Md. Gov. Hogan urged to reconvene General Assembly to deal with pandemic, police reform

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is being urged to reconvene the General Assembly, or be forced to do so by lawmakers, in order for the state to take new action on coronavirus relief and police reforms.

The calls are coming from state Del. Julian Ivey, a Democrat who represents part of Prince George’s County.

He wants to see legislation that would have ballots mailed to every voter in the upcoming election and for moratoriums on evictions to be extended.

In response, Hogan’s office said the evictions moratorium is tied to the state of emergency and remains in place for the foreseeable future.

Ivey, though, said there are loopholes in that moratorium.

Maryland’s moratorium applies to tenants who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of the pandemic. A separate federal moratorium expires Saturday, which applies to renters who live in a federally-subsidized building or one with a federally-backed mortgage.

He added that when it comes to implementing police reforms, “We’re working towards that, but we’re moving at a very slow pace.”

As for why he took up the policing issue in addition to the pandemic-related ones, “I’m a 24-year-old African American, the youngest member of the General Assembly, and I felt compelled to raise my voice,” he said.

The governor’s office said state police agencies have already implemented several reform policies, and that it will give “thoughtful considerations” to the conclusions and recommendations of a work group being led by House Speaker Adrienne Jones.

Ivey said the move to convene a special session would hardly be unique.

“We’ve seen other states come back into session,” he said. “Virginia’s about to come back in for a special session to handle some of these issues that we’re talking about now.”

According to Ivey, with Democratic supermajorities in both chambers in Maryland, legislation could move swiftly.

Still, he conceded, the push to get lawmakers to reconvene is an uphill battle, and said a major hurdle remains getting House and Senate leaders on board.

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