Coronavirus and State Legislatures in the News

5/20/2020

covid-19 coronavirus

NCSL is tracking the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) may have on state legislatures, including suspension or postponement of legislative session or committee hearings, reduced public access or temporary closure of state capitols and remote participation. Check back often for updated news articles.

Note: The links to these articles are provided for information purposes only. NCSL does not endorse any views these news stories provide. Links more than two weeks old may no longer be active.

Legislative Session and Committee Meetings

Alabama Lawmakers to meet Monday for the final day of the session to determine use of federal CARES Act funds. (5/18/2020)
  Session resumed Monday with protective measures in place. Budget and federal stimulus spending under consideration, among other measures. (5/5/2020)
  Session set to resume Monday, while some lawmakers want to wait until the summer. (added 4/29/2020)
Alaska Legislature reconvened Monday with new protective measures in place, adjourned Tuesday after passing COVID-19 relief package. (5/19/2020)
Arizona Plan to meet Friday cancelled. (5/1/2020)
California Session resumes Monday to consider coronavirus legislation. (5/4/2020)
Colorado Social distancing measures under consideration for when the legislature reconvenes, currently planned for May 26. (5/18/2020)
  Adjournment extended to May 26. (5/11/2020)
Connecticut 2020 session formally ended Wednesday. (5/7/2020)
Delaware Lawmakers to reconvene virtually on May 26-27. (5/14/2020)
Georgia Session to resume June 11 according to House leader. (5/4/2020)
  State leaders debate when to resume session, with the House hoping for a June 11, the Senate and Lt. Governor pushing to start mid-May. (5/1/2020)

Hawaii

Session resumes Monday, with social distancing measures in place. (5/11/2020)
Illinois Legislature to return Wednesday, condensing two months of session work into three days. (5/19/2020)
  Assembly to convene May 20-22 with protective measures in place. (5/13/2020)
  Some members call for resuming session to vote on governor's emergency proclamation. (5/4/2020)
  Some lawmakers argue that it's time to resume the session, provide greater oversight of emergency executive actions. (added 4/30/2020)
Iowa Session expected to resume June 3. (5/13/2020)
  Legislature to resume session Friday with social distancing measures in place. (5/11/2020)
  Legislature set to return May 15, tentatively. (5/5/2020)
  Suspension of legislative session to continue through May 15. (added 4/30/2020)
  Session suspended through May 15. Leaders discuss a transparent, efficient process when the legislature resumes. (added 4/29/2020)
Kansas Debate among lawmakers over holding session, following protective measures. (5/19/2020)
  Virtual meetings help legislators prepare for session, set to reconvene May 21. (5/12/2020)
  Legislature to reconvene May 21 for one day, likely to consider limiting emergency executive authority. (5/7/2020)
Louisiana Session moves quickly to wrap the shortened session. (5/11/2020)
  Session resumed Monday with protective measures in place, with 78 of 104 members of the House in attendance. Session to end June 1, but special session possible. (5/5/2020)
  Legislature reconvenes Monday. (5/4/2020)
  Legislature to reconvene Monday with social distancing measures in place. (5/1/2020)
Minnesota Special session likely to be held in June. (5/19/2020)
  Legislature considers relief legislation before May 18 adjournment, but special session expected. (5/11/2020)
  Legislature to adjourn in two weeks, likely to take up pandemic response-related issues. (5/6/2020)
Mississippi Session to resume Thursday to consider pandemic relief bills. (5/5/2020)
  Legislative leaders weigh return to Capitol to allocate federal CARES Act funds. (added 4/30/2020)
  Legislature set to reconvene May 18. (added 4/27/2020) 
Missouri Final week of session starts Monday, likely to be "uneventful." (5/11/2020)
  Legislature resumes session today. (added 4/27/2020) 
North Carolina Session resumed Monday to address buget shortfalls. (5/18/2020)
  Assembly convened April 28 to consider pandemic tax relief measures. (5/4/2020)
  Session resumes today to address budget issues. (added 4/30/2020)
Nebraska Session likely to resume July 20. (5/19/2020)
New Hampshire House and Senate to return to session early June with social distancing measures in place. (5/18/2020)
New York Some call to reconvene to vote on COVID-19 relief bills, but may try to reach consensus beforehand to minimize exposure risks. (5/12/2020)
  Tentative plans to resume session within the next two weeks. (added 4/27/2020) 
Oregon Legislature may convene in June for special session to address budget issues related to COVID-19. (5/19/2020)
Rhode Island Legislature begins resuming work with committee meetings, social distancing in place. (5/11/2020)
South Carolina Assembly passes resolution to permit continued spending for COVID-19 relief during special sessions to be held later this year. (5/13/2020)
  Normal final week of the session passes by this week amid recessed legislature. (5/12/2020)
  Legislators to meet Tuesday for coronavirus response legislation. (5/11/2020)
  Session to resume May 12, expected to return for a special session. (5/1/2020)
Wyoming Special session begins Friday, publicly broadcast via YouTube. (5/14/2020)
  Special session on May 15-16, with many legislators participating virtually. (5/12/2020)

Legislature Monitoring

Alabama House Democrats plan to not participate in the session, to resume Monday, amid the pandemic. (5/4/2020)
  Some lawmakers consider not attending session Monday, concerned about spreading COVID-19. (5/1/2020)
California

Legislators consider pandemic relief proposals. (5/12/2020)

  Assembly leaders considering tests for COVID-19 for all members and essential staff before May 4, when legislature is set to reconvene. (added 4/27/2020) 
Colorado Lawmakers not required but encouraged to use masks for upcoming session, to meet next week. (5/20/2020)Lawmakers not required but encouraged to use masks for upcoming session, to meet next week. (5/20/2020)
  Budget forecasts expected Tuesday as legislature weighs potential cuts. (5/12/2020)
Florida Legislators consider special session to address budget and unemployment benefits issues related to the pandemic. (added 4/28/2020) 
Illinois Proposed social distancing rules for the legislature required for legislators to attend a meeting of the House. (5/19/2020)
Louisiana

