General Elections Preview

The Maryland General Election this year is a rare opportunity to see the “big four” up for election: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, and Attorney General. With a new gubernatorial administration comes opportunity for increased legislative movement. Select legislators could move into the administration, allowing for some committee shakeups.

In Delaware, all seats are up for re-election due to redistricting. Compass will keep a pulse on contentious races that could impact the composition of the leadership in the General Assembly. This is not an election year for Governor Carney, so we do anticipate general consistency in the make up of the Administration.

District of Columbia will also hold their General Election on November 8th. We expect to see a few new faces in the coming year. Compass is monitoring contentious At-Large race between Kenyan McDuffie and Elissa Silverman.

This election lends the Compass team an opportunity to facilitate working relationships from freshman delegates to Governors’ offices, while strengthening the relationships we currently hold.

We will hold a call on November 9th to deliver a live update from our government relations team about election results in Maryland, Delaware, and D.C.

Team Spotlight: Jen Kidwell, Of Counsel

Jen brings nearly a decade of experience working with families in a variety of settings to her work as a Wills and Trusts attorney.

She views legal documents that are commonly used to help families plan for the future as tools for investing in the relationships, stories, and causes that ultimately create a legacy.

Jen prioritizes a values-based planning process and takes time with each client to educate and counsel them through potentially challenging decisions.

Posted in Law

Team Spotlight: Brian Della Rocca, Partner

Named by Super Lawyers as one of the best estate and tax attorneys in the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland, Brian R. Della Rocca has built his career providing a straightforward approach to complex estate, trust, and tax issues. For nearly 20 years he has counseled a diverse group of clients from business-owners to retirees to mid-life planners in estate, tax, and asset protection planning. Brian specializes in advising high-net worth clients on income tax, charitable, estate and gift tax, and asset protection issues; developing, implementing, and supervising the administration of complex estates; advising on international tax issues; and guiding charitable organizations on the development and implementation of planned giving programs. He has represented countless domestic and international businesses and individuals, as well as tax-exempt organizations. Reputed for his even-keel temperament, Brian has been tapped to represent foreign embassies and consular offices for legal advice in situations where foreign laws contrast with U.S. law.

While he continues to accept new clients for estate and tax planning, Brian has more recently dedicated himself to representing IRS whistleblowers who have filed claims against various tax-exempt entities.

Posted in Law

Team Spotlight: Rob Garagiola

An expert on energy, tax, business regulation, and procurement matters, Rob lobbies for clients in Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. As a former Maryland State Senate Majority Leader and State Senator for ten years, Rob understands the inner workings of state government. Prior to becoming a State Senator, he spent close to a decade on Capitol Hill – both as a lobbyist and senior staffer for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., who is now the Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee. In addition, he has experience lobbying in Baltimore City and Frederick County. Rob also lobbies before the Delaware General Assembly, DC City Council, and in the halls of Congress.

A triple threat for Compass, Rob serves as a Principal for Compass Government Relations and Compass Public Relations and as the Managing Member for Compass Law. With nearly 30 years of legislative, lobbying, and advocacy experience at the federal, state, and local levels of government, and over 20 years practicing law in D.C. and MD, Rob plays a leading role in managing the Compass leadership team and nurturing the firm’s enterprise growth and innovation.

Team Spotlight: Addison Pruitt

Addison connects the dots between government advocacy and communications on behalf of Compass clients. Prior to joining Compass, he served as Communications Specialist for the U.S. Architect of the Capitol, where he coordinated messaging and led outreach initiatives to House Members, staff, and key congressional stakeholders.

As the former Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Delegate Darryl Barnes, Addison led the office’s marketing and strategic communication efforts, serving as a liaison for constituents on all legislative activities.

Addison has also worked with several nonprofits and businesses, providing consulting services in brand identity, graphic design, web development, and multimedia.


It’s here! 988 is officially available nationwide to call or text from anywhere in the country during a mental health crisis. You can learn more about what changes with 988 (and what doesn’t) here:

Our client, NAMI, has been fundamental in the creation of 988. We are so grateful for their continued advocacy for such important issues!

HB 293 (Del. Lewis Young)/SB 241 (Sen. Augustine) – Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services 9-8-8 Trust Fund

Mental health crises and suicides can be devastating for individuals, families, and communities. When someone experiences a mental health crisis and doesn’t receive the care they need, they can end up in emergency rooms, on the streets, involved in the criminal justice system, or in the worst case, they could lose their life. A ‘round the clock crisis hotline can be the first line of defense in preventing these tragedies and an essential part of any continuum of care for mental health crises. HB 293 designates 988 to be the phone number for Maryland’s suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline and establishes a sustainable funding source to support existing behavioral health crisis call centers in Maryland.

This legislation was supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders. It passed and received supporting appropriations of $10 million to help launch the program. Sustainable funding will be the next hurdle to ensuring the success of 9-8-8 in future years.

Congratulations Compass’ Louis Leibowitz

Governor Larry Hogan has appointed Louis to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.

Louis has been an Of Counsel of Compass Law Partners since 2020 and has been a solo practitioner operating under the name Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz since 2011. He focuses his practice on civil litigation, family law, and criminal defense in the state and federal courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Prior to starting his practice, Louis served as a public defender in Montgomery County, where he tried hundreds of bench and jury trials. During this time, he handled criminal matters including traffic tickets, drug cases, and major felonies. While in private practice, Leibowitz won a first-degree murder trial believed to be the first total acquittal on first-degree murder charges in Montgomery County in over a decade.

Leibowitz previously served as a litigation associate at Stein, Sperling, Bennett, DeJong & Greenfeig, P.C., where he represented community associations and municipalities in a variety of litigation matters including land use litigation. He began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable Gerald I. Fisher in the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Congratulations Louis! Link to Press Release:

Posted in Law

Hannah Garagiola: Daily Record Top 100 Women

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Author: The Daily Record Staff

Why is community service critical to your career and your personal leadership journey?

From the beginning of launching my current venture, I decided giving back was going to be a major part of our firm’s core values. We launched the ‘Compass Cares’ committee of our firm to give back to the community that has been so good to us. It also serves as a team-building opportunity for us as well. In politics, the pinnacle of civic engagement, being involved in the community is an absolute must. We also are very fortunate to represent some very crucial nonprofits that we are pleased to support.

Self-care connects everything in life: career, interactions and one’s personal life. Is this something you are doing well or is this a goal? What are your secrets if you are succeeding and what are your goals if this is a focus area where you want to learn from others?

Our work as a contract lobbyist is very intense for 90 days. We work around the clock and right at the moment things get extremely stressful and you feel like the pressure cooker is about to explode, the legislature is finished for the year. Although we work on procurement and planning for the next session and other government relations services, the craze of running against such a serious deadline is over. We encourage family time, leave, PTO, etc., so that our team all gets an opportunity to recharge.

Maryland Session 2022: Sine Die

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.

MD Session 2022: Recreational Cannabis

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.

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