On March 6th League members filled West One in the Miller Senate Office Building to attend LWVMD’s 2018 Legislative Day. Some members and friends visited their legislators to tell them about the League’s legislative priorities, while others toured the Senate and the State House, learning about how our state government operates. We shared the feedback we received from our legislative visits and discussed key bills affecting our legislative priorities. For our speaker on the budget, we had “two for the price of one.” Ryan Bishop, Director of the Office of Policy Analysis of Legislative Services, began the presentation about the FY2019 budget and the structural budget outlook, revenue and spending, potential impacts of federal tax reform and potential legislative issues. After a delay due to action in the House of Delegates, Victoria Gruber, the new Executive Director of the Department of Legislative Services, joined Mr. Bishop for an extensive question period.
After we filled our luncheon plates, Nikki Charlson, Deputy Administrator of the Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE), spoke on Election Security. She described the many steps SBE takes, from constant scanning to protect against hacking from the outside, to the fact that voting systems are not connected to the internet. Ms. Charlson and Linda Lamone, Administrator of SBE, then patiently answered our many questions. Many databases are checked to insure that people are qualified to vote and cannot vote more than once. One participant commented that she now had good and factual responses to people who are concerned about illegal voters.
Afterwards, some headed to legislative hearings and others headed home. We are grateful to Senator Roger Manno for sponsoring us for our reservation in the Senate building, to Ralph Watkins for inviting Nikki Charlson, to Melanie Cox for arranging the catering, to our co-presidents for their leadership, to all the reporters for briefing us on legislation and especially to Ashley Oleson and intern Brielle Rozmus for preparing information for our folders. If you have ideas about how to make Legislative Day 2019 even better, please let me know.
LWVMD 1st Vice President