Maryland Tried to End Federal Pandemic Aid. A Judge Continued It
(Bloomberg) -- Maryland’s Republican governor was blocked by a state court Tuesday from ending federal pandemic-related aid two months earlier than the Sept. 6 end date set by Congress.
Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill in Baltimore ruled the state’s residents relying on the enhanced federal jobless benefits must continue receiving them. Governor Larry Hogan must immediately “ensure that Maryland residents continue to receive any and all expanded and/or supplemental unemployment benefits,” Fletcher-Hill wrote in the order.
The order includes any benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, “or any other existing federal source of unemployment benefits to the fullest extent allowed” under state law.
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Maryland is one of at least 26 states in which governors announced plans to end federal pandemic aid early, based on arguments the aid makes it more difficult for businesses to find workers. At least five states have been sued over their governors’ decisions to terminate the benefits. An Indiana judge also ordered the state to rejoin the federal programs.
Fletcher-Hill’s order extends a temporary ruling that expired Tuesday. This month, the U.S. Department of Labor told Maryland officials that it will require a new 30-day notice to terminate the relief programs.
Hogan’s office and a lawyer representing him didn’t immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment on the ruling.
The case is Harp v. Hogan, 24C21002999, Maryland Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
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