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Who to watch in the 2016 Md. legislative session

Daily Record Staff//January 13, 2016

Who to watch in the 2016 Md. legislative session

By Daily Record Staff

//January 13, 2016

The Daily Record’s reporters and editors have compiled a list of lawmakers and others who are expected to do big things during the 2016 session of the Maryland General Assembly. These – in no particular order – truly are the ones to watch this year.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has a whirlwind first year in office. He had a difficult 2015 legislative session that saw him go up against the majority Democratic legislature. He played a prominent role in the summer’s unrest in Baltimore at a time when the city’s mayor was seen as being weak. Then, over the summer, Hogan faced a personal crisis after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and three surgeries before announcing recently that he was cancer free.

For all of the challenges Hogan has faced, he also has found himself riding high in a November poll that showed he has 63 percent job approval – making him the state’s most popular politician.

However, the second year of a term almost always proves to the busiest, and Hogan will certainly find himself making headlines in 2016.

State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. 

Is there a second act for the Montgomery County senator who has set himself up as a bulwark against Gov. Larry Hogan?

Madaleno was critical of Hogan in 2015 over education funding for his county and more, and a letter he wrote to Hogan in the spring regarding a controversial Indiana religious freedom law sparked controversy when Madaleno mentioned the first lady’s previous divorce.

And will campaign finance reports in late January hint at a potential future office runs?

In 2015, Madaleno said he was considering a run Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Van Hollen is running to fill U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)’s seat when she retires from the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger

He’s well-respected in Annapolis among lawmakers, and he is likely to be busy when it comes to criminal justice re-investment, sentencing reform and marijuana paraphernalia issues.

Del. Dereck Davis

The well-known friend to health care, insurance and banking industries is running for a seat in the U.S. Congress in a predominantly black and liberal district in an April 25 primary. Davis is running to represent the 4th District – a seat currently held by Rep. Donna Edwards. The district is based in Prince George’s County but extends north into Anne Arundel County.

Steve Schuh

After some early missteps, including an attempt to ban medical marijuana in his county and what some see as harshly worded emails to high-school students advocating for higher teacher salaries, Steve Schuh, county executive of Anne Arundel County, will look to get on more certain footing and potentially be a key ally for Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016 and beyond.

Montgomery County Delegation

Members of the Montgomery County delegation in Annapolis are key figures in the battle to eliminate that county’s hold on government run liquor distribution and sales and will be the focus of a powerful and feared union that opposes such efforts.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch

Rumored to retire or run for governor, Michael E. Busch (D) will have to face meeting the needs of a progressive wing of his caucus that has a year of experience under its belt. His moves will likely be the subject of tea leave reading from here on out.

Del. Maggie McIntosh

Del. Maggie McIntosh (D) proved herself more than capable of handling the budget in her first year as chair of the House Appropriations committee. Moving forward, McIntosh could play a key role in transportation issues as well as rounding up support for initiatives that will help Baltimore City.

Sen. Bobby Zirkin

In his second year as chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, state Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D) will shepherd a wide variety of key issues including drug paraphernalia laws, sentencing guidelines and potentially major changes to the state’s criminal justice system that are meant to lower incarceration and recidivism and save the state money.

State Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn

Transportation will be on a lot of legislators minds as they look at a projected $1 billion shortfall over six years as projected by legislative budget analysts. There’s also concerns over how the Redline was nixed and possible legislation requiring more transparency and public input regarding such decisions. All of these issues and more will place Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn in the spotlight this year.








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