SHOW OF UNITY: Larry Hogan and Anthony Brown had few kind words for each other as they vied last year to become Maryland’s next governor, report Tim Wheeler and Michael Dresser for the Sun. But on Wednesday, the Republican governor-elect and the vanquished Democratic lieutenant governor stood side by side in the State House to greet lawmakers on the opening day of Maryland’s 90-day legislative session. The joint appearance reflected the mood of a day marked by ceremony, civility and optimism as the General Assembly welcomed its largest freshman class of senators and delegates in 20 years.
- Hogan said he was eager to fix the state’s problems with help from “both sides of the aisle.” Senate President Mike Miller declared his chamber “a place of camaraderie.” U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski offered this snappy motto: “Partnership, not partisanship.” And outgoing Brown escorted the governor-elect around the State House in a show of unity, Jenna Johnson and Ovetta Wiggins report in the Post.
- “I believe we can roll up our sleeves, work together, put aside partisanship and party politics and work together for the people of Maryland who elected all of us,” Hogan said in a brief speech to the House of Delegates, according to a report in the Frederick News Post. Del. Bill Folden said he left the inauguration optimistic that lawmakers can pull together to tackle issues confronting Maryland.
- If only every day of the 90-day General Assembly session could be like opening day, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Maryland’s 188 legislators, including nearly five dozen newly elected members, came to the State House amid promises of bipartisanship from Democratic leaders and Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan.
- The editorial board for the Sun opined that while the bipartisanship and unity might have been all for show, it certainly didn’t seem that way. And there is no reason to assume that Republicans and Democrats can’t work together to get things done.
- MarylandReporter.com has more photos from opening day.
CENTRIST REPUBLICANS: Del. Warren Miller, a Republican from Howard County, speaks with Center Maryland on the gains that the GOP made in districts that had been previously represented by moderate Democrats and the number of centrist Republicans that have been elected. He also examines party shifts at the local government level.
CARROLL DELEGATION: Wiley Hayes of the Carroll County Times writes that of the 11 members of Carroll County’s delegation sworn in Wednesday, six were returning to the capital to resume their duties, while five were new to their positions.
WA CO DELEGATION: All six members of the Washington County delegation — Sens. George Edwards and Chris Shank and Dels. Mike McKay, Neil Parrott, Andrew Serafini and Brett Wilson — were sworn in for four-year terms, along with lawmakers from across the state in the House and Senate. Kaustuv Basu of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that Shank has less than a week as a state senator before he takes over as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. A new senator will be appointed to take his place.
FROSH DROPS BY: He’s no longer a senator, but Attorney General Brian Frosh stopped by his old State House stomping grounds Wednesday on the first day of the 2015 General Assembly session, writes Steve Lash for the Daily Record. “I’m just a spectator,” Frosh said after emerging from a morning meeting with Sen. Jamie Raskin, a former colleague on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which Frosh chaired.
BUSCH ON THE GOVERNORS: Mike Busch, speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, is looking forward to working with his third governor and reflects on the first two, Bob Ehrlich and Martin O’Malley. As Busch put it without the smallest bit of irony, he “clashed” with Ehrlich. Both were brand new to their positions and Busch acknowledges that both made mistakes. Busch survived and learned from his and now is starting his fourth term as Speaker. Ehrlich didn’t do nearly as well, writes Laslo Boyd for Center Maryland.
HOGAN CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY: In filling the three legislative vacancies he has created in building his new administration, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan said he’d like to see a more open nominating process used by the Republican central committees and more candidate names for him to fill the seats. This after he was sent one name each from the Carroll and Frederick County central committees, which he said won’t tie his hands to their choices, according to Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com.
- Some Carroll County Republicans are livid over the county GOP central committee’s nomination of former commissioner Robin Frazier to fill the seat being vacated by state Sen. Joseph Getty. The editorial board of the Sun opines that though the circumstances of this case are unusual, they echo an outcry that comes up almost every time an elected official resigns and the political powers-that-be get to pick the replacement instead of the voters.
NOT SO UNFAIR ON TAXES: Maryland ranked as the 38th least “unfair” state in the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s semi-annual taxation report, published on Wednesday. This means Maryland’s tax policies are considered more fair than three-quarters of the states, writes Rebecca Lessner for MarylandReporter.com.
NO FACE-TIME WITH HOGAN: Two of the largest state employee unions say they’ve yet to get face time with Gov.-elect Larry Hogan or his top officials as the he draws up a budget likely to include big cuts. Christopher Connelly of WYPR-FM writes that the incoming Republican governor will have to propose a budget two days after he’s sworn in next Wednesday, and he’s promised a drastic change from business as usual.
CITY FIRM ON RED LINE: If the proposed 14.1 mile Red Line light rail connecting East Baltimore City and western Baltimore County isn’t approved there is no backup plan to address the city’s mass transit needs, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. Adam Bednar of the Daily Record writes that Rawlings-Blake said the city isn’t looking at alternatives, such as rapid bus transit, to replace the proposed $2.9 billion project if it’s nixed. She said the focus has to be on building the controversial light rail line because the state and federal money available for the line cannot be used for other transit projects.
STATE WEIGHS IN ON APPEAL: The State of Maryland has recommended that a judge deny Adnan Syed’s latest request for an appeal, saying that the subject of the popular “Serial” podcast cannot claim that he should have been offered a plea deal when he so strongly maintains his innocence. Justin George of the Sun reports that the state Attorney General’s Office filed a response in court Wednesday to Syed’s argument that he received ineffective counsel when he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2000 in the death of his ex-girlfriend and Woodlawn High School classmate Hae Min Lee.
O’MALLEY PENS MANUSCRIPT: Gov. Martin O’Malley completed what he called “a manuscript” about his years in Baltimore City and hopes to turn it into a book, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. “I’m looking for a publisher,” O’Malley said Wednesday, pausing before adding with a smile: “And a good editor.”
O’MALLEY JOINS SPEAKING CIRCUIT: Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to join the paid speaking circuit shortly after leaving office next week, making appearances at business conventions and other gatherings across the country, writes John Wagner for the Post.