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Senators Now Have D.C.-Style Studio for Days They Meet the Press

The Maryland Senate spent nearly $200,000 to construct a flag-draped platform for members of the chamber to conduct television interviews, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore) announced on Thursday. The money was used to install television lights, monitors, an audio system, a Capitol Hill-style lectern, American and Maryland flags, plush candy apple red carpeting, and a raised platform. Ferguson used the set-up for the first time on Wednesday, the first day of the legislature’s 90-day session.

Maryland lawmakers return to work with coronavirus on their minds

Maryland’s state lawmakers returned Wednesday to Annapolis for their annual legislative session, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to weigh on their minds and alter their procedures. Over the course of 90 days, they’ll wrestle with issues ranging from legalizing marijuana and addressing violent crime to spending a rare multibillion dollar budget surplus and setting the state on a path to combat climate change.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Assembly’s COVID-19 Protocols Restore Public Access to Legislative Complex, Limit Streaming

In spite of soaring COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, the General Assembly’s pandemic safety protocols are shaping up to be much different — and more publicly accessible in some ways — than what occurred during the 2021 session. The public will be allowed in the State House and House and Senate office buildings, and lawmakers will be able to welcome visitors to their offices on a limited basis. But hearings will still be held virtually — for at least a month in the Senate, and possibly for the entire three-month session in the House.

Omicron Scrambles Lawmakers’ Pre-Session Fundraisers

For Maryland lawmakers, there’s always a fundraising scramble in early January leading up to the start of the General Assembly session, when a 90-day blackout on raising money kicks in for state legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller. According to lists of political events supplied by three Annapolis lobbying firms, at least 55 fundraisers for state lawmakers are on tap between Monday and the evening of Jan. 11, hours before the annual legislative session begins on Jan. 12. That’s pretty standard for this time of year.

Hoyer Endorses Mizeur In 1st District Race

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D) endorsed Democratic former state delegate Heather R. Mizeur’s 1st District congressional bid Wednesday, and said in a statement that she would be a “major asset” to the state’s congressional delegation if elected. “During her time in Annapolis, Heather was known as a bold leader who worked tirelessly to tackle our state’s toughest challenges through bringing people together and building consensus,” Hoyer said in a Wednesday statement. “I know Heather’s values, I know her record, and I trust that her first priority in Congress will always be the people of her district.”

Bread and Roses Party Marches Into the Sunset; Founder Runs for Governor as a Dem

The Bread and Roses Party, a socialist party that was officially recognized by the State of Maryland for the 2020 election cycle, has disbanded. The party founder, Jerome M. Segal, an author, college lecturer and activist, says he plans to run for governor as a Democrat in 2022. Segal set the wheels in motion to create the Bread and Roses Party in 2018, after unsuccessfully challenging U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in the Democratic primary.

Close up view of system hacking
“We Know Nothing”: Lawmakers to Probe Attack That Took Down Agency’s Computers

Two legislative committees that oversee the Maryland Department of Health plan to grill top state officials about an attack that disabled the agency’s computers, top lawmakers said on Tuesday. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) has revealed little about the Dec. 4 attack, which has significantly hampered the agency’s operations. Health department employees initially were told to stay off their computers as a precaution. Although some systems have come back online, the agency has not posted COVID-19 case rates, testing or mortality data since Dec. 3.

Early Poll Shows Brown With 2-1 Edge Over O’Malley in AG Primary

U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown held a 2-1 lead over retired judge Catherine Curran O’Malley in a hypothetical Democratic primary for state attorney general, a poll taken last month for Brown’s campaign showed.  In the poll’s initial question, which tested a two-way primary between Brown and O’Malley, the congressman was the choice of 46% of likely Democratic voters compared to 23% who named O’Malley. Twenty-seven percent of poll respondents said they were undecided.

Legislature Prepares to Override Hogan’s Vetoes During Special Session

As the General Assembly prepares to battle Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) over redistricting during the special session that begins Monday, some issues from earlier this year will resurface when legislators consider whether to override vetoes of more than 20 bills passed last spring. At a news conference last week, Hogan said he’s met with Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and they discussed the legislature’s intention to override several bills.

Redistricting battle over Maryland congressional map to headline December special session

When Maryland lawmakers gavel in for a special legislative session beginning Monday, a partisan battle over redrawing the state’s congressional maps will be front and center. Democrats hold nearly all the cards, with large enough majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly to brush aside Republican complaints and override a threatened veto by Gov. Larry Hogan, who has vowed to reject any map he deems “unfair.”

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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