Week 3

First things first. Please forgive my brief disappearance from tending to this site. Most of my recent activity has been over on the MSBA Legislative Twitter page: https://twitter.com/MdBarLegislate
Aside from the fact that I really didn’t have much to report in (full) Week 3 of the General Assembly session, I so hated the old look of this website that I could hardly bear to even look at it. That is why I am so happy to send my first MSBA Legislation shout out to Daniel Pixton of the MSBA Website Department for totally revamping the look of this Site! Daniel, thanks so much, my friend!
State of the State
I’ve often wondered why first-year Governors even give a State of the State address. Just the idea of it has always struck me as a no-win proposition. You can’t take the podium and take credit for anything great about the State, and you can’t go up and start blaming others, especially the General Assembly, for anything perceived as negative about life in Maryland.
Here’s the easy plan if you’re a Democratic incoming Governor, succeeding another Democrat: even if you weren’t close friends with the outgoing Governor, you praise the foundation he laid for the blueprint for Maryland that you have perfected since your election in November. Then you talk about how much you’re looking forward to developing a close partnership with the legislature to move Maryland forward. Then, you briefly describe the bills in your first legislative package, wave to the crowd, and get back to work.
Things are very different for a Republican Governor succeeding a Democrat (I’m sure that you’re all wondering about the last time that a Republican Maryland Governor was preceded by another Republican. The answer is never. The “National Republican Party” of the 1820s and 1830s doesn’t count. That was a different party.). If a Republican Governor strikes so much as a sour note, that first State of the State can turn into Amateur Night at the Apollo in a hurry.http://tinyurl.com/opy57z6  Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but the Democratic majority did not exactly give rave reviews of the speech. Let’s just say that many on the Democratic side of the aisle felt that much of the speech was a continuation of partisan campaign rhetoric that gave little credit to the General Assembly for any of the positive aspects of life in Maryland in 2015.

Hogan Executive Appointments

So, if you’re Democratic leadership, and feeling a little dissed by a rookie Governor’s first major speech, where might be your first chance to regain his attention? You might just send a message in a language that a former Appointments Secretary would understand – you delay a few of his Executive Appointments. And that they did. It wasn’t exactly chin music http://tinyurl.com/p66kr2x, but it got the point across. Ultimately, Governor Hogan’s appointments will be confirmed with little difficulty, but this is all part of the dance to the dissonant harmonies of divided government.

Bill Hearings
Maryland Judicial Conference Bills:
The MSBA supported the following bills in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:

SB 60 Clerks of the Circuit Courts – Collection of Appearance Fees
SB 61 Active Armed Forces Member – Exemption from Payment of Fees for Certain Court Records
SB 87 Criminal Procedure – Transfer to Juvenile Court – Petition for Expungement

Coming Next:
• Judicial Elections
• Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC)
• Committees Begin Voting Sessions