Blog post by Ashley Duckman
Ashley Duckman is the Vice President of Government Affairs at the Maryland Chamber. As the VP, she leads advocacy efforts on behalf of the 4,500+ members of the Maryland Chamber before the Maryland General Assembly and on the federal level. Duckman’s responsibilities include developing, leading, and executing the legislative strategy of the organization and maintaining positive working relationships with key elected officials and members of the Administration in order to build a better understanding of and appreciation for business issues.
The Maryland General Assembly will return to Annapolis in a few short weeks, and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is preparing to engage on each of the issues that will be significant to the business community during the 90-day session and beyond. In September, we unveiled our 2020 Legislative Priorities, and we are beginning to review bill drafts and pre-filed legislation impacting our membership.
Even though it hasn’t yet begun, the 2020 Legislative Session has already proven itself noteworthy just by virtue of the recent changes of leadership in the House and Senate. We are looking forward to engaging with House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Senate President-designee Bill Ferguson, and all the members of the General Assembly, as we work collaboratively toward policy solutions that make Maryland the best place to live and work.
Maryland’s 441st Legislative Session will begin on January 8, 2020. At the start of session, our bill tracking system will become available to Maryland Chamber members. Concise summaries of each bill will be provided along with the Maryland Chamber’s positions—support, oppose, hold or amend. We encourage our members to regularly review this section of our website for the most up-to-date legislative information, or contact our government affairs team to learn how to become more involved in our policy process if you are not already.
We value the expertise and participation of our members as we prepare our advocacy strategy for the 2020 session. Our internal process for vetting legislation ensures that all voices are heard. Maryland Chamber staff routinely reviews legislation to determine whether it will improve or degrade Maryland’s business climate and whether it affects a broad segment of the Maryland Chamber’s membership. If broad impact is found, issue-specific policy committees review and discuss the need for a Maryland Chamber position. If a policy committee believes the Maryland Chamber should adopt a position, it forwards its recommendation with supporting information to the Legislative Policy Committee. The Legislative Policy Committee, with input from the Maryland Chamber’s Government Affairs staff, is responsible for reviewing and discussing to determine the Maryalnd Chamber’s position, if any, to take before the General Assembly.
It is not a secret that perhaps the biggest issue before the General Assembly this session centers on the overhaul of our state’s education system. Featured prominently in that debate will be any number of plans related to how the state and local jurisdictions will fund the implementation of those proposals. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce supports adequate and reasonable funding for all our students and educators. In fact, Maryland businesses are leaders in advocating for education, especially education that results in Marylanders having high-skilled, high-wage jobs.
As education funding proposals are developed and unveiled, the Maryland Chamber urges policymakers and stakeholders to ensure a dedicated source of funding from which to implement education reform recommendations. We stand ready to work with all stakeholders to identify viable funding solutions that support a robust education system but do not unintentionally create barriers for the employer community, which has long-demonstrated its commitment to developing the next-generation workforce.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce looks forward to the upcoming session, which presents an opportunity for us to promote the positive steps being taken by job creators to make Maryland a better place to live and work.