Senate President recovers from COVID-19. (added 4/28/2020) 

Michigan Legislature sues governor over use of emergency powers. (5/12/2020)
Minnesota Senate employee infected with COVID-19, other staff to quarantine. (5/7/2020)
Mississippi Legislature moves to take control of federal CARES Act funds from Governor. (5/1/2020)
Missouri State Representative organizes mobile testing center in St. Louis. (5/6/2020)
New York First virtual hearing to handle COVID-19 response for small businesses held Wednesday. (5/14/2020)
North Carolina Assembly consensus likely over budget issues related to the COVID-19 response. (added 4/28/2020) 
North Dakota Legislative Council express safety concerns over reconvening session in January. (5/19/2020)
Oklahoma House and Senate vote to extend governor’s emergency powers during a special session. (5/7/2020)
Wyoming State senator donates salary to personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. (added 4/29/2020)

Limiting Access to Capitol or Temporary Closure

North Carolina Legislative buildings to reopen to the public next week. (5/14/2020)
Oklahoma Capitol to reopen to the public with screening and social distancing protocols. (5/4/2020)
Tennessee Legislative staff set to return to the Capitol for work on Monday. (added 4/29/2020)

Present to Vote or Remote Participation

California The Assembly reconvenes on May 4; the Senate on May 11; the chambers reached different decisions on remote voting. (added 4/30/2020)  
  Legislators debate temporarily allowing remote voting on bills and discuss how to accommodate lobbyists, others testifying in committee hearings. (added 4/28/2020)   
Indiana Legislature to consider allowing remote voting over the summer. (5/18/2020)  
  Interim committee to evaluate remote meeting and voting over the summer. (5/14/2020)  
Kansas Lawmakers meet virtually to prepare for upcoming session to deal with pandemic fallout. (5/11/2020)  
Maryland Discussions ongoing over allowing proxy voting in the legislature. (added 4/28/2020)   
Massachusetts House votes remotely for the first time. (5/11/2020)  
  House Democrats and Republicans agree to rules for remote debate and voting, with virtual session to be held Wednesday. (5/6/2020)  
  Contentious remote debate and vote rules under consideration. (5/5/2020)  
  House working on emergency remote voting rules, Senate considers plan to resume formal sessions with social distancing measures and proxy voting options. (5/4/2020)  
  Lawmakers weigh if remote voting should be allowed. (added 4/30/2020)  
  Virtual session planned for Thursday. (added 4/28/2020)   
Nebraska Legislators work virtually until lawmakers can meet in person. (5/18/2020)  
New York Lawmakers may hold virtual session as soon as next week. (5/19/2020)  
  Amid suspended session, lawmakers hold virtual meetings, consider relief measures post-quarantine. (5/4/2020)  
New Mexico Leaders split over if virtual attendance should be permitted. (added 4/30/2020)  
North Dakota Federal aid to be used to enable livestreaming legislative committee hearings for next year’s session. (5/18/2020)  
South Carolina First virtual committee will meet May 6 via Zoom. (added 4/30/2020)  
Utah Virtual public testimony allowed with 12 hours notice. (5/20/2020)  
  Lawmakers work to preserve transparency of process while meeting virtually. (added 4/28/2020)   
Vermont Caucus looks to enhance tech security after strategy info leaks. (added 4/28/2020)   
Virginia

Attorney General opinion says Assembly can meet virtually during a declared emergency. (5/11/2020)

 
  Attorney General determines the legislature has authority to meet electronically during an emergency. (5/7/2020)  

