I hope you are well and safe during these very strange and turbulent times. It seems that every day there is important news, whether it is from the street, from the Supreme Court, or from within our own community.


It is certainly good news that the rate of hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing while testing and contact tracing are increasing, but we must all be extremely cautious as community workplaces and institutions open. We’ve already begun to see increases in infections in states where residents have not been diligent in following public health protocols. Please remember to wear a mask, wash your hands, and physically distance from other people.


Since I last wrote, the Governor has announced a series of re-openings, and Baltimore County has rescinded all local orders and is following the state’s reopening schedule. The Governor’s Executive Order changes, with details, can be found here. If you’re interested in seeing the Department of Health’s guidelines with regard to restaurants that are now open for inside dining, you can find them here. Today, gyms, dance and martial arts studios, casinos, arcades and malls may also open at 5:00 pm. You can find additional COVID-19 related resources at my website here.

Black Lives Matter

The tragic murder of George Floyd has been the impetus for millions of people to take to the streets in America and beyond. In waves not seen before, white, black, young and old, have come together in our community to peacefully protest the injustices that black people face on a daily basis and the structural racism that enables it to exist. I support racial equity and the right of citizens to express their views on any topic. That’s why my 11th District colleagues and I were appalled when a homeowner in our district who had posted a Black Lives Matter sign on their front yard woke up to find a hateful sign beside it. Imagine the time and energy it took for someone to write this hateful message and to install it on a property that was not their own. This is a reminder (as if we needed one!) that racism exists everywhere – and in our own community. As a white person, I live with a great deal of privilege and power denied to our black neighbors, constituents, colleagues, and friends. Personally and as an elected leader, I am committed to learning about the history of systemic racism and working to eradicate it. My colleagues and I are committed to creating a world where privilege is available to everyone, regardless of skin color. In solidarity with our neighbor who was wronged, we will post Black Lives Matter signs in our yards and we encourage you to join us.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt have announced a series of police accountability reforms that they have initiated:
I serve on the Judicial Proceedings Committee in the Senate and will have the opportunity to work with my colleagues in crafting a number of police accountability and reform bills this fall. The Chairman of the Committee has already announced several that you can read about:
When I was growing up, I never learned about Juneteenth, that we celebrate TODAY, in recognition of June 19, 1865, when the last community in the U.S., (Galveston, Texas) learned about the Emancipation Proclamation, two and a half years after it had been signed and two months after the end of the Civil War. It seems to me that this is an essential piece of history, and a recognition that this nation has not adequately or appropriately addressed the role of slavery in our development, and that it was not incorporated into my lessons, is an error that must be rectified.  I hope you take some time today to join me in reflecting on how much work we have to do as a nation to fully recognize the promise in each of us – and especially the black community – to live and love in a nation that values our and significance, our humanity and our freedom.
Constituent Service
My office continues to respond to many constituents’ problems with unemployment insurance and we are relentless in our advocacy before the Department of Labor. I wish that we could make the agency be more responsive to so many peoples’ concerns, and we share in the frustration of many of you. A heartfelt shoutout to my Chief of Staff Maura Dunnigan who has spent literally hundreds of hours on the phone listening to each person’s unique set of circumstances and pushing our state agencies to do better.
Rest assured that we will continue to work on your behalf. I  encourage you to share your views with me on the important issues before us – and let us know how you are faring during this pandemic – by emailing our office at shelly.hettleman@senate.state.md.us.
I wish you and your family a safe, happy & healthy beginning to the summer.

Shelly Hettleman

Senator, District 11