Pre Legislative Session Write Up
The 445th Session of the Maryland General Assembly begins on January 11th, and Annapolis will look very different from just a year ago. Forty-seven new legislators will join the Senate and House, a 25% turnover in membership. Additionally, 4 of the 10 standing committees in the legislature will have new committee chairs. The Senate has also shuffled subject matter jurisdiction among the Senate Finance Committee and the newly christened Senate Education, Energy and the Environment Committee.
On issues more directly relevant to Maryland Works and the disability community, the House Health and Government Operations Committee has a new chair, Jocelyn Pena-Melnyk, and a new vice-chair, Ariana Kelly. Both are long-time members of the committee and have been very supportive of the disability community. Ken Kerr, a second-term delegate from Frederick County, has been named chair of that committee’s subcommittee on Government Operations Subcommittee, which oversees procurement law including the Employment Works Program.
In the Senate, procurement legislation shifted to the jurisdiction of the Budget and Taxation Committee last year. That committee is expected to be more active in the procurement area this term as it continues to become more familiar with the subject matter. Budget and Taxation’s Health Subcommittee will now be chaired by Cory McCray, who represents the 45th District in Baltimore City. That subcommittee deals with budget issues impacting the disability community.
In addition to the changes within the legislature, Marylanders elected a new governor, attorney general, and comptroller. Wes Moore will be inaugurated as Maryland’s next Governor on January 18th, and former state legislators Anthony Brown and Brooke Lierman, will assume the offices of attorney general and comptroller, respectively.
Issues expected to receive attention this Session include an acceleration of Maryland’s minimum wage increase, implementation of a legal market for the sale recreational cannabis, climate change measures, as well as issues broadly related to economic opportunity, social justice, and transportation. And despite recent State revenue projections being scaled back, the State is still expected to have a substantial budget surplus for the upcoming fiscal year. The 2023 Session will also mark the first year the legislature has constitutional authority to “rearrange” the governor’s proposed operating budget, a dramatic change to the state’s budget process. The legislature still cannot increase the total amount of the budget, but previously the legislature could only make reductions to the operating budget.
The 90-day Session ends on April 10th.
Source: Manis Canning & Associates