Archived Articles

Alabama Legislature expected to pick up the regular session on May 4, set to end May 18. (added 4/24/2020)  
  Session will not resume until at least May 4. (added 4/23/2020)   
  Session suspended until April 28. (add 4/1/2020)  
  Senate will convene for pro forma session on Tuesday, likely to be out for at least another month. House adjourned indefinitely on Thursday. (added 3/31/2020)   
  The Legislature set to resume session on 3/31, but some legislators express concern about being able to pass a budget in the midst of a pandemic. (added 3/26/2020)  
Alaska Legislature to reconvene within the next two weeks to allocate federal pandemic relief funds. (added 4/21/2020)   
  Legislature now in recess, approves 2021 budget and emergency relief package, including a $1,000 dividend for residents. (added 3/31/2020)   
  Only legislators, their staffers, legislative employees, and credentialed media are now allowed inside of the capitol building in Juneau. Leaders from the House Majority are trying to take what they call another precautionary measure as a response to the virus - a change to the legislatures uniform rule #23, which would allow committees to meet within one day of public notice. (added 3/20/2020)  
  A new contingency plan revealed Monday by the Alaska Legislature calls for state lawmakers to adjourn the ongoing regular session if at least five of 60 lawmakers get COVID-19. No members of the public are permitted in the Capitol under new rules. (added 3/17/2020)  
Arizona Legislature reconsidering plan to adjourn the session for the year on May 1 and use a special session if necessary to revamp the budget; legislators consider resuming the session. (added 4/23/2020)
  Legislative leaders to officially end the session on May 1, already recessed out of COVID-19 concerns. (added 4/22/2020)
  The Arizona Legislature informed members and staff that it will extend its recess and assess the Coronavirus situation again at the end of the month. (added 4/9/2020)
  The Arizona House enacted a remote-voting plan over protests from the minority. The rules changes permit the Speaker to use technology to monitor floor action from a remote location and record legislator votes in real time. The system may be able to accommodate only six lawmakers at a time —perhaps as many as eight — meaning the Speaker would determine who is granted remote voting privileges. (added 3/20/2020)
  The Senate and House adjourned for at least three weeks, after debating and passing an emergency budget package on March 23. At least 18 House members voted remotely under the chamber’s news rule. The Senate passed a rule change allowing remote voting on March 23, “in case it is needed,” according to the Senate President. (added 3/23/2020)
  Arizona lawmakers consider adjourning session as coronavirus concerns grow. (added 3/17/2020)
  House and Senate leaders are considering either a temporary shutdown or passing a basic “baseline” budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and adjourning until later in the year (added March 16, 2020).
  Democratic lawmakers want Governor Doug Ducey (R) to order a special legislative session to address coronavirus in Arizona (added March 12, 2020).
  State lawmakers come up with a plan to adopt what might be called a no-frills budget for the coming year and then go home, at least temporarily. (added 3/20/2020)
Arkansas House and Senate plan to reconvene April 27. (added 4/16/2020)
  The Legislature's sixth-ever fiscal session started Wednesday, despite the coronavirus pandemic, where the House of Representatives met in the Jack Stephens Centers at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. (added 4/9/2020)
  Legislative leaders said they will convene as planned Wednesday for this year's session focused on the budget but aim to end their work by April 18. This comes after two, now three, lawmakers test positive for coronavirus. (added 4/7/2020)
  A first and second representative test positive for COVID-19. (add 4/2/2020)
  State Representative tests positive for COVID-19, days after the legislature met for a special session. (add 4/1/2020)
  Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces special session to run March 26-28 to make budget adjustments. (added 3/26/2020)
California Senate website crashed during special subcommittee hearing due to the high number of visitors. (added 4/20/2020) 
  Legislature’s first mostly virtual hearing on COVID-19 relief efforts experienced technical issues. (added 4/17/2020)
  COVID-19 spending oversight hearings scheduled Thursday. Public comments allowed, but leaders encourage submissions in writing or over the phone. (added 4/16/2020)
  Senate creates a subcommittee on COVID-19 response, to hold a hearing next week. (added 4/14/2020)
  California state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins issued a joint statement saying the Legislature will hold hearings about the administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. The two leaders set May 4 as a prospective return date for the full Legislature, but that could be pushed back. (added 4/14/2020)
  The California Legislature is experimenting with remote governance while session is suspended. Lawmakers will not return to work at the Capitol until at least May 4 (or later if the state of emergency persists). The one deadline they can’t miss is June 15th which is when, constitutionally, they must pass a budget. (added 4/7/2020)
  The Senate President discusses legislative priorities and remote voting in light of social distancing and budget requirements. (added 3/26/2020)
  The Legislature then suspended its work until April 13, after approving up to $1 billion in new spending on Monday to combat the coronavirus outbreak. It is believed to be the first unexpected work stoppage in the California Legislature in 158 years. (added 3/17/2020)
  Assembly members met Monday to discuss the possibility of moving up and extending their annual spring recess in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak (added March 16, 2020).
  Leaders of the California Legislature said Tuesday they have no plans to impose coronavirus-related restrictions on the work schedules of lawmakers or the operations of the Capitol, though they said they are closely watching events across the state (added March 12, 2020).
Colorado The General Assembly may resume session this spring, even if the state of emergency continues.  The General Assembly is examining the possibility of remote voting. Members may use protective equipment to pass the budget. (add 4/3/2020)
  Lawmakers may return to the Capitol as early as May, depending on expert advice and if the state stay-at-home order remains effective. The General Assembly must pass a budget by June 30. Remote voting is one option being discussed. Legislators will meet April 8 to discuss and the public will be able to listen in. (added 4/7/2020)
  State Representative serves as an ER nurse to help address the anticipated need for health care workers. (add 4/1/2020)
  State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the legislature may extend its lawmaking term after the pandemic, allowing the legislature to resume the session later this year. (add 4/2/2020)
  Debate ongoing between Senate and House Democrats on the need to return to the Capitol.  (added 3/31/2020)
  Both chambers meet to postpone session. Waiting to hear back from the State Supreme Court on if the state’s constitution requires 120 consecutive days of session during the state of emergency. (added 3/31/2020)
  The legislature expected to return next week to vote to extend its postponed session. Colorado’s constitution requires the legislature to conclude 120 days after convening. The Supreme Court is weighing in on if this applies consecutively, as the emergency suspension may otherwise threaten the legislature’s ability to pass a budget. While the legislature awaits this decision, other discussions about how to move forward continue. (added 3/26/2020)
  A state senator tests positive for COVID-19. (added 3/23/2020)
  Lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus. (added 3/20/2020)
  The Capitol is closed, the legislative session is in limbo, but legislators are still working on legislation to address the new coronavirus outbreak and how they pass a state budget. There is also pending legal guidance from the Colorado Supreme Court and whether the 120-day session can extend past the scheduled May 6 adjournment date. (added 3/20/2020)
  The General Assembly has pending legislation that would allow public officials to conduct some business over email – but still in question is if it would violate the state’s open meetings law (added March 16, 2020).
  The Colorado legislature has officially suspended its work for at least two weeks, amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. In a historic first for the state, the House and Senate approved the temporary halt to their work on a voice vote (added March 16, 2020).
  General Assembly released a plan of action, including steps to pause session (added March 14, 2020).
