by Sandy Popp and Rhonda Ray, DBED Marketing & Communications
While many are looking forward to what the New Year will bring, legislators, policy watchers and the like are busy gearing up for what promises to be a busier than usual legislative session. The 431st Maryland General Assembly convenes in Annapolis on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. and will last for 90 days.
If you have been reading any Maryland news source, you know that many hot button issues will be debated soon after the opening bell rings. Some of the topics include offshore wind, gay marriage, funding for transportation infrastructure, regulatory reform, and reducing the State’s structural budget deficit. And it wouldn’t be session without a debate on taxes. Another topic that will likely dominate a good portion of session is legislative redistricting. On December 16, 2011, the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee released its recommendations for Maryland’s State legislative district boundary lines. The General Assembly will have until the 45th day of session to approve and adopt a redistricting plan.
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (Department) Office of Policy and Government Affairs (OPGA) team has played an active role in the development of the Department’s 2012 agenda. Job creation efforts, being a top priority of Governor O’Malley’s, have directed OPGA’s focus. Beginning in August, OPGA led a review of existing job creation tools the State has to determine which programs have historically been the most effective and which should be enhanced. In addition, staff has reviewed other states’ job creation initiatives. OPGA is currently working with the Governor’s Office, other State agencies, and members of the business community to vet various initiatives focused on workforce training, tax incentives, and commercialization – taking our world class institutional research and putting it in the hands of entrepreneurs.
OPGA is looking forward to releasing its 2012 legislative package soon and we look forward to working with business leaders to support initiatives that will stimulate the economy and put Marylanders back to work.