New format planned for review of Maryland General Assembly session

April 06, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |

ANNAPOLIS — Lawmakers and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce are planning a new format for recapping the Maryland General Assembly session.

Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, said Wednesday that the traditional post-legislative breakfast forum held by the chamber will be replaced this year with an evening question-and-answer event.

The event probably will be May 11, according to Myers and other Washington County delegation members.

Each year, the chamber holds forums with the delegation before and after the 90-day General Assembly session.

In December, the chamber changed the pre-legislative event from a panel format to casual conversations, with each delegation member seated at a table with several other people.

Myers and Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, said Wednesday that people have questioned why programs with the delegation had to be tied to the chamber each year and why only chamber members could attend.

Actually, the pre- and post-legislative forums, like many other chamber events, have been open to the public, although ticket prices are lower for chamber members.

Regardless, Serafini and Myers said the time — usually 7:30 to 9 a.m. — isn't convenient for many business people.

Myers said this year that the delegation will have dinner with the chamber for about an hour. Then, the public will be invited to join the delegation, probably at 7 p.m., for questions and answers about the legislative session.

The public event will be held at Hager Hall Conference and Event Center on Dual Highway. There will be no charge to attend.

Myers, who is about to hand the delegation chairmanship to Serafini, and Brian Flook, the chairman of the chamber's Government Affairs Committee, have been working together on the May forum.

Brien J. Poffenberger, the chamber's president, said change in the name of  improvement is good, which is why the format for the December event was different.

"We all feel that every now and then, an event needs to be shaken up," he said.

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