Connecticut Democratic and Republican legislative leaders will continue to postpone committee meetings and public hearings until April 23. The Legislative Office Building, State Capitol, and the Old State House will remain closed during that time. (added 4/9/2020)
  Assembly will not meet again before it’s May 6 constitutional adjournment. (added 4/22/2020) 
  Legislative leaders are working with the governor on an economic stimulus package,  likely to be implemented via emergency-power executive order instead of during legislative session to practice social distancing. One House member has tested positive for COVID-19. (added 3/23/2020)
  Republican and Democratic leaders release joint statement announcing suspension of all legislative activities until mid-April. (added 3/26/2020)
  Capitol Closed, Legislative Business Suspended Until March 30 (added March 14, 2020).
  Capitol complex will be closed to all non-legislative events, tours and meetings March 12-15 for cleaning (added March 12, 2020)
  Legislators canceled all public hearings scheduled for next week and revised their rules to allow committee votes by telephone (added March 12, 2020).
Washington, D.C. U.S. Capitol suspends public tours until end of March. Read more (added March 12, 2020).
Delaware Delaware legislators will postpone their work until at least March 24. Legislative Hall will be closed to the public starting Friday. Governor Carney declares state of emergency (added March 12, 2020).
Florida A legislator tests positive for coronavirus. (added 3/20/2020)
  Five Florida House members and a member of the House staff were briefly self-isolated Monday after attending a recent Washington, D.C., event where an attendee tested positive for coronavirus. There was a temporary delay while those member’s seats were cleaned on the House floor (added March 12, 2020)
  The Legislature is not planning to hold remote votes on the upcoming budget on Thursday. While the state’s constitution does not allow for remote voting, leaders say there is now reason to explore changing laws to allow it in the future (added March 16, 2020).
  Lawmakers adjourn sine die after approving a budget. (added 3/20/2020)
Guam The Legislature postponed an emergency session on unemployment benefits indefinitely due to COVID-19 outbreak. The Speaker expressed interest in a possible virtual session. (added 3/23/2020)
Georgia House creates committee to examine when to resume the 2020 session. (added 4/20/2020) 
  Legislature set to resume session May 18. (added 4/28/2020)
  Lawmakers considering return to session on June 11. (added 4/23/2020)
  Four senators test positive for COVID-19. (added 3/23/2020)
  Legislative leaders urged the entire Georgia Legislature, both members and staff, to self-quarantine through the end of March after a senator who participated in a vote on Monday tested positive for the coronavirus. (added 3/20/2020)
  The General Assembly will suspend the legislative session indefinitely after March 13 (added March 12, 2020).
  “Out of an abundance of caution ... the floor of the House will be limited to members, authorized staff and the media subject to the House rules.” (added March 12, 2020).
Hawaii House members and staff are working from home and member offices will be closed through the end of April. The Speaker’s office, the clerk’s office, the House majority office and House Sergeant-at-Arms will be open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. with limited staff. (add 4/3/2020)
  The Senate and House are suspending the legislative session indefinitely as of March 17 (added March 16, 2020).
Idaho Statehouse reporter tests positive for COVID-19. (add 4/2/2020)
  The Idaho Legislature is contemplating a quicker adjournment than originally anticipated (added March 16, 2020).
  The Legislature adjourned March 20. (added 3/23/2020)
  The Legislature all but adjourned on Thursday evening, March 19, after calls throughout the week to halt session. The House is leaving open the possibility that it may need to meet to consider gubernatorial vetoes. (added 3/20/2020)
Illinois Bipartisan working groups created to consider legislation during the pandemic recess. (added 4/21/2020) 
  For the second consecutive week, Speaker Michael Madigan’s office has instructed state lawmakers to stay home and be prepared to come to Springfield to address urgent matters.  (added 3/20/2020)
  Both the Senate and House have canceled legislative sessions in Springfield next week (added March 12, 2020).
Iowa Statement from legislators says session’s suspension to continue through May 15, with the Legislative Council meeting virtually this week. (added 4/27/2020) 
  Lawmakers are working remotely and are scheduled to return to session on May 1. In addition to constituent work, some committees have conducted meetings via Zoom, email and telephone, to discuss budget logistics and other priorities. The Legislature can extend its session but will only be paid through May. Leaders say if session must be pushed into August, remote voting could potentially become an option, though only on a short-term basis. (added 4/9/2020)
  Session will be suspended until at least April 30. The Legislative Council may meet via teleconference in the coming week. (add 4/3/2020)
  The Capitol will be closed to the public until at least March 31. (added 3/20/2020)
  The legislative session will be suspended for at least 30 days due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (added March 16, 2020).
Kansas Legislature delays return for a veto session, previously set for Monday, until at least May 6. (added 4/22/2020)
  The Legislatures’ legislative council was sued by the Governor after it revoked her executive order that limited church gatherings. (added 4/14/2020)
  The Legislature may revisit the state’s emergency powers law once the COVID-19 crisis has passed. In the meantime, the legislature passed a resolution giving it the authority to review each of the governor’s executive orders and the power to revoke many of them within days. (added 3/23/2020)
  The Legislature passed a budget and adjourned on March 19. The Legislature is scheduled to return in just over five weeks to adjust the $19.8 billion budget and take up other unfinished work on bills, but legislators acknowledged there is no guarantee the pandemic would allow them to meet. (added 3/20/2020)
Kentucky Legislature will reconvene Tuesday and Wednesday for a veto session. Recently adopted rules in the House allow remote voting while rules in the Senate allow for social distancing while in the chamber. (added 4/14/2020)
  The House held floor session on March 30 operating under new temporary proxy voting rules that allowed members to text a picture of their paper ballot vote to a designated colleague in the chamber. (add 4/3/2020)
  Lawmakers alter voting procedures to limit the number of lawmakers on the House floor. Members will vote in groups of 25 and may vote by paper ballot. (add 4/1/2020)
  Kentucky’s legislative session will continue as scheduled but with new safeguards in place, including limited access to the Capitol Annex, closure of the galleries and suspending the use of pages, door keepers and floor personnel. Leaders asked members who 60 or older, who have health issues or who live with someone in these categories, to stay home for the time being. (added 3/20/2020)
  The General Assembly went back to work on March 17, after a brief break, and working on an expedited schedule to pass a budget next week. (added 3/17/2020)
  The Legislature’s Capitol complex is limited to essential personnel. The general assembly will continue to work. More committee hearings will be streamed online and the LRC will increase staffing of constituent hotlines. The use of doorkeepers, legislative pages and floor personnel will be suspended in the House and Senate chambers (added March 16, 2020). 
  General Assembly won’t meet March 13 or March 16, returning March 17 (added March 14, 2020).
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the Louisiana State Capitol until sunset on April 13, 2020, as an expression of respect for Rep. Reggie Bagala, who passed away from COVID-19 on Thursday. (added 4/14/2020)
  Legislature adjourns indefinitely, to be called back on a date to be determined by presiding officers in each chamber. (add 4/1/2020)
  The Capitol building is closed to the public and legislative staff will work remotely until March 31. (add 3/20/2020)
  The Legislature temporarily adjourned session until March 31 (added March 16, 2020).
  The Legislature must reconvene on March 31, but will likely only read in bills and adjourn until April 13 when Gov. John Bel Edwards’s stay-at-home order is set to lift. (added 3/23/2020)
Maine The Legislature will adjourn early (added March 16, 2020).
  The Maine Legislature will close its galleries to the public and end tours and some events amid concerns about the coronavirus, but lawmakers will continue to meet and the State House will remain open, legislative leaders announced on Thursday (added March 12, 2020).
Maryland Assembly debating change to rules and procedures to allow remote meeting and voting. (added 4/23/2020) 

