The Maryland General Assembly is back in full swing in Annapolis, and so are the lobbyists looking to educate lawmakers about their issues over lunch, dinner and, perhaps, wine.
The Department of Legislative Services compiles a weekly “protocol calendar” of social events that lobbyists host for legislators. Only people on the department’s email list receive the calendar, although Gov. Larry Hogan attempted to pass legislation two years ago to post it on the agency’s website. The legislature rejected the bill.
Ever since then, The Baltimore Sun has periodically posted the calendar for our readers to see and highlighted some of the most interesting events. With the third week of the 2019 session starting Monday, we thought we’d do it again this year.
The week is scheduled to kick off with an afternoon wine tasting hosted by the Maryland Wineries Association at the Red, Red Wine Bar in Annapolis. All lawmakers are invited to watch as First Lady Yumi Hogan presents awards for the Maryland Wine Governor's Cup competition from 3-4:30 p.m.
A half hour later, senators and delegates are invited to head over to the Hotel Annapolis for a 5 p.m. “Taste of Maryland” reception presented by the Restaurant Association of Maryland — “RSVP required,” the calendar states.
Tuesday may pose a problem for lawmakers who have a hard time making a decision. Between 4-9 p.m. six different organizations are scheduled to host six different receptions at six different Annapolis restaurants: Osteria 177 (Verizon), Ruth's Chris Steak House (Maryland Defense Counsel), Lewnes’ Steakhouse (MD-DC Credit Union Association), Harry Browne's (Maryland School Bus Contractors Association), Red, Red Wine Bar (Maryland Association for Justice) and the Hotel Annapolis (CareFirst).
The rest of the week offers a succession of lunches, receptions, dinners and coffees held by public safety, health care, insurance, petroleum and other groups representing the vast array of interests lawmakers must consider while debating legislation.