HOGAN CLOSES MANY BUSINESSES, SEEKS MORE HOSPITAL BEDS: Gov. Larry Hogan announced an executive order on Monday that mandates the closure of all bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms across Maryland effective at 5 p.m. EDT that day in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Bryan Renbaum writes for MarylandReporter.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Hogan said essential businesses such as grocery stores, banks pharmacies and gas stations were ordered to remain open and operating. “It is impossible to know how long this threat will continue,” he said.
- Carryout and delivery restaurants also are allowed to remain in operation, Hannah Gaskell of Maryland Matters reports. Hogan stated that his orders “carry the full force of the law” and will be enforced by local law enforcement and the Maryland State Police.
- Hogan also announced that closed health care facilities are being asked to reopen and said the state will increase the capacity of beds by 6,000 and practitioners with out-of-state licenses will be allowed to practice in Maryland, Vanessa Herring of WBAL-TV reports.
- He also ordered the Health Department to establish and implement appropriate policies and procedures for receiving, stockpiling and distributing all assets received by the state from the strategic national stockpile, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat.
SCHOOLS COULD BE SHUT LONGER: School leaders and health experts say a long-term shutdown of schools — perhaps through the end of the school year — seems increasingly likely with new federal guidance showing a short closure has little impact on slowing the spread of coronavirus, Liz Bowie of the Sun reports.
SENATE OKs KIRWAN WITH ECONOMIC, ACADEMIC STOPS: After hours of debate, Maryland’s Senate late Monday night passed an ambitious, expensive overhaul of the state’s public schools, but only after amending the bill to halt the plan in the event of an economic downturn or if it isn’t achieving academic progress, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.
- After three years of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, and a vigorous legislative debate stretching two sessions, the landmark education plan is nearing its final stages. A 37-9 vote in the Maryland Senate late Monday night, following an extensive set of 11th-hour amendments, appear to mark the bill’s final form, Michael Sanderson reports in Conduit Street.
OPINION: FOR KIRWAN REFORMS: Norman Augustine, former chair and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp.. opines in a column for Maryland Matters that the Kirwan education reform plan “being finalized by lawmakers this week … will enhance teacher support of students, increase school funding, and strengthen accountability — all while equipping Maryland’s workforce to meet the demands of a rapidly changing economy.”
2nd B’MORE COVID-19 CASE IS NO. 42 IN MD: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced that the Maryland Department of Health has identified the second positive case of novel coronavirus in the city, a case involving a woman in her 20s. This is Maryland’s 42nd case of Covid-19, WMAR-TV reports.
ECONOMIST ESTIMATES DAILY LOSS IN MD AT $180M: The chief economist for Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute, Daraius Irani, expects the shutdown of businesses in almost every industry — travel, hospitality and restaurants among them — to cost a whopping $180 million in lost economic activity in Maryland each day. And that might be a conservative estimate, since the pandemic’s effect is ever-evolving, Joanna Sullivan of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
11,000 JOBS ADDED IN JANUARY: In the meantime, Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that Maryland’s economy continued its torrid pace of growth with the addition of 11,000 jobs in January, though it remains to be seen how the the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the state’s labor market.
HOLDING APRIL PRIMARIES: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is expected to make an announcement today about whether the elections — which include the presidential primary and a special general election to fill the vacancy created by the death of the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) in the 7th Congressional District — will continue as normal, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.
LIMITING PUBLIC TRANSIT: Maryland’s MARC train service is scaling back starting today, writes Luz Lazo for the Post. Amtrak downsized service to Washington by about 60% Monday as fewer people were traveling by train in the Northeast Corridor. Metro reduced train and bus frequencies.
EMERGENCY POWERS FOR CHIEF JUDGE: Maryland’s top court Monday unanimously approved COVID-19 pandemic-inspired rules that immediately gave its chief judge sweeping emergency authority to have cases moved to other courthouses or, if necessary, to any suitable and available building, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.
UM CAMPUSES OPEN FOR RESEARCH, SOME STUDENTS: Liz Bowie of the Sun reports that Chancellor Jay Perman said Monday night that Maryland’s university system of 12 campuses will continue to remain open for essential research and for students who cannot go home.
SEN. WASHINGTON SUSPENDS MAYORAL CAMPAIGN: State Sen. Mary Washington announced Monday she was suspending her campaign for Baltimore mayor to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.
BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR PRIVATE LONG GUN SALES PASSES: Maryland lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a bill that will require all buyers of rifles and shotguns to submit to background checks, Pamela Wood of the Sun is reporting. The bill extends that requirement to private sales and permanent gifts of such guns.
ARUNDEL EXTENDS CIVIL EMERGENCY: The Anne Arundel County Council introduced legislation Monday that would extend the county’s state of civil emergency due to coronavirus through April 4 or until the state-wide emergency declaration ends. The meeting, reports Olivia Sanchez for the Capital Gazette, was closed to the public to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
ELRICH TAX HIKE SURPRISES MOST: Montgomery County lawmakers pushed back Monday on a proposed tax hike from County Executive Marc Elrich, arguing that amid the coronavirus crisis, government leaders should avoid placing additional burdens on households and businesses, Rebecca Tan of the Post reports.
Maryland law allows each county to establish a supplemental property tax rate for schools. It would be the first time Montgomery County created one, Elrich’s budget plan says. Three other counties in the state have a similar tax, according to the plan, Briana Adhikusuma reports in Bethesda Beat.
NO WAY TO ANNOUNCE A TAX HIKE?: As MoCo residents are just now starting to find out, County Executive Marc Elrich has recommended a property tax hike as part of his fiscal 2021 budget. The first mention of it came from a county council statement released at 1:05 p.m. EDT Monday opposing the tax hike. As of this writing, the public knows little about the budget other than the fact that it contains a tax increase, Adam Pagnucco writes in Seventh State.
BIDEN OR SANDERS? MD SENATORS CAN WORK WITH BOTH: Regardless of whether former VP Joe Biden or U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders clinches the Democratic nomination for president, both Maryland U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen say they’re ready to help advance the nominee’s agenda from within the Senate, should the Democrat oust President Trump in the fall, Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters writes.