Lobby Day 2017
MLTA members gathered at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis on January 25, 2017 for the Fourth Annual MLTA Lobby Day. As in the past, the group was a mixture of first timers and seasoned veterans, who were grouped together by legislative district. Scheduled appointments were made for meetings with the members’ elected officials in both the House and Senate.
Illustrating that you never really know what a meeting with a legislator will lead to, one group went to meet with Sen. Ed Reilly (R- Anne Arundel County) regarding his sponsorship of Senate Bill 76, which was an effort to change the name of the Land Records Improvement Fund to the State Judiciary Technology Fund. Senator Reilly indicated that he had sponsored the bill at the request of local county official, and then picked up his office phone, called the local official, and sent our intrepid MLTA members over to meet with the local official to discuss MLTA’s opposition to the bill. While our members did not change the local official’s mind, he also did not show up to testify with the bill’s sponsors at either the Senate or House hearings on the bill. (House Bill 280 was the cross filed version of the same bill, sponsored by Del. Malone.) Senate Bill 76 received an unfavorable report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee; House Bill 280 met a similar fate in the House Judiciary Committee, and was eventually withdrawn by its sponsor. As there is a fair amount of money in the fund, we anticipate that the effort may show up again in the 2018 session.
Speaking of the House Judiciary Committee, another group decided to drop in to the office of Del. Joseph Vallario, the powerful chair of that committee to see if he would meet with them, even though they did not have an appointment. Del. Vallario invited them into his office and spoke with them for the better part of an hour, including giving tips on how legislators like to be approached, and which questions he would like the answers to regarding the bills before him.
MLTA’s Secretary/Treasurer Mark Schweitzer has participated in each of our Lobby Days thus far. Mark says that Lobby Day is, “Lots of fun and a great opportunity to talk to your elected representatives.” When asked for his thoughts about Lobby Day 2017, MLTA lobbyist Bill Pitcher said, “From my perspective, the members’ participation in this year’s Lobby Day was instrumental in the success we had in passing three bills: our own bill to amend the law regarding Attorney Certification of Preparation of Deeds [Senate Bill 376]; and the two bills that MLTA and the MIA jointly worked on to streamline the State regulations of the Title Insurance Industry [Senate Bills 31 and 40]. I can’t remember a more productive legislative Session.”
As always, after the morning appointments were completed, participants were provided with a soup, salad, and sandwich lunch, accompanied by deserts, before being sent home, or back to the office, or wherever their lives may have taken them.
We encourage you to consider joining us in 2018 for Lobby Day, which gives our members an effective way to let members of the General Assembly know MLTA’s positions through personal meetings. With 2018 being an election year, members of the General Assembly will be particularly interested to hear from their constituents. Most elected officials want to make sure that they understand the consequences and benefits of any particular piece of legislation on their constituency. Lobbying provides elected and appointed officials with the information they need to make the best decisions for their constituencies. Legislators also like to meet people who have expertise in various industries, so that they know whom to call should they have any questions at any point about an issue they find themselves needing to understand better.
The information and education that you can provide may be critical to the decisions legislators make on issues that concern the title industry. Lobby Day 2018 will present a great opportunity to continue to demonstrate MLTA’s leadership in the title industry.
Susan Zuhowski, Esq.
Susan is Underwriting Counsel for Old Republic National Title Insurance Company and the Chair of the MLTA Lobby Day Committee.