With the threat of COVID-19 looming, several state legislatures will halt or temporarily suspend their legislative sessions, including: Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Vermont. For many states, this is an unprecedented move while in others, the legislature has not adjourned early since the Civil War. Other state legislatures, like California’s and Nebraska’s, are grappling with the decision of whether to continue to meet as a legislative body to aid in the state’s response to the COVID-19 or adjourn temporarily to lessen the risk of virus spread. Some states, like Arkansas, have limited access to the state houses.
Amidst this legislative pause, several high-profile tax bills will be in limbo. In Maryland, the legislative session is set to adjourn, effective March 18, with plans to hold a special session at the end of May to pass any further legislation. The announcement came as legislative members in the Senate were actively considering several tax bills over the weekend – including a digital advertising tax, a digital goods and service tax, and combined reporting – to fund the state’s education initiatives. In Missouri, the legislature is suspending all legislative activities until March 30, leaving discussions of marketplace collection legislation pending in the meantime. Other state legislatures, including Maine’s and Georgia’s have decided to indefinitely end the session due to COVID-19 concerns. In adjourning early, lawmakers could let several tax bills die if the body does not reconvene in 2020.