The opening of the 2022 session will be marked by key changes in several standing committees in the House of Delegates.
The moves come as Alexandra Hughes, the first Black woman to serve as chief of staff both under House Speakers Michael Busch and Adrienne Jones, leaves to form her own Annapolis consulting firm.
Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat and the first Black woman to serve as a presiding officer in the Maryland General Assembly, appears to be consolidating her power. The moves also signal a growth in the influence of the Legislative Black Caucus which makes up a significant portion of the Democrats within the chamber.
The House Economic Matters Committee will see some of the biggest changes. Dels. Dereck Davis and Kathleen Dumais, vacated their positions before the 2022 session.
Davis, a seven-term Prince George’s County Democrat who chaired the committee for 18 years, was sworn in last month as the new state treasurer. Davis, 54, becomes the second Black treasurer and first from Prince George’s County.
Davis was one of two primary contenders to succeed Speaker Michael Busch, who died in 2019. Davis’ alignment with Republicans and his cautious attitude when enacting reforms desired by progressives sometimes irked those in the left of his party.
Davis replaces Nancy Kopp, a Montgomery County Democrat who held the position since 2002.
Dumais, 63, was elected to five terms in the House and served as vice chair of both the Judiciary and Economic Matters Committee. She vacated her seat in November after being appointed a Circuit Court judge in Montgomery County.
Stepping in to lead the committee is Del. C.T. Wilson, 49, and a Charles County Democrat. Wilson, an attorney and former Army veteran and prosecutor, is completing his third term in the House.
Del. Brian Crosby, 39, D-St. Mary’s, will take over as Wilson’s vice chair. Crosby, an attorney who served four years in the Army and was awarded a Bronze Star while serving in Afghanistan, is finishing his first term in the House.
The House Judiciary Committee leadership also changes.
Del. David Moon, D-Montgomery County, moves up to vice chair of the committee. Moon, who turns 43 later this month, is a progressive Democrat who spent much of his two terms in the House working on, among other issues, reforming the state’s marijuana laws.
Moon’s promotion to vice chair comes as Speaker Jones has signaled her desire to usher a referendum on legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis through the legislature this year.
Moon fills the spot left open by the appointment of Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, D-Howard, to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Atterbeary, 46, is an attorney who has spent her two terms on the Judiciary Committee working on police reform, gun laws and on the Marijuana Legalization Workgroup in 2019.
Her new committee will play a key role in establishing a taxing structure for legalized recreational marijuana.
Atterbeary replaced Del. Anne Kaiser, D-Montgomery County, a five-term lawmaker.
Kaiser announced she would step away from the Ways and Means Committee after five years to lead the Public Policy Institute, which she will create at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy where she has been an adjunct professor since 2013.
The 2021 session will also be the swan song for two long-time committee chairs.
Dels. Maggie McIntosh and Shane Pendergrass announced in November that they would not seek re-election in 2022. The retirements will leave Jones with two more plumb assignments to hand out in the new term.
McIntosh, 73, has served three decades in the House of Delegates including two terms as leader of the Appropriations Committee. During her time in the House, McIntosh gained a reputation for her fierce support of Baltimore and a shrewd budget tactician.
She was the first woman to become House majority leader and the first openly LGBTQ member of the legislature.
McIntosh was also a top contender to succeed Busch, vying against Davis. The two split the Democratic caucus and Davis appeared to have an edge as Republicans threw their support behind him.
But Other Democrats who were uninterested in allowing the minority party to have a say in electing the presiding officer rallied behind Jones, who became the consensus candidate.
Pendergrass, 71, and a Howard County Democrat, is completing her seventh term in the House and her fifth year as chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee.
Pendergrass was a progressive Democrat before that wing of the party gained a larger toehold in the House. During her time in the House she repeatedly, to no avail, championed physician-assisted suicide legislation. The bill passed in the House in 2019 but died in the Senate by one vote.
2022 Maryland General Assembly Committee leadership
House Standing Committees
|Appropriations||Maggie McIntosh||Mark S. Chang|
|Economic Matters||C.T. Wilson||Brian M. Crosby|
|Environment and Transportation||Kumar P. Barve||Dana Stein|
|Health and Government Operations||Shane E. Pendergrass||Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk|
|Rules and Executive Nominations||Anne Healey||Marvin E. Holmes Jr.|
|Judiciary||Luke Clippinger||David Moon|
|Ways and Means||Vanessa E. Atterbeary||Alonzo T. Washington|
Senate Standing Committees
|Budget and Taxation||Guy Guzzone||Jim Rosapepe|
|Education, Health and Environmental Affairs||Paul G. Pinsky||Cheryl C. Kagan|
|Executive Nominations||Ronald N. Young||Pamela Beidle|
|Finance||Delores G. Kelley||Brian J. Feldman|
|Judicial Proceedings||William C. Smith Jr.||Jeff Waldsteicher|
|Rules||Joanne C. Benson||Shelly Hettleman|
|This article is featured in The Daily Record's Eye on Annapolis Summit magazine that was inserted with the Wednesday, January 12, 2002 issue of The Daily Record.