State Roundup, January 13, 2020

Medical marijuana brings in $10 million in tax revenues in FY2019; Southern Maryland officials plan to launch push to bring commuter rail to their communities; death with dignity bill could fall short again this year; tax proposed for online venues that host digital ads; legislature, workers have little confidence in handling of harassment, bias claims; two companies received a quarter of state tax abatements in 2019; with Baltimore City, Prince George’s concerned over Kirwan financial hit, lawmakers say they’ll study adjusting formula; federal lawmakers push to hold EPA accountable over Bay cleanup; dems seeking late Rep. Cummings’ seat hold forum; Prince George’s County Exec Alsobrooks slams law banning some fund-raising as biased; and is former Arundel County Exec Leopold running for AA school board?

Miller sparks bipartisan conversation about reducing crime in Baltimore

@BryanRenbaum
bryan@marylandreporter.com

On his first full day as a common legislator, Sen. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, emphasized the need to address violent crime in Baltimore City and in the process touched off a conversation that attracted bipartisan enthusiasm. “We’re sitting here while Rome is burning,” Miller said in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday. The governor has put forth this plan. I don’t know if it’s a good plan or not –assign 25 assistant attorney generals to the city or what have you – – but this is a problem we need to address. We really need to address it.

State Roundup, January 8, 2020

Comptroller Franchot tells crowd he’s running for governor in 2022; with the General Assembly session opening today, the Statehouse will see new House and Senate leaders: Speaker Adrienne Jones brings a quiet style to her post while incoming Senate President Bill Ferguson seeks stability during the transition; pay attention to the up and comers within the House and Senate; who are the six new members of the House and Senate?; as Gov. Hogan sets his top priorities as crime and corruption, he brushes off questions about his real estate business deals following Washington Monthly report; proposed I-270 monorail between Frederick and Montgomery counties gains traction; and with Amazon blooming in Arlington County, Va., the economic split between it and Montgomery County, Md., grows.

Opening day roundup: Miller begins 30th year as Senate president, veto overrides postponed

Amid a sea of Maryland state-flag neckties and toddlers in suits, legislators of the Maryland General Assembly were gaveled in for the first day of the 2016 session. Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch, both Democrats, were reinstated in their leadership positions. It is Miller’s 30th legislative session as president, the longest-serving presiding officer in any U.S. legislature. Miller, 73, is now also the longest-serving member of the Maryland General Assembly, first elected to the House of Delegates in 1970.

Rascovar: Hogan’s ‘deflategate’

Talk about an uneven fight! When it comes to shaping the Maryland state budget Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. is the pre-determined champion.

Think of the budget as a balloon. The governor decides how much air gets pumped into the balloon ($40 billion). Once this is done, the legislature can let out some of that air — but it can’t expand the size of the balloon at all.

Senate Budget and Taxation Committee

Senate president announces committee assignments

Senate President Mike Miller announced the full slate of committee assignments Tuesday, finding places for the 11 new senators and shifting several of the incumbents. The Democratic presiding officer determines the committee assignments for both Democrats and Republicans in the 47-member Senate.

State House complex at sunset by Thisisbossi at Wikimedia Commons

New governor is pro-business, new Democratic legislators ‘more anti-business,’ lobbyist says

While the new governor-elect is a pro-business Republican, the newly elected “Democrats coming in are more progressive and more anti-business” than those they are replacing, Comcast lobbyist Sean Looney told a Baltimore-Washington Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

That will present a challenge to Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch on “how to control their own constituency,” Looney said. “It’s frankly Mike Busch’s and Mike Miller’s headache.”