House bill

Crowds and photo ops return for State House bill signing

Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), alongside Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), signs Bill 474 of the Senate, named in honor of incumbent Senator George C. Edwards (R-Garrett), who stands behind Hogan, in right. Photo by Bennett Leckrone.

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

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

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

In keeping with a longstanding tradition that was canceled in 2020 and returned in a limited capacity in 2021, a line of family members, activists, lawmakers and lobbyists wound up in the Governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the State House while waiting for a photo op with the trio of top state leaders during the signing of the bills.

Jones noted the return of “people coming to testify about the bills we passed for them” and also reflected on some of the measures the legislature passed on Hogan’s vetoes, such as implementing paid family leave and the expanding access to abortion.

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

Ferguson pointed to what he said was the biggest investment in mental health care in state history under the state budget.

“The biggest impact after COVID will be how this experience has affected each of us,” he said.

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

Among the 79 bills signed into law on Tuesday were several back-to-back measures to fund stadium improvements and promote investment in western Maryland.

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

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

House Bill 838 and Senate Bill 474named for outgoing Senator George C. Edwards (R-Garrett), creates the Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board and Fund, which will provide grants or loans to infrastructure and business development projects in the region.

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