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Governor Will Not Extend Eviction Moratorium; Lawmakers Question Labor Secretary Over Unemployment Claims

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland's coronavirus state of emergency has now officially ended. That includes the state's ban on evictions.

"We're not taking any action on that. We have been providing more assistance for rental assistance than any other state in the country for longer — for 17 months. We started five months before the federal government program started. Right now, we have a huge amount of money that we have given out to the counties that they haven't dispersed to people to provide the help," Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday. "We also have far fewer evictions, and the moratorium did end on foreclosures so people who own a home are going to lose their home if they don't start getting the rent, and we've provided the money already to pay the rents."

The state of emergency gave Hogan broad powers, including the ability to call for statewide mask and vaccine mandates.

"I don't anticipate that happening," Hogan said of requiring vaccines. He noted Maryland is one of the most vaccinated states in America.

The governor also let emergency orders expire. One allowed doctors and nurses to practice with out-of-state and expired medical licenses to alleviate shortages at hospitals now filling up with more coronavirus patients. A grace period for renewing driver's licenses that expired during the pandemic has also ended.

"The state health department has powers existing all the time. They are able to take a number of steps—or other departments. But the state of emergency that we had for 18 months is no longer necessary," Hogan said.

Last week, some Democrats called on the Republican governor to keep the emergency in place. On Monday night, the Baltimore City Council passed a resolution calling on the governor to keep the eviction ban in effect.

With some Maryland employers requiring vaccinations, Del. Ned Carey, a Democrat representing Brooklyn Park, asked the state's top labor official whether people who lose their jobs because they refuse to get vaccinated can still get unemployment benefits.

"My short answer is no. I don't believe we have any authority to do that," said Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson.


Robinson was in the hot seat with lawmakers Monday. Some responsible for oversight are angry at how the unemployment system is being run as claims keep pouring in.

"Nothing seems to be working here," said Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, a Baltimore County Democrat. "It just continues to just go down and go down and go down. It's like beating our heads on the wall. And I just wish that we could work together and figure out what to else we can do."

Robinson noted that since the pandemic began, Maryland has hired more than 2,000 workers to help with the surge in claims. Thirteen billion dollars has been paid to almost 3 million people.

"I've got teams of people continuing to work from the oldest [claims] forward. I've got other teams of people who are handling the claimants who present themselves to us with the most urgent issues," Robinson said.

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