UNIVERSITIES CLOSE OR SWITCH TO REMOTE CLASSES: The University of Maryland announced Tuesday that it will convert all courses on its College Park campus to remote instruction for at least two weeks after spring break, part of a growing movement to suspend in-person teaching on college campuses to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the Washington region and nationwide, Nick Anderson of thePost reports.
- Angela Roberts of the Diamondback reports that in a campuswide email signed by university President Wallace Loh, the school announced that students should not return to campus for an additional week after spring break, and that all classroom instruction will be conducted online from March 30 to at least April 10.
- Towson University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County have canceled classes for the rest of this week, as did the private Loyola University of Maryland. Additionally, Johns Hopkins University canceled in-person classes for all students starting Wednesday, and planned to transition to remote instruction at least through April 12, Jean Marbella and Liz Bowie of the Sun report.
9th MARYLANDER WITH COVID-19: Three more Marylanders who took Nile River cruises recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the state’s total case count to nine people, Scott Dance writes for the Sun.
- Gov. Larry Hogan (R) warned on Tuesday that — as testing ramps up — “we should expect that the number of cases will continue to dramatically and rapidly rise.” Hogan said the state’s biggest concern is the potential spread of COVID-19 at nursing homes and retirement communities, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
- WJZ-TV is reporting that Hogan is advising “older people [and those with underlying health conditions] to avoid crowds and large gatherings and traveling, flying on planes as much as possible. … Effective immediately, nursing homes should restrict access to visitors. facilities should make online methods of face to face communication and phone calls available to nursing home residents.”
- Bryan Sears reports the story for the Daily Record.
- Hogan said there are now five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Montgomery County, three in Prince George’s County and one in Harford County, WMAR-TV reports.
- Here’s Andrew Schotz’s story for Bethesda Beat.
PAID SICK LEAVE IN TIME OF COVID-19: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that as debates rage on Capitol Hill and in statehouses and local governments on how best to protect workers whose livelihoods could be imperiled by the coronavirus, it’s important to remember that Maryland has one thing that most states don’t: Paid sick leave.
GA ATTEMPTS TO MAINTAIN NORMALCY: While the nation reels from the medical, financial and psychological effects of the coronavirus, Maryland leaders — with one month left in the General Assembly session — are trying to conduct business as usual, Bruce DePuyt and Josh Kurtz write in Maryland Matters.
B’MORE TO LIVESTREAM COUNCIL MEETINGS: Members of the public will now have greater digital access to City Council meetings and hearings on Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott’s official Facebook page rather than attending in person, amid concerns about the coronavirus, Marcus Dieterle writes for Baltimore Fishbowl.
NEW TAX FOR EDUCATION PROPOSAL: Erin Cox of the Post reports that Democrats who control the Maryland General Assembly are advancing a roughly $700 million tax package, a multipart plan that includes an array of new taxes on dog grooming, certain corporations, vaping products and streaming services such as Netflix, which has drawn far less public notice — or outrage — than a now-scuttled $2.9 billion plan to expand the state’s sales tax to include services.
- Budget and Taxation Chairman Guy Guzzone (D-Howard) said the measures would generate enough revenue to move forward with the education reform bill, though differences with a revenue package proposed by the House of Delegates will still need to be resolved, Danielle Gaines writes in Maryland Matters.
STATE FUNDS ALTER SCHOOL: As debate in the legislature continues over a bill that would add $4 billion annually to Maryland schools by 2030, much of it from the state, schools like Principal Amanda Rice’s are at the center of the proposal. When the first installment of state funds to overhaul the school came in in the fall, so much changed, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun.
POWER OVER STATE BUDGET: he Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is debating a proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution that would grant the General Assembly the power to move funding around the state budget, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.
ANTI-RENT PAYMENT BIAS BILL PASSES: After more than two decades of failure, Maryland lawmakers passed legislation Tuesday that makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on how they pay their rent, including with government housing vouchers, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
GOV TESTIMONY USEFUL, BUT HOGAN WON’T DO IT: As Gov. Hogan has struggled to get lawmakers to pass his crime-fighting bills, he’s made one thing clear: He doesn’t intend to testify in person on his proposals. But Pamela Wood reports in the Sun that Maryland’s three living ex-governors say public testimony can be a useful tool as part of a governor’s lobbying strategy.
SENATE OKs ANTI-CRIME BILLS: After weeks of bitter fighting, the Maryland Senate has approved a package of anti-crime bills, including one that contains large portions of Gov. Hogan’s top legislative priority — the Violent Firearms Offenders Act, Luke Broadwater of the Sun is reporting.
CHANGE SOUGHT IN 1st DEGREE MURDER STATUTE: Sen. Joanne Benson (D-Prince George’s) urged a panel of Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday to change the state’s felony first-degree murder statute, arguing that it often targets those who may have been party to a felony in which a murder took place — but the person charged was not the one who committed the actual murder, Bryan Renbaum reports in MarylandReporter.
OPINION: IN POLICE PROBES TRANSPARENCY = TRUST: In a column for Maryland Reporter, Joe Perez of the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association NCR urges transparency in police departments when they investigate police misconduct complaints, opining that bad behavior by one police officer can make all officers look bad. But when police chiefs use good management that identifies patterns of bad behavior by officers and holds them accountable, they can improve public safety through better relationships with the community
CLOSING COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN LOOPHOLE: Lawmakers are working this session to close a loophole that has allowed hundreds of Maryland families to open multiple education savings accounts for each of their children and receive a state contribution of as much as $500 per each new account, Liz Bowie reports in the Sun. One family collected almost $100,000 in taxpayer money from a state program designed to encourage families to save for education costs.
TRANSIT GROWTH STUDY IN PG, ARUNDEL: The Post’s Katherine Shaver writes that Washington-area business leaders launched a study Tuesday of ways to increase development around rail stations in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, where transit-oriented growth has lagged behind other parts of the region.