“SINE DIE” annually marks the end to Maryland’s legislative season and the organized activities of the MLTA’s Legislative Committee. While the Committee functions year round, its work schedule generally begins in September with monthly conference calls to prepare for the General Assembly’s next session. In January it moves to weekly calls to discuss pending legislation. All bills (approximately 3000 annually) are reviewed to determine if they have any potential impact on the title industry. For those that do, the Committee develops a position ( support; oppose; amend; monitor; etc.). After this, we often network with other organizations ( Maryland Bankers’ Assoc.; Maryland Assoc. of Realtors; Circuit Court Clerks Assoc.; Maryland State bar Assoc.; Administrative Office of the Courts; etc.) to determine their level of interest in various bills and if there is a potential to work together. Then a course of action (writing letters of support/opposition; lobbying legislators; testifying at bill hearings; drafting amendments; etc.) is developed for each bill. These activities continue throughout the session, but do tend to slow down by mid-March’s “cross-over” date when bills that pass their house of origin must cross-over to the opposite house for consideration.
All bills that pass both houses must be presented to the Governor within 20 days of adjournment and he has 30 days to exercise a veto. If a bill is not vetoed it becomes law whether the Governor signs it or not. It is not uncommon for the Committee to communicate the MLTA’s position on bills to the Governor for his consideration. So by June 1, the status of all bills that passed has been sorted out and the Committee is ready to issue its final report and go on hiatus for the summer. Often times however, various organizations and government agencies solicit advice to introduce and interpret the new laws and the Committee is glad to accommodate.
Members of the Committee have many opportunities to get involved in the legislative process and make a difference. The MLTA’s “Lobby Day” has become one of the annual highlights of it legislative agenda. It is a chance for members to meet with their local representatives in their offices in Annapolis. Since its inception, it has proven to be a valuable tool for introducing the MLTA to legislators and building relationships.
Please note that all MLTA members have access to a regular Maryland Legislative Update on the MLTA website. If you’re not yet a member of MLTA, join now to access this great benefit!