(Annapolis, MD) WNAV — Maryland lawmakers in the republican party wrote a letter to Democratic Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne Jones asking for some legislative policies implemented amid the covid-19 pandemic to stick around and for other procedures that were discontinued due to safety concerns to be reinstated for the upcoming 2022 legislative session.
Minority whip Christopher Adams, who cosigned the letter, said Maryland’s minority republican party received advanced notice regarding many bills in 2021, which helped the minority party to be heard and contribute to lawmaking. However, 2021’s legislative session also restricted the co-sponsoring of bills, which Adams said restricted bipartisanship and consensus-gathering. He added that there is no reason why cosponsoring cannot occur over email.
The Republican lawmakers also asked to allow the option for testimony on legislation to be given remotely, but ask that it be held in person when possible. Adams said this will allow citizens living in areas like the Eastern Shore or Western Maryland to testify even if they cannot make it to Annapolis. The minority whip adds that testimony should not be limited to a specific number of witnesses as it was last year, although time constraints could still be a factor.
The lawmakers also requested that professionalism be taken seriously when video calls are necessary. Some legislators heard important bills while in the car, which limits a lawmaker’s ability to fully engage with proposed legislation, Adams said. He added that he hopes for a productive 90-day legislative session in 2022, and has faith that Maryland’s legislative body will listen to good reason with regards to COVID-19 restrictions.