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COVID-19 in Maryland Government & Politics

BULLETIN: General Assembly Won’t Convene Special Session in May

The Maryland State House in spring. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

The presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly announced Monday that there will be no special session of the legislature in May.

The General Assembly, which adjourned its session 2 1/2 weeks early in mid-March, had anticipated returning to Annapolis for a special session in late May.

However, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak prompted House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) to reconsider.

“Legislators in every community in Maryland are working to help their constituents through this historic pandemic ― and that’s where their focus should remain,” Jones said in a statement released shortly after 2 p.m. “After consulting with health experts, this is the best course of action at this time. We will get through this together ― with every branch of government working as a team until we can safely return.”

In a statement, Ferguson said the decision not to meet in May “was not taken lightly.”

“This is a matter of balancing the safety of staff, legislators and the public, while ensuring that Legislators can continue their daily focus on serving their constituents and public in battling this virus, and preparing for the Recovery effort,” Ferguson said in a written statement.

Legislative leaders will continue to evaluate the need and timing for a special session.

A chief reason lawmakers might want to reconvene would be to override any vetoes by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) of the 650-plus bills sent to his office earlier this month. The governor is expected to act on legislation passed during the 2020 session in early May.

Since the legislature adjourned, House and Senate committees, as well as a Joint COVID-19 Legislative Workgroup, have been meeting as needed.

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BULLETIN: General Assembly Won’t Convene Special Session in May