A Hybrid Session
Maryland’s 90-day legislative session began with a lot of uncertainty due to the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our presiding officers, Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones worked all interim on health and safety protocols, incredible technology upgrades and some significant tweaks to the legislative process. This session saw historic changes and a divergent approach – the session started virtually and eventually the Senate of Maryland moved to in-person meetings and bill hearings. For the House of Delegates, members of the public were required to use Zoom to testify in bill hearings, attend work sessions, and meet with legislators for all 90 days.
Big Issues Leading Up to Election Season
The Maryland General Assembly had a busy session which included re-drawing and approving redistricting maps, enacting landmark greenhouse gas emissions goals, passing a ballot initiative that will ask voters if they support recreational cannabis, creating a program and framework to give all Marylanders access to twelve weeks of paid family leave, enacted tax relief for retirees, and provided record funding for education.
With 3,114 bills introduced over the course of the session, it was a busy final year before election season. Governor Larry Hogan is term limited and cannot run again, but tough primary fights are shaping up for both the Democratic and Republican contenders. The Maryland General Assembly is up for election too, and between retirements and redistricting, we anticipate some significant turnover in both chambers.
This session, Compass monitored the state operating and capital budgets and worked with the Maryland Alliance to introduce legislation to protect club access to critical federal background check legislation and weighed in on the future of cannabis funding.
The Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 1; legislation that will let voters choose whether recreational, adult use cannabis becomes legal in Maryland. The measure to approve recreational cannabis is expected to be overwhelmingly supported by voters in November 2022.
This year (as in past years) Compass’ clients have worked with sponsors in both chambers to advance language that would open up funding from cannabis sales tax revenues to youth development organizations. Although some clients do not take a position on the question of recreational cannabis, it’s important to advocate for sustainable funding sources where they exist. The Senate adopted our recommended language, but the House adopted and passed broader funding language in House Bill 837 that creates a Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund. The Fund will receive at least 30% of all adult use, or recreational cannabis sales tax revenue and a portion of licensing fees. The fund will be apportioned based on cannabis policing and counties will have authority over how to reinvest their proceeds from the fund in community programming. The enormous racial disparities in criminal enforcement of cannabis were a clear factor to adopt broader community reinvestment language, and there will absolutely be opportunities for clubs to apply. Compass anticipates additional regulations and future legislation on recreational cannabis and how it is taxed and regulated in Maryland.
Sometimes, for kicks, attorneys who do estate planning imagine how they would go about creating a will or trust for a family from a popular TV show (yes, we know it’s weird and we don’t care). The Brady Bunch is a classic example, and the Modern Family crew is interesting too. But lately, the Madrigal family from Disney’s Encanto has been on my mind (and on a continuous loop on my TV).
One of the most popular songs from the movie is called “We don’t talk about Bruno,” in which family members explain their encounters with a mysterious uncle who disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Perhaps his secrets can reveal some of the complicated dynamics at play in the present. Perhaps all this secret-keeping wasn’t the best move. Perhaps not talking about him was actually making their situation worse!
Every family has unique dynamics and challenges, strengths, and secrets. When we work with a family to create their estate plan, we take the time to learn their values and the situations and relationships that are unique to their family. There’s no one-size fits all family; there’s no one-size fits all estate plan. The process of creating a will or trust to plan for the future invites us to navigate complicated scenarios together. We can help you understand the tools that support the priorities you have for your family – Brunos included.
The Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation that will establish a new family and medical leave insurance program that will be applicable to businesses with 15 or more employees. While the bill is still awaiting final enactment, it is nearly certain that it will become law and take effect on June 1, 2022.
Under the program, both employers and employees would have to contribute to a new fund that would establish a state family and medical leave insurance program. The new program will likely get underway after the Maryland Department of Labor promulgates regulations, which are anticipated in June 2023.
As this is going to eventually affect most Maryland businesses, it will be important to have an employment law attorney to ensure proper compliance. Compass Law can help you navigate this new family and medical leave insurance program as well as other laws affecting businesses.
The Compass PR team helps manage and operate a variety of nonprofits and associations. Our services span coordinating meetings and events, membership management and recruitment, and handling financial and compliance matters.
One of our specialties is fundraising! Are you looking to host an event to raise funds for your nonprofit, raise awareness for your company, or something else? We can help!
Whether it’s a small fundraising event, a large-scale fundraising event, or even grants – the Compass Public Relations team is here for you.
With warmer weather on its way, many are looking forward to the beaches and vacations. However, at the same time, candidates in Delaware, Maryland and DC at the local, state, and federal levels are gearing up for their Primary and General Elections this summer and fall. In addition, voters will have to decide on an array of ballot initiatives in the coming months on a range of issues.
Compass PR can help get your message out to the candidates and their constituents. We can also help frame issues before the voters to ensure the passage or defeat of ballot initiatives. Compass PR has the tools to inform voters with phones, digital media, text messages, and mail.
Consider reaching out to Compass PR now to devise your strategy, frame the issue, and execute the advocacy plan.