Councilmembers Evan Glass and Craig Rice introduced a Special Appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget that would provide $3 million in grants to organizations in the arts and humanities sector. Additionally, micro-grants totaling $325,000 will go to micro-grants to artists. Federal Grants will fund these grants.
On May 30th, Councilmember Will Jawando tweeted that he would be introducing a resolution declaring Racism a public health emergency in Montgomery County following the murder of George Floyd and the unprecedented number of protests around the region.
Today, backed by the full council, the resolution was introduced. In the resolution, Jawando called out some striking disparities between Black and White residents of Montgomery County.
Compared to White residents, Black residents experience dramatically higher rates of unemployment (7.5% v. 3.3%), poverty (11.2% v. 4.0%), dropout (6.3% v. 2.1%); and lower rates of homeownership (42.5% v. 73.2%), college attainment (44% v. 65%), and annual household incomes ($73,000 v. $119,000). Further, Black residents are twice as likely as their share of County residents to be arrested (43.9% v. 19.8%).
As part of the Resolution, the Council would commit to understand how racism has influenced previous legislative work and work towards creating new policies that would work to remedy the harm.
In a statement released on social media, Councilmembers Jawando, Rice, Navarro and Albornoz stated that they will be releasing legislation that will limit police Use of Force. Below is their full statement, reprinted.
Statement of Councilmembers Jawando, Rice, Navarro and Albornoz Related to Use of Force Legislation
The last few weeks have highlighted a national trend of the types of policing practices that have led to fatal or dangerous outcomes for the community, and specifically community members of color. Here in Montgomery County we are not immune. We believe we can do better. And doing better means building systems that root out injustice and working with law enforcement to build relationships with the communities they serve. We need our police to be our guardians, not warriors seeing danger in every interaction.
Most recently, the County Council has sought to ensure racial equity, social justice and inclusion throughout our county. The Council has also worked hard to increase transparency and accountability in the actions of the Montgomery County Police Department. This is supported by County legislation including the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act, the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency (LETT) Act, Policing Advisory Commission, the Community Policing Law, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act and the Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission.
Together in the coming weeks, we will be introducing legislation to further protect the civil rights of county residents, increase police accountability and create safer and more inclusive communities for everyone who calls Montgomery County home. Specifically, our bill would set a higher standard for use of force by police, outlaw certain deadly tactics such as choke-holds, and require police officers to intervene if a fellow officer is committing a crime or violating department policy. We look forward to working with the County Executive and the Montgomery County Police Department on this initiative. These measures are a necessary step intended to protect the safety of residents during interactions with law enforcement, which will in turn help to build trust with law enforcement.
The past few days have been a jumble. I’m not sure what time it is and I keep checking the calendar to make sure I have the right day. It’s stressful, but I’ve seen the community come together and that gives me hope.
There was a lot of news to digest yesterday so here is a condensed version. New updates will be posted on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.
How to help MoCo during the state of emergency
We are all in a tough spot, but none are getting hit as hard as small businesses and folks that work in the service industry. We’ve put together some ways that you can help them.
As of 10AM EST on Monday there were 37 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maryland. I stated on Sunday night that these numbers weren’t going to be reliable because not everyone is going to get tested and testing isn’t widely available. A new study was released that shows most transmissions of the virus are “stealth transmissions” meaning most people had no idea they had the virus and showed little to no symptoms when they transmitted it to other people.
The council passed Bill 6-19, Landlord-Tenant Relations – Termination of Lease – Tenant Health and Safety, today. This bill requires that every rental lease allows the tenant to terminate the lease without any penalties if the landlord does not correct health and safety violations withint 30 days of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) orders them to.
Some violations that would trigger this protection in a lease include: rodent or insect infestations, extensive or visible mold growth, lack of utilities, and pervasive and recurring water leaks.