CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has topped 41,000 and the number of deaths has risen to 573, according to figures released by John Hopkins University. The U.S. now has the third-most number of cases among nations throughout the world, trailing only China (81,400) and Italy (59,100). New York City has reported 98 deaths. King County in Washington state has 75. Thirty-four others have been recorded elsewhere in New York state.
SENATE BLOCKS SECOND STIMULUS PACKAGE… The Senate yesterday blocked a second procedural vote to advance a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Democratic senators are demanding that legislation prioritize workers over companies. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland yesterday and afterward, both sides expressed confidence that legislation will be passed soon. Democrats say the legislation doesn’t protect workers from layoffs and object to a provision that allows Mnuchin to conceal which companies receive federal funds for up to six months. Democrats also complain that Republicans are adding unrelated measures to the legislation, including an extension of an abstinence education program set to expire in May. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of obstructing the bill. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will unveil their own economic stimulus legislation.
COLORADO BANS DEATH PENALTY… Colorado Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation to abolish the death penalty. In addition to signing the bill, he commuted the death sentences of three death row inmates who will now serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. Polis’ signature comes after Colorado’s House of Representatives voted 19-13 on January 31 to repeal the state’s death penalty law. The legislation bans the death penalty as a punishment for any crime committed after July 1, 2020.
FLORIDA GOVERNOR SETS TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS… Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order requiring anyone flying into the state from New York, New Jersey, Washington, or California to undergo a “mandatory 14-day self-isolation” period in response to the coronavirus. During a press conference yesterday, DeSantis said there were currently over “190 direct flights from the New York City area” to Florida, and he believed there was at least one positive case per flight. The governor vowed, however, that he will not issue a stay-at-home order and called such a plan “unsustainable.”
CALIFORNIA UTILITY TO PLEAD GUILTY… California’s utility company has agreed to plead guilty to dozens of counts of involuntary manslaughter for its role in the deadliest wildfire in state history. A Pacific Gas & Electric transmission line sparked the Camp Fire in November 2018, which ultimately led to the deaths of 84 people. The utility plans to plead guilty to all 84 counts of manslaughter as part of a plea agreement with the Butte County district attorney. The company also agreed to pay a maximum $3.5 million fine, in addition to $500,000 to the Butte County District Attorney Environmental and Consumer Protection Trust Fund to cover costs related to the fire investigation. PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year and set up a trust fund to compensate victims of fires started by company equipment.
WOODY ALLEN TO RELEASE MEMOIR… Woody Allen’s memoir has a new release date after it was dropped by its original publisher amid widespread criticism. “Apropos of Nothing” will be released April 7 by Arcade Publishing, according to Grand Central Publishing. Outrage at the book’s release centered on Allen’s alleged abuse of step-daughter Dylan Farrow.
METALLICA POSTPONES SHOWS… The rock band Metallica is postponing its upcoming shows in South America and says three of the five festivals it was set to play this year have been canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. South American dates of the band’s six-city tour were to begin on April 15 but have been rescheduled for December. The rescheduled tour will retain Greta Van Fleet as the opening act.
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Baltimore Ravens re-signed cornerback Jimmy Smith to a one-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers have traded quarterback Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins for a late-round draft pick. The Panthers also made quarterback P.J. Walker the first XFL player to join an NFL team.
The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with free-agent linebacker Barkevious Mingo on a one-year deal.
Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick announced his retirement at age 29.
The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to terms with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu from the XFL.
The New England Patriots have released kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who was with the team for 14 seasons.
The New Orleans Saints signed defensive back Deatrick Nichols.
The New York Giants have signed running back Dion Lewis to a one-year deal. The Giants agreed to terms with wide receiver Corey Coleman on a one-year deal.
The New York Jets have brought back outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins by signing him to a one-year contract.
The Seattle Seahawks have acquired cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Washington Redskins in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
The Washington Redskins have released starting free safety Montae Nicholson.