Delegate Nicole A. Williams’ Newsletter – March 29th, 2021

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Dear Neighbors and Friends –

It is hard to believe that we are two weeks away from the end of the 2021 legislative session! The past few months have been exciting for sure, and we have a lot of updates to share regarding bills I have sponsored this session. First, I would like to share some state and community news regarding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

On Tuesday, March 23rd, Maryland entered Phase 2 of the vaccine distribution plan. Marylanders age 60 and older are immediately eligible to receive a vaccine, followed by those age 16 and older with underlying medical conditions that put them at increased risk. Phase 2 will be closed out by expanding eligibility to essential workers in critical industries before it is made available to the general public on April 27th. Additional mass vaccination sites have also been announced in the following counties: Baltimore, Montgomery, Frederick, Anne Arundel, Howard, and Harford. If you have family or friends who live in these areas, give them a call and encourage them to get vaccinated!

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced last week that our community would be moving into Phase 2A, thanks to a long-awaited increase in vaccine supply. With doses of the vaccine becoming more readily available, Prince Georgians will not have to wait as long in order to be protected against COVID-19. The County Executive stressed that Prince Georgians who would like to receive a vaccine from the County Health Department must pre-register and you can find that form later on in this newsletter. 

While it may seem that we are approaching the light at the end of the tunnel, there is still a lot we must do as a community in order to keep ourselves and each other safe. Continued social distancing and mask-wearing is critically important in ending this pandemic once and for all.

– Nicole

In Memoriam: June Dillard

I wanted to share with you all news of the passing of Ms. June Dillard of Prince George’s County. Not only was June a wonderful friend, but she was also a fierce ally to communities of color in the County. Across her many years in service, June was a member of the Board of Directors for CASA de Maryland, as well as the former President of the Prince George’s County NAACP. When she served as chair of the NAACP, she worked alongside the ACLU to reform the council structure of the City of Greenbelt to address the concern that at that time there were zero persons of color on its city council.

Ms. June Dillard was an unstoppable force for change in the County. Let us honor her legacy by continuing the fight for justice.

Legislative Update

I wanted to be sure to share a status update on each of the bills that I am sponsoring this legislative session. Click on the title of each bill if you would like to see its full page on the Maryland General Assembly website.

House Bill 294: Business Occupations and Professions – Architects – Scope of Licensure
– This bill was passed in the House and has been sent over to the Senate, where it will be heard before the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.

House Bill 63: State Finance – Prohibited Appropriations – MAGLEV
– Unfortunately, this bill was given an unfavorable report by the House Environment and Transportation Committee and did not make it over to the Senate. Though this is a major setback, please know that I have heard and listened to your concerns about the proposed MAGLEV project. I will continue to fight for what is best for our community.

House Bill 411: Criminal Law – Law Enforcement – Prohibition on Sexual Activity
– This bill was passed in the House and has been sent over to the Senate, where it will heard before the Judicial Proceedings Committee. I am actively working to make sure that those detained by law enforcement officers experience no coercion or sexual harassment and that we can begin to reinstate public trust in our law enforcement agencies.

House Bill 697: Residential Property – Eviction Proceedings – Shielding of Court Records
– Unfortunately, this bill was given an unfavorable report from the House Judiciary Committee. However, I worked alongside my colleagues in order to get House Bill 1008 passed which is a similar version of this bill and this bill is headed over the Senate.  

House Bill 234: Criminal Law – Harm to Service Animals
– This bill passed the House floor and has been sent over to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. I have high hopes for this bill, as it will help many populations in our community, including veterans and the disabled. 

House Bill 1020: Election Law – Curbside Voting – Establishment
– Unfortunately, this bill never made it out of committee in the House. At a time where voting rights are increasingly under attack, it is critical that legislators come together in order to expand the rights of the electorate. I have faith that other voting laws that have been passed will help pave the way for this bill during next session.

House Bill 626: Prince George’s County – Vehicle Height Monitoring Systems (PG 305-21)
– This bill is being sponsored by the entire Prince George’s County House Delegation. This bill has passed in the House and is being sent over to the Senate. I am very excited about this bill, as it will work directly with a problem facing our district. I have heard your concerns about commercial vehicles utilizing residential and local roads, and am looking forward to the opportunity to directly address this issue.

Delegate Williams’ Office Hours

I am continuing to hold office hours each Friday from 12 PM to 1 PM. If you would like to sign up for a time slot, please click here. Our office is excited to be able to sit down with residents to hear your concerns and ways to best help our community!

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Prince George’s County has a resource page regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. General information, as well as a timetable of vaccine distribution, can be found here.

To fill out the pre-registration form to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Prince George’s County, please click here. For those who pre-register, you will receive a phone call or an email message once additional appointments become available. At the moment, the County is operating six vaccine distribution sites. These are:

– Cedar Heights Community Center in Seat Pleasant
– Cheverly Health Center in Cheverly
– Kentland Community Center in Landover
– Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center in Laurel
– Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Center in Fort Washington
– Sports and Learning Center in Landover

If you have not yet joined the Maryland Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, I strongly urge you to do so by clicking here. This group is aimed at making people aware of vaccine locations and availability, and currently has over 65,000 members. 

If you would prefer to schedule a vaccine appointment over the phone, and can prove eligibility, you can call the Maryland state hotline at 1-855-634-6829. This hotline is open from 7 AM to 10 PM daily. There will be a series of prompts for you to answer once you are connected to the call center.

