Education funding will headline the first hearing of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis Thursday.
State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick will address a Senate committee Thursday afternoon, as work begins to close a more than $1.3-billion budget deficit. Picking which priorities get cut is likely to spark contentious debate.
In addressing his colleagues shortly after they were sworn-in Wednesday, speaker of the House, Mike Busch, echoed the national sentiment following last weekend's shooting in Arizona: that lawmakers need to be respectful, even as they disagree.
"There's 141 different philosophies out there. And I expect vibrant debate throughout this chamber. But I will ask and demand from each and every person, the respect of the institution that we represent and the office that we hold," Busch says.
While several bills have already been introduced, hearings on them will not start until after the second inauguration of Gov. Martin O'Malley, which takes place Jan. 19.