2023 Maryland Session Updates

We are almost halfway through Maryland’s 90-Day Session. Here’s what Maryland is tracking, and what’s coming up:


  • Cannabis is a blazing topic this session after voters legalized recreational marijuana via referendum on November’s ballot. Starting July 1st, anyone over the age of 21 will be able to possess marijuana for personal use. The question before the legislature in this session is how to implement this throughout the state. Co-sponsors of the Cannabis Reform bill held a workgroup last Friday to discuss how much of the implementation would work. Highlights of the hearing included the prioritization of social equity throughout each implementation step.
Gun Control
  • After the Supreme Court ruling on New York v Bruen, key legislators in Maryland have decided to revisit gun control laws. The SCOTUS ruling changed the way courts evaluate the constitutionality of state gun control laws. The bills before the Maryland Legislature attempt to continue to restrict gun access and concealed carry permits while attempting to follow the new standard by the Supreme Court. A number of bills came before the Senate Committee for a contentious 11-hour hearing on February 7th. The next step is for the Senate committee to vote on bills.
Budget Process
  • The budget process is underway in Maryland with new excitement as the Legislature has more say in Budget negotiations. Previously under Republican Governor Larry Hogan, the party divide between the Governor’s office and state legislature meant that legislators had to fight for what they wanted in Hogan’s budget. Now, with new Democratic Governor Wes Moore, the legislator has an easier path to prioritizing their agendas in this year’s budget. Subcommittees that unpack the budget have already started meeting, but we are anticipating more discussions in the coming weeks.
Mental Health Funding
  • While all of these issues will continue to be debated throughout the coming months, we wanted to highlight the stand the Senate took regarding the first bill they passed. Senate Bill 003 also known as the 9-8-8 Trust Fund – Funding was passed on January 30th. The 988 Trust Fund was created by legislation passed last session with stipulations that it would receive around $5 million in funding. This bill, if passed by the House, will more than double the required funding to $12 million by 2025. This is an important message from the Senate about prioritizing mental health and could be an indicator of the success of other mental health bills coming before the body.

Team Spotlight: Addison Pruitt, GR Partner

This past weekend, Addison was awarded by the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus at the Chairman’s Farewell Reception for his service to the caucus. Addison previously served three years as Chief of Staff for Legislative Black Caucus Chairman, Delegate Daryl Barnes.
The reception was a part of the 27th Annual Legislative Weekend hosted by the Maryland Black Caucus Foundation at Live Casino & Hotel.

We are so proud to have Addison on our team!

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.

Budget Changes

The 2023 Session will bring a significant change to the state budget process. Prior to 2023, once the Governor submits the operating budget to the General Assembly in January, the legislature could only make cuts. They could not add money to the budget and could not shift money from one program to another. Beginning in 2023, the legislature will be able to add money to sections of the operating budget, as long as the Governor’s overall level of spending is not exceeded. The Governor maintains some power as they will be able to veto these individual budget actions. This creates additional advocacy opportunities should money not make it into the Governor’s proposed operating budget.

The Compass Government Relations team is here to help you navigate these changes. Contact us today!

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.

Services Spotlight: Procurement

Compass Government Relations helps dozens of clients obtain contracts with state and local governments in MD, DE and D.C.; However, navigating state and local procurement can be daunting task. It is not just about submitting a bid and signing on the dotted line. A robust government relations strategy can help develop more targeted business pipelines through identifying future opportunities, developing relationships with stakeholders, and holding discussions well ahead of any blackout periods.

Compass guides our clients through the process of conducting business in the public sector. We open the right doors and provide strategic advice that wins our clients contracts. We help clients work through the state and local levels, public school systems, university systems and Maryland’s unique Board of Public Works, a panel composed of the State’s governor, treasurer, and comptroller that votes on all state contracts over $250,000.


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: nami.org/988

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.

Maryland Primary Elections 2022

Though this summer’s 2022 Primary election had some unpredictable twists and turns, the General Election winners are a bit more predictable if one is to believe the polling. Here is a quick recap of the State’s 3 state-wide elections:


In the Governor’s race on the Republican side, the ever-popular, Governor Hogan’s hand-picked successor, Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz decidedly lost over Trump-backed, right-wing candidate Dan Cox. This shows that the primary voter in the Republican primaries tends more toward the right rather than the center. Governor Hogan has called Dan Cox a “QAnon whack job” and announced he would not be voting for him. It is widely accepted in political circles that this means the winner of the Democratic Primary, Wes Moore, is heavily favored in the General election. Moore, a combat Veteran and best-selling author, defeated Comptroller Peter Franchot and former DNC Chairman Tom Perez. Because Maryland is tied with California as one of the most democratic states in the country, and because the election of Cox leaves the Republican party divided, it certainly appears Wes Moore will be the next Governor of Maryland. Wes Moore has tapped former State Delegate Aruna Miller as his running mate for Lt. Governor while Dan Cox has tapped law professor Gordana Schifanelli to join him on his ticket.


A similar trend occurred on the Republican side of the Attorney General’s race. The party nominee is Michael Peroutka who ran on a hyper-conservative platform. He will face Congressman Anthony Brown in the General Election. Brown handily defeated Katie O’Malley in the primary who is a former Judge and First Lady of Maryland. Maryland has not elected a Republican Attorney General in 70 years.


Rising-star Delegate Brooke Lierman decidedly beat her Democratic Primary opponent Bowie Mayor Tim Adams. She will face Republican Harford County Executive Barry Glassman in the fall. Glassman, who has a reputation for working across the aisle, is looking to distance himself from the other state-wide candidates on the Republican side.


All in all, it looks like there will be about 40 new Senators and Delegates being sworn in for the General Assembly of 2023. The Democrats are expected to maintain super-majorities in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.

Delaware Session 2022: That’s a Wrap!

The 151st Delaware General Assembly has come to a close. Lawmakers adopted the state’s largest ever operating budget to the tune of $5.1 billion. The spending bill makes significant investments in public schools and includes pay raises for state employees. Governor Carney also signed a $378.6 million-dollar one-time appropriation that will fund paid family and medical leave and the Library Connection Program, among others.

Beyond passing the largest budget in state history, the legislature moved a few notable pieces of policy including the Healthy Delaware Families Act which provides Delawareans with paid family and medical leave, the Telehealth Access Preservation and Modernization Act which enhances access to telemedicine, and legislation that increased the net metering cap in Delaware. Marijuana legalization and a polystyrene ban were two marque bills that did not make it across the finish line this year but are like to return in 2023.

With the legislative session behind us, Legislators will now set their focus on the 2022 election cycle. Due to redistricting, all 62 Legislators are up for re-election. The state’s primary is scheduled for September 13th, just two months before the November 8th general.

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