Amid a global coronavirus pandemic, the 442nd Maryland General Assembly began Wednesday under the most unusual circumstances in history.
Because of the threat of an outbreak, a new rule passed that allows each legislative chamber to adjourn for three days without notice to the other.
Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and the other 46 senators conducted business in the chamber, which was partially surrounded by Plexiglas partitions.
With about 105 of the 141 members of the House of Delegates present across the hall, some legislatures sat inside the chamber and some in a “chamber annex” at the nearby House Office Building.
To get the first day going smoothly, both chambers reelected the presiding officers – Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones – to lead the 90-day session.
“I want to thank each and every one of you,” Jones said after being chosen as the speaker. “We’ve got the people business to do, so let’s get started.”
About an hour prior, Ferguson quickly ran through a calendar of 352 bills.
“This is a significantly large number than any other session on the first day,” Ferguson said.
Each lawmaker and limited staff must wear masks inside any building including the State House and
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