Bingo, booze and the big screen are on the social calendars for Maryland's lawmakers.
As we promised last month, The Baltimore Sun is posting the General Assembly's updated “Protocol Calendar” to provide the public a glimpse at the activities of their elected officials outside of official government proceedings. You can view the calendar here.
The calendar lists all the dinners, breakfasts, receptions and parties that lobbyists host for lawmakers on behalf of corporations, nonprofits and industry associations with business interests in Maryland.
Only people on an exclusive email list get the calendar (unless they want to travel to Annapolis to pick up a paper copy in the basement of the State House). But reforms are afoot in this year's session that would require the information be posted online.
If you want to get on the email mailing list for the events, send a note to Deborah Geary at the Department of Legislative Services at Deborah.Geary@mlis.state.md.us.
What to expect? Here's a sample:
In March, Maryland's bingo lobby in Maryland — Atlantic Bingo Supply of Odenton, Delta Bingo & Gaming of Laurel and Wayson's Bingo in Lothian — is hosting two receptions at Osteria in Annapolis for members of two different legislative committees.
On the evening of Jan. 31 — after a morning scheduled with the Heroin Action Coalition of Maryland's rally to end addiction— lawmakers from the Baltimore County delegation were invited to a reception at Harry Browne's restaurant in Annapolis hosted by Diageo, the alcoholic beverage company behind such brands as Smirnoff, Guinness and Captain Morgan.
The following day another member of the booze lobby — the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States — scheduled a dinner for members of the House Ways and Means Committee at Lewnes Steakhouse in Annapolis.
Later, the Motion Picture Association of America hosted a "movie party, cocktails, buffet and movie screening" for members of four General Assembly committees at association headquarters in Washington.
No word from its lobbying firm, Manis, Canning & Associates, on what movie was screened and whether the association's chief executive, former Sen. Christopher Dodd, would also be attending.
Although the food and drink served at certain venues sound appealing, the gatherings don't all sound fun. In March, lawmakers will be invited to a dinner at the Annapolis Yacht Club with the Mortgage Bankers Association.