LAWMAKERS TO TACKLE HEALTH CARE:


After months of turmoil on Maryland's individual health exchange, the General Assembly will get its first crack at tackling some of the forces that led to significant increases in premiums this year, Tim Curtis of the Daily Record reports. The legislature's work will have to take on a sense of urgency as insurance companies predict that without changes, the state's exchange could collapse by 2019.

FEDERAL POLICIES AT THE FORE: Maryland's legislative session will begin Wednesday with Gov. Larry Hogan and the Democrats who control the General Assembly aiming to address federal policies that affect the state and lay the groundwork for what they hope will be big victories in November, Josh Hicks of the Post reports. Key themes include tempering Baltimore City's crime wave, battling over paid time off for sick workers, responding to changes in the U.S. tax code, making health care more affordable, diversifying the state's medical-marijuana industry and creating a dedicated revenue source for Metro.


CAUTIOUS, UPBEAT ON FBI HQ:


After planning that began in the George W. Bush administration, officials from Maryland at the national and state level are cautiously optimistic the latest push for a new FBI complex located outside the District of Columbia will come to fruition after a five-month delay, F. Meils and Helen Parshall of CNS report.

An ice sculpture of the State House st the Red Red Wine bar in Annapolis in January 2017. A lobbying firm paid for the sculpture. The bar and its neighbors will host back to back political fundraisers next week just prior to the beginning of the legislative session, during which all fundraising for the lawmakers must stop. MarylandReporter.com photo

By Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com

The 14 state lobbying firms that billed over $1 million in the past year grossed over $30 million representing literally hundreds of clients.

Not surprisingly, the 10 highest-paid lobbyists which we listed last month as each billing more than $1 million are also members of the top-grossing firms.

The highest-grossing firms, whose billings include all the expenses to run an Annapolis office, in order are:

Perry, White, Ross & Jacobson…….$4,534,051
Rifkin Weiner Livingston, LLC…… $3,678,804
Alexander & Cleaver, P.A. …………..$3,126,479
Manis Canning & Associates ……….$2,828,976
Harris Jones & Malone, LLC ……….$2,130,823
Gerard E. Evans, Ltd. …………………$2,089,899
Venable, LLP …………………………….$2,032,909
Capitol Strategies, LLC ……………….$1,822,016
Schwartz, Metz & Wise, P.A. ………..$1,803,027
Bruce Bereano ………………………….$1,675,303
S. Proctor & Associates, Inc. ………. $1,313,041
Cornerstone Government Affairs .. $1,067,153
Gordon Feinblatt LLC ………………..$1,022,775
DLA Piper LLP (US) …………………..$1,000,194

The State Ethics Commission assembles this data annually based on reports filed by the lobbyists and their firms..