In the third full week of Maryland’s 2016 legislative session, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will deliver his State of the State address and Democratic legislative leaders will lay out their economic priorities.
It’s also the last week for state Senators to introduce bills, though there’s ways to get around that deadline. Here’s what to watch for:
¶ The state Senate begins taking up Hogan’s nominees for various commissions and judicial positions. The legislative body has largely green-lighted Hogan’s choices, but Senate Democrats last year delayed action on five Cabinet members and ultimately blocked his preferred secretary of higher education.
¶ Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) announce their economic legislative priorities at a 4 p.m. news conference. Addressing gender disparities in pay will be a priority.
¶ Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh (D-Baltimore City) and Del. Luke H. Clippinger (D-Baltimore) hold a noon press conference on their renewed push to expand sick leave benefits to workers after several failed attempts. They touted the same bill at a women’s economic security conference last week, but it’s worth watching to see if they scale back their proposal or announce new support.
¶ Hogan delivers his second State of the State address. His maiden address last year criticized Democrats for “high taxes, over-regulation and an anti-business attitude,” enraging lawmakers and bringing about partisan feuding. Will he take a more conciliatory approach this year?
¶ A high-profile dispute between Miller and Hogan comes before a Senate committee with a bill to force Hogan to commit $15 million to Prince George’s Hospital Center. Miller is trying to mandate the spending, while Hogan tries to pursue mandate relief.
What you may have missed last week:
SNOWZILLA: Surely you didn’t miss the record snowstorm, but Hogan on Friday ended the state of emergency in response to it. His administration is seeking federal reimbursement for the recovery, but hasn’t said how much the clean-up will cost.
HOGAN BILLS: The governor announced plans to pursue a constitutional amendment to require a nonpartisan panel draw Congressional districts, strengthen opioid laws and expand tax credits to businesses that donate to schools. He also released bill language to curb spending mandated by the legislature, with an exemption for education.
SCHOLARSHIPS: Hogan signed an executive order allowing the state to award $6,000 scholarships to high schoolers who graduate early and attend college in Maryland.
COOL FOR THE SUMMER: The Board of Public Works lifted a ban on state funding window air-conditioning units in schools.
EYES ON THE HILL: Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) is challenging Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D). That makes him the 9th state lawmaker seeking to jump from Annapolis to Congress.