A Baltimore City judge has ordered the state of Maryland to continue paying federal unemployment benefits, dealing a likely fatal blow to Gov. Larry Hogan’s attempts to end the benefits early.
Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday morning preventing the state of Maryland from pulling out of the programs while two lawsuits over the issue make their way through the court system. Fletcher-Hill wrote in his memorandum opinion that the cases against Hogan were likely to succeed and that plaintiffs in the case faced “irreparable harm” if the preliminary injunction was not granted.
Fletcher-Hill’s ruling came the same day a temporary restraining order he had issued on July 3 to continue the benefits was set to expire and a day after an hours-long court hearing on the matter. The ruling likely means the benefits will continue until the end date of Sept. 6 at the federal level. That’s because even if the Hogan administration wins on appeal or at trial, the U.S. Department of Labor notified the state on Friday that it would again need to provide 30 days advance notice before opting out of the programs. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.