ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s annual legislative session kicked off Wednesday.
The first day of the 90-day session included a vote for the Senate’s first new presiding officer in more than three decades.
Sen. Bill Ferguson was elected Senate president by the chamber’s 47 senators.
“I feel so honored to be able to continue to serve and learn from your leadership as we go through this journey together,” Ferguson said. “So thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The Baltimore Democrat will succeed Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, who is stepping down from the leadership post due to illness, but he will keep his seat.
In the House, the chamber’s 141 members re-elected House Speaker Adrienne Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat. This will be her first legislative session as House speaker. She was elected in a one-day special session in May after the death of Michael Busch.
“I worked with Mike for 16 years,” Jones said. “Together, with many of you, we built the foundation on which we stand. While we embrace change, it is important to continue a legacy that puts people first and fixes what’s broken.”
Education is expected to be a top issue in the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.
Lawmakers also are expected to take up legislation to keep the Preakness horse race in Baltimore and rebuild the Pimlico Race Course.
Gun control legislation also is expected to be introduced.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced plans on Tuesday to introduce legislation aimed at tightening ethics laws, after a number of public corruption cases in recent years.