Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan plans to deliver his State of the State speech by video on Wednesday night because of precautions being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Typically, governors give the annual address to a joint session of the General Assembly, with delegates, senators and dignitaries crammed into the House of Delegates chamber at the State House in Annapolis.
But with lawmakers doing much of their work remotely and large gatherings discouraged due to the pandemic, this year’s speech will look different.
Hogan, a Republican, will deliver the speech live but “virtually,” without an in-person audience at the governor’s reception room in the State House. It will be streamed on the governor’s social media channels and shown on Maryland Public Television. It will also be made available for television stations and other news organizations to carry.
The Baltimore Sun will livestream the speech at baltimoresun.com.
The timing of the speech is changing, too: Instead of the typical midday speech, Hogan is electing to give his remarks at 7 p.m., “to reach more Marylanders,” according to the governor’s office.
“While we honor the historic and constitutional significance of this annual tradition, it is important we follow the proper health protocols,” Hogan said in a statement Monday. “This address provides a chance to reflect on the unprecedented challenges we have confronted together over the last year, and the opportunities for recovery that lie ahead.”
The Maryland constitution requires only that a governor “shall, from time to time, inform the Legislature of the condition of the State and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may judge necessary and expedient.”
The State of the State gives governors the opportunity to discuss state issues broadly, as well as a chance to champion their initiatives.
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Senators last week tacked on more than $500 million worth of funding for various grants and programs, in addition to the governor’s proposal of direct payments to low-income Marylanders, a tax break on unemployment benefits, and tax relief for businesses. The additions were proposed by Democratic leaders, but have gained bipartisan support.
The House has yet to act on a version of the RELIEF Act pending in that chamber. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the House.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan delivered his sixth State of the State address to a joint session of the Maryland General Assembly at the State House on Feb. 5, 2020.