Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said Wednesday he is introducing an emergency bill in the legislature that would enable his administration to draw money from Maryland’s Rainy Day Fund “to transfer any necessary resources” to the government’s effort to combat the outbreak of the coronavirus in the state.
“It is critical that we have maximum flexibility to immediately access these resources,” Hogan said at the start of a Board of Public Works meeting.
The state’s Rainy Day Fund, set aside for major emergencies, is currently about $1.1 billion.
The governor said that as of Wednesday morning, 21 Marylanders had been tested for symptoms associated with the coronavirus; 10 tests came back negative while results from 11 tests are pending.
“Here in Maryland there is not yet a public health emergency,” he said.
But Hogan did say that the Maryland Emergency Management Agency was raising its “activation level” to “enhanced,” which will enable the state to “intensify our efforts” to combat the virus across government agencies.
Meanwhile, state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) said his office is convening a summit on the morning of March 24 to discuss the possible impact of the coronavirus on Maryland’s economy.
“It has the potential to inflict some serious damage,” Franchot said.
Details of the event, which will be held in conjunction with the Schaefer Center of Public Policy at the University of Baltimore, will be announced soon.