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Maryland General Assembly Adjourns Early, Passes Key Education Reforms and Coronavirus Legislation

March 25, 2020

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Maryland General Assembly adjourned on March 18th last week to slow the spread of coronavirus. Throughout the session, County Executive Calvin Ball supported key legislation that will impact Howard County.

“For the first time since the Civil War, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned early,” said Ball. “I commend the Presiding Officers, Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, for their leadership during an unprecedented time in our state’s history. I appreciate the hard work of our Delegation Chairs, Senator Clarence Lam and Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary along with the rest of our county Delegation, and the Governor. I look forward to the 2021 session and expanding on opportunities to merge shared county and state priorities.”

More than 2,700 bills were introduced during the 2020 session including historic measures investing in education and school construction. Ball testified on a range of bills from expanding education resources, advancing environmental protections, to protecting survivors of human trafficking. For more on the legislation supported by the County Executive you can view his testimony here.

Other key initiatives from last week include the creation of a work group and passage of bills to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 (HB1663/SB1080)

  • This emergency bill will extend unemployment benefits to workers who are either quarantined or whose employers temporarily close. This legislation passed both the House and Senate and has been signed into law by the Governor.
  • It also authorizes the Governor to take certain actions that could facilitate access to health care and mitigate health care costs for individuals undergoing COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, such as prohibiting cost-sharing for disease testing. During the state of emergency, the Governor can prohibit retailers from increasing the sale or essential price of essential goods and services. The Governor can also prohibit employers from terminating employees because they have been required to be isolated or quarantined.

State Budget- Revenue Stabilization Account Transfers- Coronavirus (HB1661/SB1079)

  • Governor Larry Hogan signed emergency legislation on 3/9/2020 that authorizes him to transfer by budget amendment up to $50.0 million from the State’s Rainy-Day Fund to fund costs associated with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Senate and the House of Delegates passed this legislation unanimously.

COVID-19 Response Legislative Workgroup

  • This 24-member, bipartisan workgroup will monitor the state’s public health crisis and act as liaisons between constituents and the Governor’s office. They may recommend further legislation during the May special session to address the crisis.