations of police misconduct, including Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights statute;
Determine the viability of uniformed statewide use of force policies and arrest procedures;
Review the use of body cameras and disclosure of body camera footage; and
Identify national best practices of independent prosecution of law enforcement related crimes.
The workgroup will begin meeting this summer.
June 2nd Election Results?
The election is over. However for a number of races, especially in Baltimore City, the results are not very clear. Some of the ballots were printed incorrectly so the scanner cannot scan the votes for certain races correctly. The Board of Elections is manually duplicating all of the vote-by-mail ballots cast in the races where the printing error occurred. They are not certain how long this will take as ballots are still arriving in the mail. This error is in addition to all of the previous errors that occurred before election day. Speaker Jones and Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson announced that at 1 PM on June 16th the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs and the House Ways & Means Committees will hold a joint oversight hearing regarding the problems with the election. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. We must ensure that these errors do not occur again in the November election.
Phase 2 for Maryland
Governor Hogan announced on Wednesday that the State is ready to enter into Phase 2 at 5 PM today. This means that businesses can now reopen but the wearing of masks, social distancing, health screening of workers and limits on the number of people working at one time is strongly encouraged. So what is now open?
Personal services such as nail salons, massage therapists, tanning salons and tattoo parlors
The Motor Vehicle Administration and other customer Government Agencies by appointment-only.
Even with the reopening certain businesses remain closed such as eating indoors at restaurants, indoor gyms, indoor theaters, shopping malls and miniature golf. Houses of Worship must still limit gatherings to 50% capacity with face masks and social distancing requirements. For a copy of the Governor’s press release click here. To stay up to date with the administration's response to COVID-19, please click here.
Community Exchange via Zoom
If you missed our Community Exchange on Wednesday about our essential works and police accountability you can check it out on my Facebook page. I want to thank Senator Cory McCray, Senator Paul Pinsky, Delegate Gabriel Acevero, Delegate Anne Healey, Delegate Alonzo Washington, Dr. Rashawn Ray with the Brookings Institute and Ms. Dyanna Forester with UFCW Local 400 for their participation.
Grab and Go Meals for Students
PGCPS will continue to provide grab and go meals twice a week from 10 AM to 1 PM which now includes breakfast, lunch and supper. Click here for a list of all of the school locations in the County for grab and go meals.
Mental Health Forum
There is an article in the Baltimore Sun today about the problems that people are still facing in trying to obtain unemployment benefits. We have not received any new updates from the Department of Labor about the website. I know that people still have not received benefits and are still having problems. If you are continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. This not acceptable.
To directly access the new BEACON One-Stop site, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/ The website will be down between the hours of 1 AM – 3 AM to perform maintenance and resolve any ongoing technical issues.
Prince George's County to Start Modified Bulky Trash
The Department of the Environment will operate modified nine (9) bulky trash drop-off sites on a biweekly, rotating schedule beginning Thursday, June 11, from 11 AM – 7 PM.
Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling Acceptance Sites located within the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill (BSRSL) in Upper Marlboro will return to regular service on June 11, and will be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8 AM – 3:30 PM Residents may bring up to eight (8) bulky trash items for disposal at all modified drop-off locations. For a list of accepted items, frequently asked questions and a complete schedule of drop-off locations, visit environment.mypgc.us.
Please note, due to COVID-19 restrictions, County employees are not allowed to assist, handle, or touch any bulky trash items brought to the sites. Therefore, residents must be able to independently lift and place their items in the back of the packer truck for disposal and are encouraged to bring an extra person should they require assistance. There will be no exceptions to this guideline. In addition, residents are encouraged to utilize the designated drop-off locations within their County Council District on June 6th.
Federal Stimulus Checks
People are accidentally throwing out their stimulus payments because they look like junk mail. The latest round of stimulus checks was issued in the form of prepaid debit cards in plain white envelopes that don't bear any federal markings. Some Americans may be unwittingly throwing their long-awaited stimulus payments in the trash. That's because, starting last week, the Treasury Depa