Before its 90-day legislative session ended Monday, Maryland’s General Assembly passed 817 bills.
And Tuesday morning, 66 of those bills were signed into law.
Gov. Larry Hogan joined Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones for the signing ceremony inside the Governor’s Reception Room in the Maryland State House.
“I think it was a very successful session” said Hogan, noting the passage of relief programs including tax cuts.
“We may have disagreements on certain issues,” said Hogan, but the session showed “we can work together.”
Ferguson agreed and said the session was historic.
“We showed Marylanders that when it matters most, we come together and solve problems,” he said.
And House Speaker Jones called the session “one that every Marylander can be proud of.”
Among the bills signed Tuesday morning was one that creates phone-accessible mental health programs. It’s named in honor of Tommy Raskin, the son of Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin. (Tommy Raskin died by suicide in December, and his family later shared a public statement that he had struggled with depression.)
Another bill, the Walter Lomax Act, provides guidelines for calculating how much the state must pay anyone who served prison time and who had been wrongly convicted. In the past, decisions on compensating individuals were done on a case-by-case basis. (Walter Lomax served 39 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.)
The signing ceremony comes at the end of a legislative session in which lawmakers worked to carry out their duties in the midst of a pandemic.
The House split into different chambers — including a “chamber annex” in a building across from the State House — to avoid crowding, and plexiglass barriers were set up on the floors of the Senate and House chambers.
During the ceremony Tuesday morning, Ferguson noted the reception room was eerily quiet. Typically, the room is buzzing with chatter and packed with lines three- and four-deep as bill sponsors and advocates gather to witness the ceremony and pose for photos.
Ferguson leaned toward Hogan and said quietly, “It’s weird.” Hogan nodded.
All three leaders wore masks throughout the ceremony.