Newsletter—November 2019

Maryland Overhauls Sunset Review Process

The Maryland General Assembly overhauled the sunset review process by enacting legislation this past session.   In the past, the Department of Legislative Services routinely conducted a review prior to the statutory ending or “sunset” date of a State board, commission, or program.   Then, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) would make recommendations about extending a statutory sunset date to the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC).  If the LPC approved continuing the entity under review, then the chair of the policy committee introduced legislation to extend the sunset date, typically by ten years.

Now, DLS will no longer routinely conduct sunset reviews.   Instead, DLS will conduct special reviews upon request of legislators.  These reviews will be conducted by the newly created Office of Program Evaluation and Accountability housed under DLS.   Mike Powell has been appointed as the first director of this office.  His most immediate prior role was as a Principal with Community Mill Consulting.  He has also worked with the CitiState Office in Baltimore City and as the State’s Chief Innovation Officer over StateStat and Maryland’s Open Data Portal.

With the change in process, most boards, commissions, and programs will be responsible for approaching the legislature to extend their own sunsets.   Public Policy Partners will be working with our clients to closely follow this process.

People on the Move

Richard Bruno has taken the position of Family and Preventive Medicine Physician at Chase Brexton Health Care, a federally qualified health center in Baltimore City. 

Sara Fidler will take the position of President at the Maryland Independent College and University Association. Fidler had been counsel for the Maryland Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee since 2001.

Brooke Hisle will become the Executive Director of The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund and The Bancroft Foundation. Hisle has served as the Program Officer for both foundations for seven years and was named Executive Director of The Fund for Change in 2015.

Andrew Johnston has returned to the Maryland Public Service Commission as Executive Secretary. Johnston served most recently as Committee Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee and has worked for the Public Service Commission previously as Director of Governmental Affairs and Assistant Counsel.

Nathan McCurdy has assumed the role of Committee Counsel with the Senate Finance Committee.  McCurdy had been in the fiscal note office, and will continue to staff the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review Committee.

Keiffer Mitchell has been named Governor Larry Hogan’s new Chief Legislative Officer. Mitchell, who has been a Senior Advisor to the Governor since his election, fills the position most recently held by Christopher Shank, who has left the Governor’s office to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

Holly Vandegrift has been appointed as Committee Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.  Vandegrift has worked for the Committee, as well as Delegate Ariana Kelly, prior to this new role.

Laura Weeldreyer has been named Executive Director of Maryland Family Network. Weeldreyer has a long history working in education policy, most recently serving as Chief Program Officer for the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. 

Nicole Williams has been appointed to the Maryland House of Delegates by Governor Larry Hogan. Williams will represent represent District 22 serving Prince George’s County.


Emily Berg and Jennifer Caggino, former session associates with Public Policy Partners, have been admitted to the Maryland

Public Policy Partners wishes its friends and colleagues very happy retirements!

Tina Bjarekull is retiring as President of the Maryland Independent College and University Association. Bjarekull has led the organization for 17 years.

David Juppe, Operating Budget Manager, is retiring from the Department of Legislative Services.

Karen Kriesberg has announced her retirement after 20 years with The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, The Fund for Change, and The Bancroft Foundation.

Laura Lodge, Committee Counsel to the House Environment and Transportation Committee, is retiring from the Department of Legislative Services.

Mark Leeds will be retiring from the Maryland Department of Health after more than 30 years.

Karen Morgan, Principal Policy Analyst, is retiring from the Department of Legislative Services.

Doug Nestor, Committee Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, is retiring from the Department of Legislative Services.

Margaret Williams has retired from the helm of Maryland Family Network. Williams became the Executive Director of Friends of the Family in 1991 and oversaw the merger of that organization with the Maryland Committee for Children to become Maryland Family Network in 2009.

Gail Renborg-Wood, Staff to the Budget Office, is retiring from the Department of Legislative Services.



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