WASHINGTON — As the spread of COVID-19 continues, Americans are being laid off and their health and safety remain at risk. Those who work as health care providers, grocery store workers, delivery workers, or in other professions providing essential services are on the front lines of this crisis and desperately need programs to keep them safe. While the federal government has been unable to reach a compromise on a relief package, Democratic legislatures across the country have already passed emergency legislation to address the crisis.
- New York passed emergency paid sick leave and job-protected leave for those who are unable to work due to the outbreak.
- New Jersey passed an unemployment program for lost wages due to the crisis, emergency funding, and prohibited employers from punishing those who need to take leave due to the virus.
- Maryland passed emergency funding to respond to the pandemic, extended unemployment to those laid off because of the virus, prohibited employers from firing employees who need to quarantine, required coverage for immunizations, and prohibited price-gauging.
- Maine passed emergency funding and gave expanded powers to state and local governments to act to support laid-off workers.
- Washington passed $200 million in emergency funds to combat the virus.
Before the outbreak, Democratic state legislatures across the country had already taken action to pass paid sick legislation, increase the minimum wage, and expand Medicaid – all critical pieces of legislation that function to keep people safe and healthy during times of crisis.
Democrats in Hawaii, Kentucky, South Carolina, Michigan, and Massachusetts have also introduced legislation in direct response to the virus.
“We’re incredibly proud of the work that Democratic state legislators are doing to lead in a moment of crisis,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “In a national emergency with a gridlocked federal government, it’s critical that leaders in the states keep our country safe and healthy. While the federal GOP may be trying to give corporations a break, Democratic state legislators are working to give ordinary people the relief and access to health services they need.”