The Doctor’s Hospital has a vaccine interest form available for Prince George’s and Anne Arundel County residents. For more information on the their vaccine distribution process and the application form, please click here

Local pharmacies have recently started to offer COVID-19 vaccinations. If you would like to check availability and/or schedule an appointment at Safeway, please click here. For appointments at a Walgreens location, please click here. For appointments at a CVS location, please click here

District 22 Delegate Scholarship

Our office is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. You are eligible for this scholarship if you are applying to or currently attending a college or trade school in Maryland, live in District 22, and have at least a 2.5 GPA. The application deadline for this scholarship is April 5th, 2021. For the application in English, please click here. For the application in Spanish, please click here.

Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program

If you or someone you know is between the ages of 14 and 22 and looking for an entry-level summer employment opportunity, then consider applying to the Prince George’s County Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program! This program is aimed at helping young people jumpstart their careers with free job readiness training and paid employment opportunities in the local community. The deadline to apply is March 31st, 2021. You can find more information and the full application at their website

295 Coalition Meeting

The 295 Coalition is an organization of civic associations and municipal leaders along the 295 corridor who focus on various regional transportation issues. Meetings are held on the first Saturday of each month at 10 AM. If you would like to attend our next meeting, which will be held on April 3rd, 2021, please join our Zoom meeting here

WMATA Updates

WMATA has recently announced the closure of four Metro stations in Prince George’s County for renovations. From May 29th through September 6th, the College Park, West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza, and Greenbelt stations will be closed. WMATA will be offering free bus shuttle services between these locations during that time. During these closures, parking at those stations will be free. For more information, click here

County Police Department Updates

Last week, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that former Dallas Deputy Chief of Police Malik Aziz would take on the role of the county’s new chief of police. If you would like to read more about the County Executive’s announcement and the new chief of police, please click here.

FEMA Funeral Assistance

If you were burdened with funeral expenses of a loved one due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive reimbursement from FEMA. This program will begin to be implemented in April, and can be applied to through a toll-free number. For more information, as well as general FAQs, please click here.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development has reopened the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. For more information on this program, as well as the application form, please click here.

MAGLEV Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

The DEIS for the MAGLEV project is currently available, with a 90-day formal comment period open from now until April 22nd, 2021. To make comments, please click here

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be holding a series of virtual town halls for the MAGLEV DEIS. The dates for these are:

– Tuesday, April 6th: 1pm – 3pm OR 6pm – 8pm
– Thursday, April 8th: 1pm – 3pm OR 6pm – 8pm
– Saturday, April 10th: 10am – 12pm OR 2pm – 4pm

If you would like to register to attend any of these town halls, you may sign up here

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS)

PGCPS has released their full reopening plan for the upcoming months. To view the full report, along with the guidelines schools will be following to stay safe during COVID-19, please click here

Over the past couple of months, PGCPS has held a series of “telephone town halls” regarding reopening plans. Recordings of these town halls are provided at the “Reopen PGCPS” website under “Virtual Town Halls.” 

Additional information on distance learning from PGCPS is available here. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the hybrid instruction model and the reopening plan, you may contact Dr. Kara Libby, Strategic Initiatives Officer at klibby@pgcps.org.   You can access the PGCPS online database that tracks building closures related to COVID-19. This database is updated frequently and provides timely and relevant information for your family. To access the databases, click here.

Energy Assistance

You can contact your utility company today to set up a payment plan or request energy assistance funds. Click here for more information on how to obtain help with your utilities.

Prince George’s County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

The Prince George’s County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 tests for people with or without symptoms. All you need is a form of identification to get tested at the following facilities:

First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville 
6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782
(9 AM – 3 PM; Monday, Thursday, and Saturday)

Adventist Medical Group Primary Care
10709 MD-210 Suite D, Fort Washington, MD 20744
(7:30 AM – 11:30 AM; Monday, Tuesday, and Friday)

There are also test sites operated by private entities such as some CVS locations.

Click here to find a test site near you.

Distance Learning for Students

PGCPS continues to cover the cost of the Comcast Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable high-speed internet at home, for families eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS). The school system will also help non-FARMS families obtain a Comcast or Verizon hotspot for home internet access. To request a hotspot, please call our Parent Center Hotline at 240-696-3315 or pgcps.family@pgcps.org.

Unemployment Insurance

If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance.

To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file an unemployment claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/.

Food Distribution Sites and Resources

senior meals

Senior Meals, Call 301-265-8475.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been set up throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions. Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you.

SNAP Assistance
SNAP is approved in Maryland for online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup. Walmart, Amazon and ShopRight are among the participating retailers. Call Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources.

County COVID-19 Resources

The RELIEF Act
This webpage contains information on the Maryland RELIEF Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. If you would like to check your eligibility for a stimulus payment, apply for a small business grant, and more, please click the link above. 

The COVID-19 Hotline
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM to receive updated information about the coronavirus disease. Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only.

24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline
The Maryland State Police have expanded their 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline. Community members are encouraged to report public health violations through the email linked above, or by calling (833) 979-2266.

Nonprofit Resources
Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County.

Childcare for Essential Employees and Employees Returning to Work 
Child care centers are opening up throughout the State. Click here if you are returning back to work and need child care.

To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county please click here.