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Maryland General Assembly adjourns Sine Die

House_Sine_Die_2022
Joel McCord
/
The Maryland House of Delegates celebrates Sine Die 2022.

The Maryland General Assembly concluded its 444th session at midnight Monday.

During the 90 days, lawmakers passed legislation expanding abortion access, reducing Maryland’s carbon footprint, banning ghost guns, and creating a family and medical leave plan, all against a backdrop of an election year and a continuing pandemic.

During a press conference Monday, Senate President Bill Ferguson said this year’s session was, “At times tough.” But ultimately, he called it not just successful, but historic.

“It's the fourth year of a term. Normally, that's not a very productive time; everybody's focused on the election and what's going to happen,” Ferguson said, “We did work, and we worked with the administration, we worked with our friends in the house; bipartisan solutions were achieved.”

He said Maryland should be proud of the work of the Assembly, particularly considering the circumstances it was up against.

“When we came in, it was with Omicron; there was a great deal of uncertainty. Our number one goal was to provide certainty and invest in opportunity where we could and we did it.”

House Speaker Adrienne Jones agreed.

“I think that it was a success; we were able to deal with all realms of people who were in need.”

With a few hours until the looming adjournment, Sen. JB Jennings, a Republican who represents Baltimore and Harford counties, said he was frustrated by the treatment GOP-backed legislation received.

“Look, session’s 90 days. We have plenty of time to get stuff done. I mean, here it is 7:30 on Sine Die, we got plenty of time to pass bills, and work amendments,” Jennings said, “but people just don't want to give us the courtesy. And that's what's frustrating.”

Senate Republican Whip Justin Ready who represents Carroll County called the session a mixed bag. But he said lawmakers failed in some areas.

[We] really missed opportunities to address the lack of real consequences for violent crime in our state.”

But Ready commended the assembly's success on tax reform.

“We actually made real progress on tax relief for retirees and some of the areas of tax relief. We were responsible I think overall with a budget surplus and trying to do some key priorities, one-time money, preserve a balanced budget long term with a lot of savings,” he said.

Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat, said the session was extremely successful for the majority party.

“We've had an agenda from the very beginning. We want to have a progressive agenda on climate, on paid leave for working families, on reproductive rights, and we followed through on all of our commitments.”

Pinsky also said he was pleasantly surprised that Gov. Hogan let his climate bill pass without signature.

“Two weeks ago he said it was an irresponsible energy tax; two weeks later he supports our actions. So I don't know if the polling came up differently. I don't know what but I'm glad he allowed it to become law.” 

During the final general assembly press conference of his tenure, Gov. Hogan said despite many disagreements and having all his vetoes overridden, the session was an overall win.

“I mean, we had record funded schools again, for the eighth year in a row, we had a great budget,” he said. “You know, we didn't agree on everything. But I want to thank our colleagues in the legislature for the hard work they put in over the past 90 days.”

Hogan said just because the session is over, he doesn’t consider the work to be done.

I got nine months left to go, I'm gonna be the best governor I can be, I'm gonna finish the things we haven't gotten done yet.”

Beyond that, though, he is remaining tight-lipped about his plans.

“There's plenty of time,” he said “I'm sure I'll find something to do after that. But I'll let you know when I decide.”