Daily coronavirus update: March 26, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for March 26, 2020.
Federal responses
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House would move to approve the third coronavirus relief package on Friday. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation by a 96-0 vote on Wednesday night. The legislation includes $1,200 in direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  • Fourteen states and one territory changed state-level primary or general election dates. Six states changed municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  • Five states adjusted their candidate filing procedures.
  • Eleven states implemented changes to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in nine states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  • The Indiana Election Commission authorized the temporary suspension of the state’s statutory absentee voting eligibility requirements, allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the June 2 primary election.
  • On Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers unanimously approved legislation extending mail-in voting in the state’s primary election to April 28 and canceling in-person voting entirely. The governor indicated he intends to sign the bill into law. Ohio’s primary was originally scheduled for March 17.
  • Also on Wednesday, Pennsylvania lawmakers unanimously approved a bill postponing the state’s primary election, originally scheduled for April 28, to June 2. The governor said he intends to sign the bill.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  • Ballotpedia tracked 10 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
Details:
  • Oregon – Henry Wessinger, who filed an initiative petition on behalf of State of Safety Action, announced that the campaign would not circulate its initiative petition targeting the 2020 ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative would have provided regulations regarding firearms and firearm storage.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  • To date, 253 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Twenty-nine significant bills have been enacted into law, about 11 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. For a complete list of enacted legislation, see here.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  • Twenty-three state legislatures suspended their sessions.
  • Two states (Maine and Maryland) adjourned early.
  • Four states implemented partial suspensions.
Details:
  • The Connecticut State Legislature extended its suspension, originally set to expire at the end of this month, to April 13.
  • The Minnesota State Legislature reconvened its session on March 26. The session was previously suspended through April 14.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  • Thirty-three states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
  • One state had no change to their court schedule.
Details:
  • The Maryland Court of Appeals extended its previous March 13 order restricting in-person proceedings and jury trials through May 1.
  • The Tennessee Supreme Court extended its original March 14 order through April 30. They further ordered local presiding judges to develop a written plan to address issues regarding the incarceration of nonviolent offenders to reduce the jail population by March 30.
  • The Vermont Supreme Court extended restrictions for public access to court proceedings.
State shutdowns
Overview to date:
  • So far, 22 of the 50 states issued statewide shutdown orders. Six of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 16 announced end dates.
Details:
  • Colorado – Gov. Jared Polis (D) issued a stay-at-home order, effective from March 26 to April 11. This does not affect the statewide school closure, which lasts through April 17.
  • Minnesota – Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued a stay-at-home order, effective from March 27 to April 10. The statewide school closure, initially scheduled to end March 27, was extended.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued a stay-at-home order, effective from March 27 to May 4. The statewide school closure, initially scheduled to end April 3, was extended.
School closures
Overview to date
  • 46 of 50 states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 46 states served 48.7 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 96.2% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
Details:
  • Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 31, was extended through April 24.
  • Massachusetts – Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 6, was extended through May 4.
  • Minnesota – Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 27, was extended through May 1.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued a stay-at-home order, extending the statewide school closure through May 1. Prior to the order, schools were scheduled to reopen on April 6.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Education announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. It became the third state to close schools for the rest of the year.
  • West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that all schools would remain closed through April 20. The school closure was initially announced to be indefinite.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
Federal officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)
  • Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
  • Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)
State officials who tested positive for coronavirus
  • State Rep. Michael Day (D-MA)
  • State Rep. Clinton Calabrese (D-NJ)
  • State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-GA)
State officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • State Sen. William Ligon (R-GA)
  • State Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-GA)
  • State Sen. Frank Ginn (R-GA)
  • State Sen. Carden Summers (R-GA)
Local officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn (D-CA)



About the author

Kelly Caldwell

Kelly Caldwell is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at kelly.caldwell@ballotpedia.org.

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