In this election year, many eyes will be on the General Assembly that convened yesterday. Many will be watching how the new House Republican leadership will perform, as this is the first session in which Minority Leader Kipke (R-Anne Arundel) will lead. Kipke and Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) will have these next 89 days to not only position their caucus, but to improve the standing of Republicans.
One thing that all Maryland business owners (and most residents) will be watching is the potential of MD raising the minimum wage, as both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties have raised theirs to $11.50 per hour (by 2017). O’Malley’s top priority early in the session is raising the minimum wage state wide.
O’Malley has also promised an emergency bill to provide an alternate means of insurance for those who have been unable to navigate the state’s online exchange prior to January 1st. This could pass quickly, however the debate could end up being about everything that has gone wrong since the rollout. If that happens, it could reflect negatively on gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.
Will they legalize marijuana in MD this year? Governor O’Malley says he will not assist anyone supporting the legalization of marijuana during the 90 day session.
O’Malley has until January 15th to introduce his budget bill, and we can expect to see it include about $4 million to launch a pre-k expansion.
The Senate will introduce bills by January 21st, while the House will introduce bills by February 7th.
Don Dwyer, who is still serving his jail sentence on weekends for drunken boating, has been removed from the House Ways and Means Committee, and House Speaker Michael Busch has said that Dwyer’s actions reflect poorly on the House.
We will keep track of bills introduced that will affect residents of Anne Arundel County—expect to see more about the General Assembly from us here at AACBNE!