ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland General Assembly reconvened Wednesday as an air of optimism filled the state house.
But Delegate Adrienne A. Jones of Baltimore County, who was re-elected as speaker pro tem and is the first Black women to ever hold the position, warned her colleagues to prepare for the 90-day session.
“This is going to be a rocking, rolling session,” she said inside the House Chamber. “So, stay tuned and get plenty of rest.”
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan offered a message of hope and togetherness to the delegates.
“The people of Maryland … sent all of us here for a reason to represent them and try to get things done,” he said. “Let’s try to spend the next 90 days talking to each other.”
But there could be some tension that lies ahead.
Hogan, who has seven Democratic challengers in the June primary vying for his seat, presented several pieces of legislation that some already aren’t pleased with.
After Wednesday’s session, he introduced a “compromised” paid sick-leave bill that would allow businesses to offer paid sick leave in increments: businesses with 50 or more employees this year, 40 or more employees in 2019 and 25 or more employees in 2020.
Many Democratic lawmakers already plan to override Hogan’s veto from last year on legislation that would require employers with 15 or more workers to receive paid leave for illness and family crises such as domestic violence.
On Tuesday, Hogan offered a proposal for state lawmakers to be in office for only two consecutive four-year terms.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination, called Hogan’s plan a “smokescreen.”
“In Prince George’s County, our school system needs more money,” Baker said. “We have buildings that are 40 or 50 years old, so we need a construction plan. Transportation is a big issue. What do we do with permanent funding for the Metro system? How do we get the Red Line going in Baltimore City? There are a lot of important issues he could be putting forth on.”
Delegate Carolyn J. B. Howard (D-District 24) of Mitchellville also disagreed with the terms-limits proposal.
“If the citizens would like to see you leave, there is a way to say goodbye. They will not vote for you,” said Howard, who plans to retire after this session. “I will have 30 years in the legislature. We are going to get together and be successful.”