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Lobbyists, lawmakers set to party on Maryland General Assembly's last day

Lobbyists in Annapolis are lining up to host parties, receptions and a “backyard BBQ” for state lawmakers and government officials to celebrate the Maryland General Assembly’s last day of the 2018 legislative session Monday.

Members of the legislative and executive branches of state government are invited to at least seven various events around town starting at noon on Monday, the final day of lawmaking known as “sine die,” according to the legislature’s social calendar.

Most of the scheduled events come with an appointed end time, even though lawmakers typically work until midnight and linger long beyond.

Only lobbying firm Capitol Strategies LLC (representing Lyft, American Express, Erickson Living and others) is providing late-night lawmakers with more flexibility. The firm’s “annual sine die celebration,” open to all General Assembly members, goes from “4:30pm til,” according to the calendar distributed by the Department of Legislative Services.

For political insiders, the festivities are no big deal. But most taxpayers are unaware of such Annapolis traditions. That’s because the so-called “protocol calendar” is distributed weekly only to those on a select email group. Gov. Larry Hogan’s attempt last year to have the schedule posted online was defeated by the legislature. But The Sun has been publishing it periodically for the sake of transparency.

Most of the receptions are being hosted at lobbyists’ offices. Gerard E. Evants Ltd. (representing Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore, Peter Angelos’ law office, Maryland Acupuncture Society and others) is holding its “sine die party” for the “executive branch” at the Red Red Wine Bar in Annapolis. The Maryland Catholic Conference (representing Catholics) is hosting a “Backyard BBQ” for all lawmakers at its Francis Street office.

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