Here Come the Newbies

    Dozens of incoming lawmakers will descend on Annapolis Wednesday for two days of freshman orientation sessions.

    After an hour-long continental breakfast in the State House rotunda, the newbies will move to the House chamber, where they’ll be greeted by Speaker Michael E. Busch (D), Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley (D).

    Next, they’ll be schooled on the “Responsibilities of Being a Legislator,” with advice from Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), the incoming chairwoman of the Budget and Taxation Committee; Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore/Harford); Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), the incoming House majority leader; and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke (R-Anne Arundel).

    The new lawmakers will move on to sessions on the professional services provided by the Department of Legislative Services, security issues, parliamentary procedures, and state open meetings laws. At a lunch, they’ll hear from David Bliden, the former executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties.

    Then they’ll learn the nitty-gritty of how to set up offices and hire staff. A dinner will follow, and the day will finish with a reception at the newly-refurbished Annapolis Market House, hosted by Buckley.

    On Thursday, there will be sessions on the public ethics process for legislators, the bill and amendment process, the budget process, general chamber procedures, and a tour of the legislative complex. New members will have lunch with the top staffers to the chambers’ presiding officers, and there will also be a lunch for the lawmakers’ spouses.

    The popular freshman bus tour – a prime time for lawmaker bonding – takes place next week. The itinerary has not been announced yet.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.