MD Senate Updates Protocols: In-Person/Public Access Hearings Start Feb 14

Beginning February 14th, Maryland Senate standing committee hearings will be in-person and members of the public will have access to the seating in committee rooms.

On February 8, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson issued a memorandum detailing guidelines for the chamber’s return to in-person committee hearings based on current improvements in COVID-19 data.

Highlights of the guidelines include:

  • All members, staff, and public entering the Senate complex must wear a face mask.
  • All Senate members and staff who are on the Legislative Complex more than three days a week will still be required to submit to weekly testing.
  • All staff must report any positive COVID-19 test result or exposure to their supervisors and Human Resources.
  • All members and employees of the Maryland General Assembly, including those working remotely, are still required to be vaccinated or to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
  • The public will be allowed to access the gallery of the Senate Chamber with limited, socially-distanced seating.
  • Beginning on February 14, seating in the committee rooms will be open to the public but spaced to provide physical distance between seats.
  • Although the Senate office buildings will remain open to the public, members may not have more than four individuals who are not staff or members in the office at one time.
  • Committee dinners will be allowed at the discretion of the Chair of each committee or delegation and receptions will not be prohibited. All hosts of dinners or receptions are strongly encouraged to prioritize safety by limiting capacity at events and requiring masking throughout the duration of the event.
  • Due to the logistical challenge of appropriately streaming in-person and Zoom testimony simultaneously, the Senate will not be allowing hybrid testimony for bill hearings. In extraordinary circumstances, Chairs may, at their discretion, allow pre-recorded video testimony. Individuals may submit electronic written testimony if they cannot testify in person.

Read the full Senate memorandum with guidelines.

Stay tuned to The Conduit Street blog for updated testimony guidelines for each Senate committee.