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Coronavirus Outbreak: General Assembly finishes Wednesday, closing more than two weeks early

Posted: 4:54 PM, Mar 16, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-16 19:10:30-04
Annapolis state house

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — With the coronavirus pandemic causing great impact, Maryland law makers have decided to end the session early.

The session was intended to go until April 6, now the last day will be Wednesday.

Senate President Bill Ferguson with a request to his Senators will cut work short.

A balanced budget Is the only thing legislators must do and it’s only thing that is constitutionally mandated to be past.

“I think we’ll see the budget return from the house either today or tomorrow, that gives us time to have any further questions on it and get that past right away and I think that we’ll adjourn shortly after that,” said Minority Whip, Steve Hershey.

Maryland is not the only state taking these measures, about a dozen other states have abbreviated their legislative sessions as well.

The impact of the COVID-19 is changing hourly. It is clear there will be a great economic impact, including the decision to raise taxes to fund a multi-billion-dollar education bill.

A special session is being consider that may be able to address bills that have been affected by the short session and it will give law makers a chance to evaluate how these proposed tax hikes will impact Marylanders.

"We don’t even know what the economy is going to look like in 30 days even, so we’ll be going back and making some changes but, at least we’ll have a budget by leaving here.”

Many bills besides the budget will fall to the wayside but, the special may give legislators a chance to work on them. Some Republicans say a rushed session may inhibit some tax increase bills from passing.

“If this is something that ends up happening that we can hold those bills from getting past, well that is something we can take a look at and reevaluate and take a look at and maybe that is one of the positives that come out of this.”