FROM THE HALLS | A Maryland business legislative update | March 2020

Maryland celebrated its 386th birthday on Wednesday. Happy Maryland Day!

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis: Maryland Chamber of Commerce establishes COVID-19 working group

On Tuesday afternoon, the Maryland Chamber hosted a webinar, “COVID-19 Response and Resources,” for its members. During the webinar, we announced the formation of a Maryland Chamber COVID-19 working group. This group is open to any member of the Chamber who wants to volunteer to aggregate the specific challenges facing the business community during these challenging times, determine which solutions have proven effective and which have not, and develop policy recommendations for economic recovery in the near, mid and long-term future.

The group will meet weekly via conference call. Please contact Ashley Duckman at if you’d like to participate, or to get more information.

To read more about the working group and webinar, check out the story in the Baltimore Business Journal here.

If you missed the webinar, which offers a wealth of information for businesses who are grappling with the effects of this unprecedented pandemic, you can listen to a full recording of it here. The recording is also available on the Maryland Chamber COVID-19 resource page. Please be sure to check this page regularly for the latest information and resources surrounding COVID-19.

U.S. Senate passes $2 trillion COVID-19 emergency relief deal

Late Wednesday night, the Senate voted to pass the largest economic rescue effort in American history. As of this morning, the bill is being considered by the House. Once passed by the House, it will head to the desk of President Trump, who has said he will sign it immediately.

The $2 trillion relief package will, in the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation’s historic fight and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small businesses and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar.”

The following is a statement from Christine Ross, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce:

“We are pleased the U.S. Senate has passed this urgent legislation in a unanimous vote, and we ask the House to do the same so that the president can sign it into law as soon as possible. As we all do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, this law will begin the process of getting Maryland families and businesses back on their feet in the midst of an unprecedented economic shutdown, and give our businesses the confidence to reopen their doors.”

What’s in the bill:

Sources: FOX News; CBS News; Politico; New York Times; Washington Post

Register for a coronavirus webinar, hosted by NFIB on Monday

NFIB is hosting their next webinar on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on Monday, March 30, at 12 p.m.

The webinar will include:

Register for free here.

Interview with CareFirst CEO, Brian D. Pienick

Yesterday, our vice president of membership and development, Whitney Harmel, interviewed Brian D. Pieninck, CEO of CareFirst, to talk about CareFirst’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed what steps CareFirst has taken to expand its services, as well as what businesses and individuals should know as we all do our part to help stop the spread of the disease. You may listen to the interview here.

A message to emergency suppliers from the MD Department of Commerce

The Maryland Department of Commerce is working closely with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to organize emergency suppliers of equipment and services that may aid in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. To be added to a list, please take the following actions:

Step 1: Send an email

If you are a U.S.-based company, send an email to Please include company name and address and point-of-contact (email and phone number).

If you are an international-based company, please reach out to the Commerce International Trade and Investment Team member who represents your region. Please provide company name and address and point-of-contact (email and phone number).

Step 2: Complete the RFI

Please complete the RFI online. After clicking the link, please click the “Add to My Solicitations” tab and answer all required questions. If you already have an account, just log in.

Please consider the following information before completing the steps above:

1. The above listed organizations do not provide resource request lists but do accept summaries from companies offering goods and services. Please compile a detailed list and an appropriate command staff member will vet your company’s credentials.

2. All suppliers must be vetted before being entered into the Emergency Supplier Database so please discourage middlemen and consultants from contacting MEMA, and instead, have them pass this information to the supplier.

For any further questions, please contact Ernesto Chanona, Ph.D., ( with the Office of BioHealth and Life Sciences, or Todd Sabin, (, manufacturing program manager.

Wrapping up the 2020 Maryland legislative session

Thank you to our members who joined us yesterday for a webinar that recapped the 2020 Maryland Legislative Session. The legislative session is an opportunity for the Chamber and its members to promote the positive steps being taken by job creators to make Maryland a better place to live and work. It is also a challenge to defend businesses against policies that will ultimately hurt their bottom line.

We’d like to thank our members for their enthusiastic involvement in the legislative process throughout the 2020 session—your input and commitment make all the difference in keeping our business community moving forward. For your convenience, we have provided a brief overview of the topics we covered on the webinar, including a list of the bills we advocated for or fought against over the last three months, available here.

Also, a full recording of yesterday’s presentation is available here.

In mid-May, we will release a comprehensive legislative report that will cover the progress we made during session 2020.

Census 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau is delaying the deadline for counting everyone in the U.S. by two weeks because of the coronavirus. The on-the-ground canvassing and door-knocking for the 2020 census had been scheduled to stop at the end of July, but the deadline has been extended to mid-August.

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau aims to count every person living in our country, as required by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2. The data collected determines the number of seats Maryland has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to make funding decisions around critical programs like Medicare.

Census data, which includes income levels, household size and homeownership, can also help businesses in Maryland understand their potential customer base, select ideal business locations, implement consumer pricing strategies and make informed decisions overall.

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation would like to know if you have any examples of a business decision you have made after taking census data into account. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is collecting those examples and aggregating them to provide to our members of Congress. If you have any examples you would like to share, please send them to Andrew Griffin, senior policy analyst, at

Click here for more information on the census in Maryland, and make sure you are counted!

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