 

Assembly will not hold special session in May. (added 4/20/2020) 
  Two Maryland lawmakers help their communities through the coronavirus outbreak by returning to the medical field.  (added 4/14/2020)
  The Legislature’s Joint COVID-19 Work Group has met via video conference call and is live-streaming its meeting on YouTube. (added 4/9/2020)
  House staffer tests positive for COVID-19, after the Assembly adjourned early last week. (added 3/23/2020)
  Lawmakers will adjourn nearly three weeks early on March 18, the first time it will do so since the Civil War. It will resume the last week of May for a special session (added March 16, 2020).
  In the General Assembly, all rallies and receptions will be canceled starting Friday. And beginning next week, all bill hearings will feature in-person testimony only from the bill’s sponsor. Members of the public are encouraged to submit written testimony to lawmakers instead of coming in person (added March 12, 2020).
  Maryland’s 2020 Legislative Session has ended almost three weeks early, though legislative leaders left open the possibility to come back for a special session in May. (added 3/20/2020)
Massachusetts Legislature working to make up for physical distancing requirements with technical solutions, while some of the simple in person interactions useful for efficient policymaking are proving troublesome to virtually replicate. (added 4/21/2020) 
  The state budget roundtable that will offer a first look at new predictions for state tax revenues was postponed until Tuesday, April 14 after officials failed to get the live stream technology, which would allow the public to view the meeting, working on the original date. (added 4/9/2020)
  Lawmakers say the stay-at-home advisory has not prevented them from doing their jobs amid the coronavirus crisis, despite a deserted State House. (added 4/9/2020)
  A House employee received a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19, days after Senate and House leaders decided to close the Statehouse to the public. (added 3/20/2020)
  Drawing upon its members’ expertise in public health, emergency response and medical backgrounds, the General Court is convening working groups to consider legislation in light of the Governor’s prohibition on meetings of 40 people or more (added March 16, 2020).
  House cancels public events, evaluating session options (added March 12, 2020).
Michigan Legislature holds session Friday to address COVID-19 response and oversee executive branch emergency powers. (added 4/24/2020) 
  First members of the COVID-19 committee announced. (added 4/24/2020) 
  Legislature to establish a bipartisan COVID-19 oversight committee. (added 4/23/2020) 
  Second Michigan lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19. (added 4/7/2020)
  Michigan lawmakers will convene on Tuesday, April 7, for the first time in weeks to lengthen Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency declaration amid the coronavirus pandemic but are at odds over the extension and whether the session is even necessary.  (added 4/7/2020)
  State Senator dies, COVID-19 is the suspected cause. (added 3/31/2020)
Minnesota Lawmakers return to the Capitol Tuesday to consider remote meeting rules for state government and COVID-19 relief measures. (added 4/14/2020)
  The Legislature, which earlier in the week recessed until mid-April, will convene Thursday to vote on COVID-19 relief bill. The Legislature has been meeting through informal working groups via conference call on policy ideas in response to COVID-19. (added 3/26/2020)
  The Minnesota legislature is temporarily suspending floor sessions and committee hearings until March 26. Over the past week and half, the legislature unanimously approved emergency funding packages for the state to combat COVID-19. (added 3/17/2020)
  The Minnesota Legislature will allow for more remote working options amid the spread of the coronavirus, legislative leaders announced Sunday, March 15 (added March 16, 2020).
  The Legislature scaled back operations and is holding committee meetings and floor sessions on an on-call basis only through April 14. When they do meet they’ll only use spaces that allow six feet of distance between people (added March 16, 2020).
  House and Senate are preparing a joint resolution that would allow the legislature to recess for longer than three days if needed (added March 12, 2020).
  Legislators are required to meet in person. If 34 senators or 68 house members were absent, they would not be able to vote on emergency Coronavirus funding (added March 12, 2020).
  The Legislature’s scheduled Easter/Passover recess will be extended until April 14. (added 3/23/2020)
  The Legislature recessed until April 14 after passing a COVID-19 related emergency funding measure. A House employee was found to be presumed positive for the illness just two days later. (added 3/20/2020)
Mississippi Speaker and Lt. Gov. hope to gather additional information about the financial impact of the pandemic, plan to wait until June to pass a state budget. (add 4/3/2020)
  Mississippi lawmakers suspended the legislative session after taking up COVID-19-related legislation, including a resolution allowing lawmakers to postpone the session for several weeks. (added 3/20/2020)
  Mississippi lawmakers announced Tuesday they intend to suspend the legislative session due to the spread of the new coronavirus. (added 3/17/2020)
Missouri Legislature tentatively planning to return to session on April 27. (added 4/14/2020)
  Legislature tentatively scheduled to reconvene April 27. (added 4/16/2020)
  As lawmakers reconvene in Jefferson City to work on an emergency coronavirus spending measure, they are encountering enhanced protocols to protect themselves as well as the public, who is legally allowed to be in the capitol while legislative work is underway. (added 4/9/2020)
  Missouri lawmakers return to the Capitol for virus funding bill, using social distancing measures and protective equipment to pass emergency spending measures. (added 4/7/2020)

