Greetings from Annapolis. The Maryland General Assembly was scheduled to end on April 6, 2020. As a result of the current health crisis, the historic decision was made to adjourn this, Wednesday, March 18. Legislators have remained in Annapolis all weekend to ensure that necessary legislation is passed - however, as my video below shows, we are doing more than just "necessary". The Senate President and House Speaker have informed us that they tentatively plan to bring legislators back in late May for a short special session to conclude any necessary business.
Update: We are up to 2 cases of COVID19 in Carroll County - second case is a family member of the first person who contracted it. Their symptoms are mild and they are cooperating fully with quarantining. Statewide the case number is now 57, up from 37 yesterday.
Please note: My office staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. However, for constituent concerns or questions, the email Justin.Ready@senate.state.md.us or calling 410-841-3683 are still the best way to reach us. Both email and voicemail will be checked regularly. My team and I will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible.
Weekly Video Update: COVID19 – Legislature Wrapping Up ..Soon?
Click on photo below to watch
Governor Hogan Orders On COVID19
We are in a very uncharted time - I know that the orders below will help stop spread of this virus - which is much more contagious than the flu and that we have no vaccine for. However, I know a lot of folks are asking - "is this necessary?". I'm sharing the details of the Governor's order so that you have the information. To me, the entire medical community, first responders and the Trump administration are all on the same page that these social distancing policies are necessary. I HOPE that we are able to look back and feel like it was all an overreaction - because that would mean that not too many people got sick or worse - died. The stated goal is to ensure that we don't have thousands of people getting sick all at once, overwhelming the health care system. Most people that get COVID19 will be ill but recover but if too many people get it at once, could be very problematic.
Here are details on the Governor's order and resources available for people and businesses affected:
Closure of Bars and Restaurants, Announces Public Health Surge To Combat COVID-19 Crisis
On Monday, Governor Larry Hogan ordered the closure of bars and restaurants, and expanded the prohibition on gatherings to those of more than 50 people—the latest in a series of unprecedented actions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Health Surge
The governor also announced a public health surge to combat this crisis and ensure that Maryland has the capacity and the infrastructure to treat patients. This surge includes: an additional 600 hospital beds, activation of Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, policies and procedures for receiving, stockpiling, rationing, and distributing all assets, Interstate Reciprocity for Health Care Licenses, and a restriction on the use of health care facilities for the performance of elective medical procedures.
Relief for Residents and Families
Prohibition on Utility Shutoffs: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that prohibits electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service, or charging any residential late fees.
Prohibition on Evictions: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that prohibits Maryland courts from ordering the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of COVID-19—for example, because of lost or reduced unemployment, or needing to care for a school-aged child—or because they are diagnosed with, or under investigation for, COVID-19. Read the governor’s emergency order.
Expansion of Available School Meals: State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) applied for a federal waiver and beginning today, has the capability to provide three meals a day, and a snack, to students impacted by the statewide closure of schools. MSDE has 138 meal distribution centers across the state, which can be found at mdsummerschools.org.
Resources for Businesses.
The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor have compiled resources to help businesses whose daily operations are affected during the state of emergency. Members of the business community are encouraged to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.
Resources For COVID-19
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Maryland Department of Health, https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx
Carroll County Public Schools, https://www.carrollk12.org/about/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=2765
Updates from Governor Larry Hogan, https://governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus/
If you are or know a high school senior or college student, please consider applying for a Senatorial Scholarship. For more information or to request an application, email Emily Van Horn at email@example.com and include your full address. Scholarships will accepted up to April 10, 2020.
As always, I want you to know it is my honor to represent you in the State Senate. Again, your feedback and ideas are always welcome at SenatorReady@gmail.com or by contacting my office.
Sen. Justin Ready