Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will deliver his final “State of the State” speech on Wednesday, the second time in a row he’s opting not to give the address directly to state lawmakers.
The Republican plans to deliver the speech via video from the Old Senate Chamber in the State House in Annapolis, starting at 7 p.m.
Typically, governors give the annual address to a joint session of the General Assembly, with delegates, senators and dignitaries crammed into the House of Delegates chamber at the State House. Last year, as the coronavirus pandemic surged and vaccines were just starting to be administered, Hogan chose to deliver his speech from a near-empty Governor’s Reception Room.
This year, Hogan is using one of the most historic spots in Annapolis — the room where Gen. George Washington resigned his military commission — as the backdrop for his eighth and final “State of the State” speech. There will be no in-person audience.
Sen. William C. Smith Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat, will offer a Democratic response to the speech. Smith chairs the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee.
The Maryland constitution requires only that a governor “shall, from time to time, inform the Legislature of the condition of the State and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may judge necessary and expedient.”
Maryland Policy & Politics
Maryland’s General Assembly continues to have altered protocols as the coronavirus continues to infect, sicken and hospitalize Marylanders. State lawmakers have been meeting in person, masked, in the House of Delegates and Senate chambers, though most committee work and public hearings are still being held over video.
When lawmakers met in a special session in December, they were tasked with electing a new treasurer, which is typically done in a joint session in the House chamber. Rather than squeeze all 188 lawmakers into one chamber, the two chambers were linked via video for the casting and counting of ballots.
The “State of the State” gives governors the opportunity to discuss state issues broadly, as well as a chance to champion their initiatives. Hogan is currently pressing lawmakers to agree to spend a historic budget surplus on broad tax relief for retirees as well as more generous tax credits for low-income workers.
He also is again pushing for changes to the criminal justice system, including tougher sentences for those convicted of certain violent crimes and more transparency in sentences handed out by judges.
Last year, Hogan devoted much of his speech to the coronavirus pandemic, urging Marylanders to get vaccinated.
Hogan is term-limited and may use his final speech to highlight his accomplishments during his gubernatorial career. As a popular Republican governor in a Democrat-dominated state, Hogan also has his eyes on his political future. Hogan has been courted to run for U.S. Senate this year or president in 2024, but he has not announced any plans.
Hogan’s speech will be streamed on the governor’s social media channels and broadcast on Maryland Public Television. A video feed will be made available to news organizations to carry.