 

The Legislature will reconvene April 7 and 8 to pass a supplemental budget with revised rules and protocols in place. Visitors will be screened before entering the Capitol, proceedings will be livestreamed, members will not be required in the chamber for formalities or while bill handlers are making motions, majority and minority floor leaders will implement a system for if a legislator wishes to speak, and votes could be grouped instead of a straight roll call. (add 4/3/2020)
  Legislatures in several states are using innovative methods to socially distance while holding meetings. (added 3/31/2020)
  Faced with a May 8 budget deadline, and contemplating COVID-19 emergency funding, the Legislature is contemplating ways to meet and practice social distancing. One approach under consideration would broadcast committee hearings to observers in other meeting rooms in the Capitol. (added 3/23/2020)
  House Speaker says “remote” floor sessions are not a possibility for the 163-member chamber. (added 3/20/2020)
  The Capitol and state offices will close to all non-essential personnel on March 24. One House member has tested positive for COVID-19 and many members are self-quarantining. The House is encouraging all employees to stay out of the Capitol for at least 10 days and Senate staff are working remotely. (added 3/23/2020)
  Missouri lawmakers on Tuesday urged citizens to avoid the Capitol unless they're directly participating in legislative business amid concerns about the novel coronavirus. Lawmakers closed public access to the House chamber and some other public spaces, including the House Lounge (added March 12, 2020).
  Members of the Missouri Senate have been told they don’t need to show up next week in Jefferson City (added March 12, 2020).
Nebraska Technology is enabling lawmakers to communicate while the legislature determines if it will reconvene this year to finish the final 17 days of the 2020 session. Some have concerns about relying too heavily on the technology due to potential transparency and security issues. (added 4/14/2020)
  The Legislature will temporarily reconvene for three days next week to authorize emergency funding to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. (added 3/23/2020)
  The Legislature suspends session as of March 17 with no announced plans to reconvene (added March 16, 2020).
  Lawmakers made adjustments within the Legislature to lessen infection risks, including not allowing visitors to sit in roped-off areas in the chamber, canceling an annual St. Patrick's Day party put on by lobbyists and advising against senators up for reelection campaigning door to door (added March 12, 2020).
North Carolina As of Monday, the public is not allowed in the Capitol. (added 4/20/2020) 
  Assembly returning to session April 28 to focus on COVID-19 relief legislation. Lawmakers expected to hold virtual committee meetings when they return but will vote in-person on the floor. (added 4/16/2020)
  A North Carolina special House committee has been meeting about the state’s COVID-19 response where all lawmakers can connect to a video teleconference meeting. Starting April 14, video of remote committee meetings will be streamed on the General Assembly website via YouTube. (added 4/14/2020)
  Legislature’s cafeteria closes after a cafeteria worker tests positive for COVID-19. (add 4/2/2020)
  The Legislature’s Select Committee on COVID-19 and Health Care Working Group will begin meeting, but members are not clear on when the first tele-meeting is to be held or how the public may access audio of the proceedings. (added 3/23/2020)
  North Carolina legislature cancels meetings, lets staffers work remotely until April 1 amid coronavirus fears (added March 12, 2020).
North Dakota An interim legislative committee met this week to consider how the legislature might expand live streamed committee hearings. The committee met in the Senate chambers to practice social distancing, and four members joined the hearing by phone. (added 3/20/2020)
New Hampshire Legislature sues to stop the governor from spending COVID-19 relief funds through an executive order. (added 4/14/2020)
  The Legislature has suspended session until May 4. Senate and House leaders say they are “actively exploring” the notion of remote participation and that the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee will meet remotely on April 10. (add 4/3/2020)
  House and Senate leaders announced they would extend the suspension of legislative activity due to COVID-19 through April 10. Last week, the Legislature had passed an emergency rule that permitted Soucy and Shurtleff to extend deadlines for legislative action due to the pandemic. (added 3/20/2020)
  The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted against a rules change to allow their members to vote remotely from home if they are suspected of having come in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus (added March 12, 2020).
New Jersey The Senate introduced a series of bills that will be voted on in the Senate’s first-ever remote voting session on Monday, April 13th. (added 4/9/2020)
  The Assembly voted remotely for the first time March 26, via conference call. (added 3/26/2020)
New Mexico Discussions of special session continue the New Mexico. The Speaker is contemplating a virtual special session. (added 4/7/2020)
  Governor anticipates special session to revise the state budget and address issues related to the state’s COVID-19 response. (added 3/31/2020)
New York Some legislators and others push for holding remote sessions amid COVID-19 outbreak. Resolutions allowing remote voting passed earlier was limited to getting the 2020-2021 budget passed. (added 4/16/2020)
  Some legislators push to return to session to deal with the pandemic response, even if virtually. (added 4/24/2020) 
  Legislature set to reconvene Monday to finish the session based on pre-coronavirus schedule, but no plans to meet. Some legislators push for virtual meetings. (added 4/20/2020)
  It is unclear if the New York Legislature will return to the Capitol this year after they passed the budget last week. (added 4/7/2020)
  Senate approves rule change to allow remote voting. Assembly expected to follow suit. (added 3/31/2020)
  A third Assembly member tests positive for COVID-19. (added 3/20/2020)
  The Legislature continues session to meet budget deadlines; Senate and Assembly rules do not allow for remote voting; two members diagnosed with COVID-19 though neither has been to Albany since early March (added March 16, 2020).
Ohio Guided tours suspended until March 25 (added March 12, 2020).
Oklahoma During a special session held last week, legislature passed a resolution to allow for remote participation in committee meetings and floor proceedings. Bills unrelated to COVID-19 may have to wait until next year due to the emergency situation. (added 4/16/2020)
  Governor declares statewide public health emergency via executive order. If approved by the legislature, the action would enhance governor’s powers to respond to the crisis.  (add 4/1/2020)
  Gov. Kevin Stitt called Oklahoma legislators into a special session at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 6th to approve his declaration of a statewide health emergency and $416 million budget gap caused by the coronavirus. This is the first time they met since March 17th. (added 4/7/2020)
