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Sixteen years ago, I sponsored legislation that called for a constitutional amendment that would have allowed incoming governors to take office prior to the commencement of the General Assembly ("Hogan names ex-Senator Neall to transition team," Nov. 12). The bill, which would have allowed the incoming governor more time to put his budget together in the first year of his term, passed the House of Delegates 126-5 and received a unanimous favorable report from the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee. In an unusual occurrence, the Senate president raised concerns about the bill from the podium, and the legislation was re-committed to committee.

The need for the constitutional change is apparent today with the governor-elect watching the incumbent governor shape a budget he has to implement and unable to affect government policies he might not support but will be compelled to live with. As state din his written testimony in support of the constitutional amendment in 1998, former Gov. Harry Hughes stated that it would have been "very helpful to have been sworn in at an earlier date to permit more time to prepare and analyze my first budget" and "enable the governor and his staff to get installed in their offices at least a few days before the legislative session begins."

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Governor Hughes' argument is equally cogent today. Hopefully, the General Assembly will revisit the issue in the upcoming term.

John R. Leopold, Pasadena

The writer, a Republican, is a former state delegate and former Anne Arundel County executive.

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