Down to the wire in the General Assembly: Hagerstown to get new sports complex


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — The Maryland General Assembly is on its final package of bills that will be sent to Governor Larry Hogan for his signature — or possible veto — as the end of the 2021 legislative session approaches.

In the frantic rush before adjournment, a wide range of issues hope to get favorable action in each house of the legislature before the governor signs that bill into law. Kim Coble is executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and has been mobilizing environmental activists to get passage of climate solutions, such as reducing carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses.

“There are thousands of people who have contacted their legislators,” Coble explained, “through e-mails, calls, texts and participated in all sorts of events. And so this issue of the environment continues to be a top priority for Marylanders.”

Meanwhile, Washington County Senator Paul Corderman is focused on an economic development package for Hagerstown in his district, hard hit by the pandemic and having lost its leading tourist attraction, minor league baseball. He’s gone right to the top for help.

“The governor has made a commitment to Hagerstown in the past, and he’s made a commitment here in the supplemental budget,” said Corderman, “and we’re looking for the General Assembly here to be able to support that as well.”

Corderman’s bill for Hagerstown passed both houses of the General Assembly. It will pave the way for the Maryland Stadium Authority to finance a multi-use sports and events facility for Hagerstown, an anchor for minor league baseball to return to the Hub City. The Maryland Stadium Authority will finance close to $60 million in bonds, and Governor Hogan has put $8.5 million in his supplemental budget for the project.

Hagerstown and Washington County will jointly own the facility. good news for Hagerstown from here in Annapolis.

For Corderman’s successor in the House of Delegates, Brenda Thiam, it has been a bit of a learning curve. She is quickly learning the art of compromise.

“For those bills that made its way through, the governor may have vetoed, maybe next year we’ll look forward to the Republican caucus amending some of those bills and trying to find some ways to make that bill better,” said Thiam.

Due to needing to tabulate the census this year, lines will have to be drawn for new legislative and congressional districts. With the clock ticking in these final hours of the General Assembly, lawmakers in both houses are finalizing language in bills to send to the governor.

During this session of the General Assembly, more than 2,300 bills have crossed both chambers of the legislature.

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