Maryland's 90 day legislative session kicked off Wednesday. This is when state delegates and senators will pass a budget and craft new laws--or sometimes repeal existing ones.
The day kicked off with some drama: Prince George's County Delegate Michael Vaughn resigned with just an hour to go before the start of the session. He cited health reasons.
Vaughn's sudden resignation came the day after former Prince George's County Delegate Will Campos pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges.
The news was especially jarring, coming on the heels of the indictments of two other men, one of them a member of the liquor board in Prince George's County. There were also concerns that the two indictments and Campos' guilty plea are not the end of the investigation by the feds.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, a former state senator, chats with Republican Governor Larry Hogan. A former Pugh staffer has some of of his own troubles at the start of the session...
Pugh's former legislative aide, Gary Brown, Jr. has been charged with violating election laws by making illegal donations to Pugh's mayoral campaign. He would have taken the state delegate seat vacated by Delegate Barbara Robinson. Robinson is filling Pugh's senate seat.
Getting away from scandal and on to governing: Governor Larry Hogan has bashed the transportation bill passed by lawmakers life ast year that would require him to rate transportation projects--he hopes to repeal it. But he sounded a collegial tone when addressing the House and Senate on opening day of the session, stressing a willingness to work with lawmakers.
Maryland State Senate President Mike Miller calls Governor Hogan a friend, but has pushed back hard on Hogan's efforts to kill the transportation rating bill.
Maryland House Speaker Mike Busch has complained that the governor has failed to reach out to him--the two have a strained relationship. Why should voters care? Poor relations can prevent bills from moving ahead before the clock runs out in the 90 day session.
Maryland's House and Senate buildings tell the story of the history of Maryland. They feature artifacts from the state's archives. Here, part of a silver service made in Baltimore.
Outside the State House: This is Lawyers' Mall, dedicated to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, a Maryland native. It sits at the foot of the Annapolis State House and is the site of rallies and demonstrations, designed to get the attention of the lawmakers inside.
Lawyers' Mall features statues of African-American children, a reference to Brown v Board of Education, the case argued by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the nation's highest court.
Hundreds of bills are submitted to lawmakers every legislative session. Lobbyists and everyday people will sit in committee hearings for hours and an army of staff members works to keep the agenda moving.
By the end of the first day of the session, Michael Vaughn, who resigned before noon, was listed as a "former Delegate"
You'll often see tweets referring to "MDGA", Thats for Maryland General Assembly. This year look for #MDGA17 to see what lawmakers have accomplished. -Kate Ryan, WTOP News