The Maryland General Assembly has convened its yearly session in Annapolis amid talk of respect and bipartisanship.
The first day of the session has a lot of ceremony, and a lot of talk -- and not all of it from lawmakers. Lobbyists and groups packed the hallway in the state house between the House and Senate chambers, looking to grab a lawmaker so they can make their pitch.
This scene is likely to be common during this year's session, as budget cuts will top the agenda for legislators, meaning aid to local governments and and other recipients will be cut.
Inside the House chambers, Speaker of the House Mike Busch extended the olive branch to Republicans.
"During the next 90 days and the next four years, that the solutions that we provide for the citizens of the state of Maryland come out of the debate that comes from our committees and the floor of this House, and hopefully resolves in some compromise that will continue to make Maryland the greatest state in the nation," Busch says.
The schedule of hearings for lawmakers is light for the next week, as preparations continue for Gov. Martin O'Malley's second inauguration on Jan. 19.