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Maryland legislature passes bill to extend temporary unemployment benefits during coronavirus pandemic

On the final day of a shortened legislative session, Maryland’s lawmakers passed emergency legislation Wednesday to extend unemployment benefits to people who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation allows the state to extend temporary unemployment benefits to workers who have to be quarantined or whose employers temporarily close. The legislation also makes people eligible for benefits when they have to leave their jobs due to risk of exposure or to care for an infected relative.

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The Senate’s version of the legislation was sponsored by Senate President Bill Ferguson and Sen. Clarence Lam, a Howard County Democrat and physician. A House of Delegates version of the bill was sponsored by Speaker Adrienne A. Jones.

The bill takes a number of other steps to address the pandemic’s impact in Maryland. It would cut costs for screening tests, improve access to telehealth services, prohibit price gouging and make it illegal for an employer to fire a worker because he or she is quarantined.

The legislation now advances to Hogan’s desk for his expected signature. It will become law as soon as it is signed.

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