Early Voting Begins Today!
Dear Neighbors and Friends, We are officially in the home stretch of this election cycle, with only 8 days remaining until Election Day. Early voting begins today at polling places across Prince George's County. If you have not yet sent in your mail-in ballot, be sure that they are postmarked by November 3rd or placed in a ballot drop-off box. On October 21st, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that the Board of Education had approved a contract that will build six new schools by 2024. This plan will provide space for close to 8,000 new students and create 3,000 new jobs in the process. The financing is being done as a public-private partnership, making us the first in the nation to do this with school construction. During their last meeting, the Maryland House Police Reform and Accountability work group voted in support of repealing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, which was passed in 1974. The work group also voted in support of banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and called for independent investigations into deaths where police officers were involved. These recommendations will be a part of the final report that House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones will draw from while drafting legislation during the 2021 session. Last week, Governor Hogan announced the “Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative,” which will direct $250 million towards businesses struggling from the impacts of COVID-19. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can apply to the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund for a grant of up to $10,000, and qualifying restaurants will be able to use funds for upgrades to meet COVID-19 guidelines. A variety of other industries will also qualify for aid, including Main Street Maryland organizations, minority-run businesses, arts organizations, and tourism. Lastly, wearing masks and social distancing are some of the most effective strategies we have as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. While are working to get out the vote these last few days, it is important that everyone heading to the polls in person keep this in mind to make sure that they are casting their ballots safely. - Nicole
Early voting begins today, October 26th! Prince George's County has marked 11 sites as early voting centers, and 41 sites for voting on Election Day. The polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM each day. You can a location near you on the full list here. To check the status of your mail-in ballot, follow the instructions on Maryland's Voter Look-Up site. If you would like to find a polling place or a drop-off box near you, you can use the Polling Place Look-Up site. With your mail in ballot, it is important that you:
Use black ink to mark your ballot.
Sign the return envelope. Do not sign the ballot.
Seal the return envelope.
Return the ballot using the postage-paid return envelope. Postmark or place your ballot in a drop-box before 8 PM on November 3rd.
Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland Workgroup
The work group voted at its most recent meeting on it recommendations which will be a part of the final report that House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones will draw from while drafting legislation during the 2021 session. Among the recommendations was support for repealing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. The work group also voted in support of banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and called for independent investigations into deaths where police officers were involved. These recommendations are just some of the measure that we will address in the upcoming session. I am sure we will see other bill filed that address police actions and great accountability. Click here to read the article in the Washington Post on the matter. Click here to visit the work group website and view any of their previous meetings.
Domestic Violence Hotline
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it is important that anyone who is facing abuse have access to the resources they need. Victims of domestic violence can use the National Domestic Violence Hotline to get help: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Click here to access more resources on their website.
Distance Learning and Free Meals for Students
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has a Distance Learning Hotline for students and parents to assist with technical/equipment issues, instruction guidance and more. You can reach them at 240-696-6229 (Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM). Student meals are free for all students through December 31. You can pick up the meals from your neighborhood school or a school close to home on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 AM and 1 PM. Meals can also be delivered to many communities by school bus on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. More information and a list of delivery locations by city here. Please check the PGCPS website on meal delivery days for any important updates or changes. Although PGCPS will offer distance learning for the first semester, students must meet state immunization requirements within 20 calendar days of enrollment (Sept. 21). PGCPS is hosting free immunization clinics at multiple school sites to assist families with meeting immunization requirements. Immunizations will be offered by appointment only in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines; masks will be required. Temperatures will be taken upon arrival. We will also offer dental services and flu shots for your convenience. More information is available here. PGCPS continues to cover the cost of the Comcast Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable high-speed internet at home, for families eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS). The school system will also help non-FARMS families obtain a Comcast or Verizon hotspot for home internet access. To request a hotspot, please call our Parent Center Hotline at 240-696-3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prince George's County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Prince George’s County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 tests for people with or without symptoms. All you need is a form of identification to get tested at the following facilities: First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville 6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782 (9 AM - 3 PM; Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) Cheverly Health Center 3003 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, MD 20785 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Thursday) D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center 9314 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Friday) Adventist Medical Group Primary Care 10709 MD-210 Suite D, Fort Washington, MD 20744 (7:30 AM - 11:30 AM; Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) There are also test sites operated by the State such the Six Flags Amusement Park location and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site near you.
Utility Moratorium and Payment Rules
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that customer utilities cannot be turned off prior to November 15th, 2020. You can contact your utility company today to set up a payment plan or request energy assistance funds. Click here for more information on how to obtain help with your utilities.
If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file an unemployment claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/.
Food Distribution Sites and Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been set up throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions. Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you. SNAP Assistance SNAP is now approved in Maryland for online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup. Walmart, Amazon and ShopRight are among the participating retailers. Call Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources.
County COVID-19 Resources
The COVID-19 Hotline If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM to receive updated information about the coronavirus disease. Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only. Nonprofit Resources Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County. Hourly Employee Relief Fund The County is accepting applications for its Hourly Employee Relief Fund to assist residents who were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing $200 cash cards for those in need. Childcare for Essential Employees and Employees Returning to Work Child care centers are opening up throughout the State. Click here if you are returning back to work and need child care. To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county please click here.