MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENES NEXT MONTH, MH&LA WILL BE THERE The 433th session of the Maryland General Assembly will convene in Annapolis on Wednesday morning January 9, 2013. During the 90 day session, MH&&LA lobbyists will be there to monitor the proceedings and ensure the voice of the industry is heard on all lodging and related issues. MORE OPTIMISM ON STATE BUDGET ISSUES FOR NEXT YEAR Based on the most recent state budget forecast (driven by reports of higher-than-expected revenues from corporate and individual income tax payments), some observers are suggesting the General Assembly may not need to adopt tax increases or major budget cuts to achieve a balanced state operating budget. NO TAX INCREASE TALK ASSUMPTION MAY BE PREMATURE The optimistic state operating budget forecast above assumes timely resolution of the "fiscal cliff" issue in Washington. The no tax increase suggestion also does not apply to any possible state gas tax increases which, for the most part, would go to transportation projects that are not included in the operating budget. WE NEED YOU FOR GRASSROOTS LOBBYING EFFORTS While MH&&LA and AH&&LA lobbyists will be walking the halls of the Capitols in Annapolis and Washington so you don't have to, we need your help at several grassroots lobbying efforts where key decision makers can hear directly from their constituents. More details on three of them are below. Please be there! TOURISM DAY IN ANNAPOLIS The Maryland Tourism Council and Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations will host Tourism Day in Annapolis on Friday February 8, 2013. This FREE event will include an issues briefing, special guest speakers and meetings with key legislators in their offices and at caucus meetings. TASTE OF MARYLAND The Restaurant Association of Maryland in conjunction with The Maryland Tourism Council and Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations will host the 23rd annual Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception on January 21, 2013 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Loews Annapolis. AH&LA LEGISLATIVE ACTION SUMMIT The American Hotel and Lodging Association's Legislative Action Summit will be held in Washington on April 23 - 24, 2013. As a direct result of member involvement last year, AH&&LA was able to delay ADA pool lift regulations, push back against harmful labor rulings and defeat drastic cuts to per diem rates. 2014 GOVERNOR RACE UPDATE State Comptroller Peter Franchot has decided to seek re-election in 2014 rather than run for Governor. His decision leaves Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, State Delegate Heather Mizeur and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman still in the Democratic gubernatorial contest. D.C. COURT DENIES ONLINE TRAVEL COMPANIES RIGHT TO APPEAL HOTEL TAX RULING A District of Columbia Superior Court judge has denied a motion by online travel companies to seek an immediate appeal of the court's September ruling that the OTCs are liable for potentially millions of dollars in unpaid hotel rental-related room taxes owed to the city. MH&LA MEMBER WILL BE "ON HOLIDAY" UNTIL NEXT YEAR The next MH&LA Member Update will be sent out on Tuesday January 8, 2013.