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Government & Politics

Crowds and Photo Ops Return for State House Bill Signing

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), alongside Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), signs Senate Bill 474, named in honor of retiring Sen. George C. Edwards (R-Garrett), who is standing behind Hogan, into law. Photo by Bennett Leckrone.

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, lawmakers and advocates lined the halls of the Maryland State House and posed for photos with state leaders as dozens of bills were signed into law Tuesday.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), flanked by Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), touted bipartisanship as he signed 79 bills into law Tuesday afternoon, and called the 2022 session “our most successful session yet.”

“We haven’t always agreed 100% of the time, but I really do want to thank the legislators on both sides of the aisle for working with us in a bipartisan way,” Hogan said.

Keeping with a longstanding tradition that was nixed in 2020 and returned in a limited capacity in 2021, a line of family members, activists, lawmakers and lobbyists snaked around the Governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the State House waiting for a photo-op with the trio of top state leaders as the bills were signed.

Jones noted the return of “people coming to witness the bills that we have passed for them,” and also reflected on some of the measures the legislature passed over Hogan’s vetoes, like implementing paid family leave and expanding abortion access.

“We ended this session in a way where no one gets left behind in post-pandemic recovery,” Jones said.

Ferguson emphasized what he said was the largest investment in mental health care in the state’s history as part of the state budget.

“The most important impact post-COVID is going to be how this experience has affected each and every one of us,” he said.

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) give a light-hearted thumbs-up at a bill signing on Tuesday. Photo by Bennett Leckrone.

Among the 79 bills signed into law Tuesday were several consequential measures to fund stadium improvements and promote investments in Western Maryland.

House Bill 896 authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority to spend $1.2 billion on upgrades to Baltimore’s professional sports stadiums. The funding will be divided evenly between Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.

House Bill 897 allows the stadium authority to spend $400 million on recreational and entertainment venues in Prince George’s County.

House Bill 838 and Senate Bill 474, named in honor of retiring Sen. George C. Edwards (R-Garrett), establish the Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board and Fund, which will provide grant or loan funding to capital infrastructure and business development projects in the region.

A full list of bills signed into law Tuesday is available here.

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Crowds and Photo Ops Return for State House Bill Signing