A lot can change in a year! If you haven’t been following the news for the last three months, much has changed since the last time the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) convened. On January 21, we will have a new Governor, Lawrence “Larry” Hogan. Governor-elect Hogan ran his campaign on growing jobs and making Maryland more business friendly. He will be the second Republican Governor Maryland has had in the last four decades.
Governor-elect Hogan is not the only new person in Annapolis, over a third of the MGA are new to their roles as legislators, with 58 new Delegates and 11 new Senators. Due to these new additions, there are three new Chairs to the MGA’s standing committees – Senator Bobby Zirkin will chair the Judicial Proceeding Committee, replacing former Senator Brian Frosh who has been sworn in as the new Attorney General of Maryland; Delegate Maggie McIntosh who will chair the Appropriations Committee, replacing Delegate Norm Conway who was defeated in November; and Delegate Kumar Barve who will chair the new Environment and Transportation Committee, replacing Delegate McIntosh. The partisan make-up of the Senate and House have changed slightly as well, with the Republicans gaining eight seats in the House and two seats in the Senate making the new party ratio 91 Democrats and 50 Republicans in the House of Delegates and 33 Democrats and 14 Republicans in the Senate.
Once again Maryland is facing major budget deficits in FY 2015 and FY 2016. With totals nearing $1.2 billion, the budget is poised to dominate this session as the new Administration and the Legislature grapple with spending reductions in key areas.