  The Legislature will meet in special session on April 6 to consider legislation related to the COVID-19 emergency. The House will follow a series of revised protocols in the chamber and in the Capitol, including taking the temperature of people coming into the building; only allowing House members onto the floor and committee proceedings individually or in small groups to vote, ask questions, debate and present legislation; requiring members to watch and listen to proceedings from their offices, allowing members who cannot enter the Capitol for certain health reasons to participate remotely; staffing proceedings with a “skeleton crew” of staff; and livestreaming proceedings to the public. (add 4/3/2020)
  Members will not return to the Capitol this week, currently working remotely to draft a budget that can accommodate possible coronavirus–related shortfalls. (added 3/31/2020)
  Legislature will not return to session this week. Legislators unsure when a budget vote will take place. (added 3/31/2020)
  The Legislature approved changes to the state’s Open Meeting Act on Tuesday to allow government bodies to meet via teleconference. The Oklahoma Senate put on lockdown Tuesday afternoon after a lawmaker and a staff member tested positive for the Coronavirus. (added 3/20/2020)
  House aide tests positive for COVID-19. A Senate staffer tested positive last week. (added 3/26/2020)
  Oklahoma lawmakers made a historic decision on Monday to close the state Capitol to the public and to plan for the possibility of proxy voting of lawmakers on major legislation.  (added 3/17/2020)
  The Legislature will meet briefly on Tuesday and then depart the Capitol for an already-scheduled break. No decision has been made about week. The Capitol will only be accessible to lawmakers, their staff, essential state employees who are invited and news media (added March 12, 2020).
Oregon Committee to hold virtual meeting Thursday to consider coronavirus response spending. (added 4/22/2020) 
  Joint plan to provide COVID-19 relief announced, but date of a special session to enact a relief package remains uncertain. (added 4/14/2020)
  Special session will not to be held the week of March 30. Discussions still ongoing regarding what actions may be necessary to address the pandemic. (add 4/2/2020)
  No special session will be held this week as previously intended, but leaders are discussing holding one later this year. (add 4/1/2020)
  Joint committee issues 20 recommendations for emergency coronavirus responses. Lawmakers expect to hold multiple special sessions to address the pandemic. (added 3/31/2020) 
  A special legislative committee formed to establish the groundwork for a special session dedicated to the pandemic had its first hearing Wednesday. (added 3/20/2020)
  Special session may be held as soon as next week, possibly the first of several this year. Special joint committee was created to develop pandemic response suggestions. (added 3/26/2020)
  The Legislature will convene a special session when it has an emergency response package ready for consideration. (added 3/17/2020)
Pennsylvania The House held its first virtual committee meeting on March 23, to consider legislation to hold the state primary election to a later in the year. (added 3/23/2020)
  Lawmakers met Wednesday to approve a resolution that temporarily adjusts its rules so members can participate and vote remotely using technology.  (added 3/20/2020)
  Legislature pledges transparency, will enable the public to watch committee meetings and what happens on the floor of both chambers via live stream online, as it prepares to vote remotely on coronavirus relief. On March 24-25, both chambers held floor session where at least 114 House members and all but 10 Senate members voted remotely. (added 3/26/2020)
  The House convened on Monday with limited staff on hand and a plan to move as quickly as possible on legislation to allow members to return home. The Senate, which canceled its Monday session and told staffers to work from home, is scheduled to return on Tuesday (updated March 16, 2020).
  State Capitol has temporarily suspended tours (added March 14, 2020).
  The House changed its rules to allow (but not require) members to vote from home or elsewhere without being present in the House chamber (added March 16, 2020).
Rhode Island Legislature split over push for more remote meetings. (added 3/31/2020)
  House and Senate sessions and all committee hearings for the week of March 16-20 have been cancelled (added March 14, 2020).
South Carolina Governor says lawmakers may be called to meet in June to finalize the 2021 state budget. (added 4/17/2020)
  A South Carolina lawmaker is seeking a “mandatory quarantine at home” for all state legislators following this week’s special session amid the coronavirus outbreak. (added 4/7/2020)
  The Legislature may need to meet again after failing to reach consensus on a bill that dealt with a state-owned utility. In addition to making changes to a bill that the House already approved, the Senate passed a proposal allowing a special session in September and other times as needed to address the budget, COVID-19 and other matters. Regular session ends May 14. (added 4/9/2020)
  Assembly will resume session Wednesday to pass emergency measures and set plans to return later this year. (add 4/2/2020)
South Dakota Legislature held Veto Day remotely on March 30. (added 3/31/2020)
  Final day of the session on Monday; legislature will hold a quick veto session then consider financial issues relating to COVID-19. Legislature will use electronic teleconferencing for the session. (added 3/26/2020)
  The Legislature will reconvene for its final day of session on March 30. The governor has states she doesn’t plan to call a special session. (added 3/23/2020)
Tennessee After passing a flurry of legislation, including bills to address the COVID-19 emergency, the legislature effectively ended its session on March 20, though they could return to the Capitol on June 1. Legislative staff will be given two weeks of paid administrative leave while the Capitol is cleaned. (added 3/23/2020)
  The Legislature will focus only on budget matters before taking a recess. (added 3/20/2020)
  The Capitol is closed to the public through the end of the month. The state's legislative office building will also be shuttered to everyone except General Assembly members, staff and media (added March 16, 2020).
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has canceled Senate committee hearings this month, citing concerns about the coronavirus (added March 12, 2020).
Utah Fourth special session called by Governor on Tuesday, to be held April 23. (added 4/21/2020) 
  Legislature held an all-virtual special session Thursday. Some legislators anticipate reopening the economy on May 1. (added 4/17/2020)
  First digital special session to begin Thursday, unlikely to extend beyond a two-day week but could last up to 10 days. Plan includes livestreaming meetings and providing an option for public comments to be provided digitally. (added 4/16/2020)
  Joint commission to make recommendations about easing COVID-19 closures. (added 4/20/2020) 

