Judge issues preliminary injunction in Maryland unemployment benefits case

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A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge issued a ruling on Tuesday that will maintain Maryland’s participation in enhanced federal unemployment benefits.

Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Hogan administration to continue participation in the program shortly before 10 a.m.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) had sought to end Maryland’s participation in the federal programs on July 3, but two lawsuits filed by unemployed workers led Fletcher-Hill to issue, last weekend, a temporary restraining order which maintained the federal unemployed benefits until the end of the day Tuesday.

Although these federal programs are slated to expire on Sept. 6, at least 25 states led by Republican governors are halting enhanced unemployment benefits early, blaming the federal programs for a shortage of workers.

During testimony on Monday, Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson said the state’s participation had been further extended by the U.S. Department of Labor, which told state officials it would enforce a requirement that states give at least 30 days’ notice before opting out of the program, maintaining the state’s participation through at least mid-August.

Tuesday’s injunction is the latest in a string of court defeats for the Hogan administration.

Over the Independence Day weekend, Fletcher-Hill issued the temporary restraining order, which Hogan appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. The intermediate appellate court rejected the governor’s argument. Then Hogan appealed to the state’s highest court, the Maryland Court of Appeals, but Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera declined the administration’s request to hear the case.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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