The 444th session of the Maryland General Assembly gaveled in at noon on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
In an election year, controversial issues are unlikely to gain traction. Major topics will include the state’s response to COVID-19, the budget surplus and federal infrastructure funding, climate change mitigation, redistricting, and crime.
This is the third session that has been affected in some way by COVID-19. Balancing the pervasiveness of Omicron with the success of vaccinations, Leadership relaxed some COVID protocols. In-person legislator meetings will be permitted on a case-by-case basis, but testimony, hearings, and committee meetings will once again be exclusively virtual. The Senate may re-evaluate its protocols in February, but the House will maintain these rules for the duration of session.
These decisions were made more complicated by the election cycle and the retirement or terming-out of several top offices. The governor is termed out, and the Comptroller, Attorney General, and former Treasurer announced their retirements. Many Committees have seen significant changes as well: Economic Matters Chair Dereck E. Davis was elected state treasurer and was replaced by Del. C.T. Wilson. Del. Vanessa Atterbeary replaced Anne R. Kaiser as Chair of Ways and Means. Appropriations Chair Del. Maggie McIntosh, Health & Government Operations Chair Shane E. Pendergrass, and Finance Chair Delores Kelley announced they will not be seeking reelection.