 

Fourth special session called by Governor, to take place Thursday. (added 4/22/2020) 
  First virtual meeting, which could last up to 10 days, began Thursday. Statement from the Senate President says multiple remote sessions may be held later this year. (added 4/16/2020)
  State’s first all-virtual special session to be held this week to address the coronavirus response. The session may be the first of several called to manage the effects of the public emergency. Officials work to comply with public meetings requirements. (added 4/14/2020)
  An all-House member conference call, designed to update legislators on COVID-19 and issues they might soon consider may have unintentionally violated state open meetings laws. (added 4/7/2020)
  State lawmakers plan to call their own special session of the Utah Legislature next week to deal with issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. (added 4/9/2020)
  The Utah State Legislature is expected to meet in a special session soon, where lawmakers will deal with more issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. (added 4/7/2020)
  Governor announces intent to call a special session in two or three weeks to deal with pandemic response. Legislators will have the option to participate in session virtually. (add 4/1/2020)
  A member of the Senate tested positive for COVID-19. (added 3/23/2020)
  A last-minute bill is being drafted to allow lawmakers to meet without being in the same place, the latest response by the Utah Legislature to the new coronavirus outbreak (added March 12, 2020).
  New guidelines issued by legislative leaders earlier this week ask lawmakers to refrain from face-to-face meetings with guests and to conduct business remotely using technology if possible, according to UtahPolicy.com (added March 12, 2020).
  The Senate voted 28-0 to pass SJR 16 and sent it to the House for consideration. It would allow remote meetings of the legislature (added March 12, 2020).
Vermont First virtual meetings and votes of the legislature, as a whole, held last week. (added 4/16/2020)
  The Senate and House are using remote voting and the House has been conducting virtual committee meetings as well. (added 4/7/2020)
  A group of 16 Senators — just enough for a quorum — returned to the Statehouse to unanimously approve a virtual voting measure. (added 4/9/2020)
  The Vermont Senate and House adopted temporary resolutions to allow remote participation in committee and on the floor during the COVID-19 crisis. (added 3/26/2020)
  On March 25, the Senate is expected to vote on a temporary change to state open meetings law to allow local government bodies to meet virtually. (added 3/23/2020)
  Vermont Legislature to suspend session through March 24 (added March 14, 2020).
  Lawmakers are building a contingency plan should coronavirus make it to the statehouse (added March 12, 2020).
  Restricting public access to State House, canceled “non-essential” gatherings through March 31 (added March 12, 2020).
Virginia House Speaker is exploring remote, online voting for the upcoming veto session and any special sessions to be held this year, but is still expected to convene in person next week. (added 4/16/2020)
  Lawmakers to meet Wednesday using large tents and a neighboring Museum’s event space to enable an in-person meeting that complies with social distancing requirements. (added 4/22/2020) 
  Lawmakers to hold one-day session using unique social distancing practices. (added 4/20/2020) 
  The Senate’s spring veto session will take place on April 22 at the science museum’s exhibit and meeting facility. (added 4/9/2020)
  The House plans to convene outdoor veto session on April 22. (add 4/3/2020)
Washington Legislature adjourned on March 12, 2020, after 60-day session (added March 12, 2020).
Wisconsin The Assembly met in its first remote session to pass bipartisan COVID-19-related legislation. While some legislators were present on the floor, many joined in from their homes and offices. The Senate meets on April 15 to talk up the legislation. (added 4/14/2020)
  The Senate has postponed next week’s Senate session and is considering a move it has never made before: meeting virtually. (added 3/20/2020)
  An Assembly member tests positive for COVID-19. (added 3/23/2020)
  Legislators test positive for COVID-19 in Georgia and Oklahoma. (added 3/26/2020)
  Wisconsin Department of Administration officials announced Thursday they have canceled all tours of the State Capital until further notice (added March 12, 2020).
Wyoming Legislative leadership held a virtual meeting Thursday to prepare for its first special session since 2004. (added 4/20/2020) 
  Lawmakers to call multiple special sessions to allocate relief funding and mitigate economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic. (added 4/17/2020)
  Lawmakers considering a special session, the first since 2004. The session may be held outside the Capitol, in a virtual format. (added 4/7/2020)
Multiple States Some legislators risk their personal health to serve as lawmakers during the pandemic. (added 4/24/2020) 
  Legislatures are meeting in different ways because of the COVID-19 pandemic – this article discusses actions or proposals for session protocols or remote participation in Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia. (added 4/9/2020)