Judge orders Maryland to continue unemployment benefits

Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a temporary 10-day restraining order yesterday that blocks Gov. Larry Hogan from prematurely ending federal unemployment benefits going to Maryland residents.

Hogan announced he would fight the ruling. He retained the legal services of a private law firm to do just that, using Maryland tax dollars. Why not just have the Maryland Attorney General represent the state in this matter? Because Hogan is a Republican and the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is a Democrat. Frosh is against the idea of prematurely ending federal unemployment benefits.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

Republicans like Hogan evidently believe people are refusing to take jobs similar to what they had before the pandemic because of the weekly $300 federal pandemic unemployment benefit. That works out to $1,200 a month and $14,000 a year.

Does anyone think people are refusing to take full-time jobs because they are receiving $1,200 a month? That’s stupid. People would earn more money working full-time at minimum wage. That’s if they were even offered full-time employment paying minimum wage.

The money getting paid to Marylanders through unemployment comes from the federal government, not the state government. This money is coming into Maryland and getting spent at Maryland businesses. If Hogan gets his way, the money will stop coming in. It means less money will come into the state and get spent in Maryland.

Benefits automatically come to an end in September. All Hogan has to do is wait until then and he’ll get his way. He’s too obstinant to do that. He’s morally opposed to the very idea of unemployment. It’s why he’s cut funding to the program every year since he’s been the Maryland governor.

Since the restraining order is only for 10-days, it means unemployed Marylanders will get one more week of federal benefits. Judge Fletcher-Hill scheduled a hearing so both sides can argue the case. Hogan’s private law firm will need to explain how the Governor can end federal unemployment when state law seems to indicate he doesn’t have the power to do that.

From WBALTV 11:

Lawyers for the unemployed argued the governor and the labor secretary’s action are in violation of statutory and constitutional obligations to secure federal unemployment benefits for eligible Marylanders.

They cited emergency legislation passed by the General Assembly that requires the labor secretary to accept federal funds and reduce bureaucratic hurdles to get the money.

The hearing should be fun!


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