On March 5, the Class of 2020 traveled to Annapolis for Maryland State Government Day to develop a broader understanding of how the state legislature functions, while gaining exposure to the role and impact of lobbyists. The class observed House and Senate sessions in the morning, as well as various committee meetings in the afternoon.
The fun and learning started on the bus ride with audio clips of “I’m Just a Bill” and information about the legislative process. Be honest. That song is stuck in your head now, isn’t it?
Once in Annapolis, the class met with Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and asked him questions about issues important to them, before moving into the Senate and House galleries, where the class observed the two sides debate legislation, including sports gambling.
They put their new knowledge of how government works in a panel with lobbyists, including Charles Conner III with the Office of the Baltimore County Executive; Brett Lininger with Nemphos Braue; Deborah Rivkin with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; and Tommy Tompsett with Harris, Jones & Malone. The panelists shared how they fit into the legislative process, how they work with legislators and work with their clients, with Chuck Conner adding, “We can sleep when Session’s over.”
Over lunch, many of Baltimore County’s legislators visited the class to chat about upcoming legislation. Thanks to the following legislators who joined us: Sen. Johnny Ray Salling, Del. Kathy Szeliga, Del. Rick Impallaria, Del. Carl Jackson, Del. Harry Bhandari, Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, Sen. Shelly Hettleman, Del. Dana Stine, Del. Eric Ebersole, Del. Jessica Feldmark, Sen. Chris West, Del. Catherine Forbes and Del. Michele Guyton.
Special thanks to our LBC alumni serving in the Maryland legislature who all stopped by: Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, LBC ’86, Del. Jon Cardin, LBC ’08; and Del. Pat Young, LBC ’14.
In the afternoon, Andy Clark, assistant vice chancellor for the University System of Maryland gave the class an introduction to the Kirwan legislation that was pending before the class broke into teams to debate the topic. In two groups, the class was broken into teams for the Kirwan legislation, teams against it and a panel of judges who asked questions of the two sides. All class members came prepared with research and points to support their side.
Great job to the Maryland State Government Day Planning Team for all their hard work: Tameka Bell with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid; Tricia Bradley with Towson University; Rich Grason with Hanley & Grason; Dave Mattera with BGE HOME; and Earl Shaw with Erickson Living. And big thanks to their alumni coaches Marie Lilly, LBC ’19 with UMBC and Brian Powell, LB ’19 with Baltimore County Public Schools.