November 5, 2019

Insight 2020: Leadership Changes and Key Issues

Our Insight 2020 blog series will provide you with updates and news regarding the Maryland General Assembly and the 2020 Legislative Session.

Each new legislative session is like the start of a new school year with legislators finding their seats in front of new leadership and a new agenda of issues to address. When the 2020 Maryland Legislative Session kicks off in January, however, it will feel like walking into a brand new school. Maryland has experienced unprecedented change in the past year and even more so in recent months with deaths, retirements, new appointments, and subsequent appointments – a real life game of musical chairs.

In January, not only will the House convene with a new Speaker in Delegate Adrienne Jones who succeeds House Speaker Busch who passed away at the end of the 2019 session, the Senate will now convene with its own new leader after the recent announcement by Senate President Mike Miller that he will be stepping down from that role and Senator Bill Ferguson will be his successor.

Additionally, 2020 will be the start of the second year of the second term for Governor Hogan, a large number of sophomore legislators will be eager to start their second year of work, while a number of freshman legislators will be anxious to represent their constituents. As noted in a previous article, committees will meet for the first time in many cases under new leadership that results from the new appointments of Delegate Jones and Senator Ferguson along with the new appointments by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski resulting in two vacancies in the House of Delegates as well as committee leadership.

In addition to leadership changes, the 2020 Maryland Legislative Session will address several key issues affecting Maryland residents and businesses:

  • Vaping – a growing number of deaths related to vaping will lead to potential legislation and regulation of the product
  • Renewable energy portfolio 2.0
  • Preakness – with a pending agreement between Baltimore City and the Stronach Group, owner of Pimlico, to keep the Preakness in Baltimore, legislators will consider proposals to ensure the Preakness remains in Maryland for generations to come
  • Kirwan Commission – funding the recommendations for the future of education for young Marylanders will be a top priority
  • Sports betting
  • 5G –regulations and development of a fifth generation network to meet increasing demands for future wireless applications

If any of these issues will affect your business, or you are aware of other pending legislation or policy changes that could impact your business, don’t delay in hiring a government affairs team. It can be very difficult to catch up and play defense when those who have introduced a bill have been working for a long time to lay the groundwork. A good firm, hired early enough, can monitor pending proposals and who is talking to legislators about a bill, or lay the groundwork for you to ensure that the bill has support in the House and the Senate as well as both sides of the aisle.

Be sure to follow our blog and our podcast in the coming weeks as we provide a deeper dive on each of these issues. For more information about how our team can help you achieve your government affairs goals for 2020, contact us or visit our web site.

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