Bombing Through the People's Business
The evacuation of the State House this afternoon gave lobbyists, legislators and their aides plenty of time to speculate - and make light of - what was behind the bomb threat.
"This is the latest pathetic effort by the governor's office to avoid getting the legislature's bills," joked Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s communications' director Paul Schurick, who stood outside the governor's mansion in the afternoon sun.
Schurick was referring to complaints that the governor's legislative office was locked before 5 p.m. Friday, a move Democrats contend was meant to slowdown their efforts to pass veto-proof bills.
The bomb scare did lead the House to cancel an afternoon session. But House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said the change in plans wouldn't affect his efforts to plow through piles of bills before the last day of session on April 10.
"I'll just have to talk faster tomorrow," said Busch, who already sounds like an auction barker when he races through the daily agendas.
Perhaps no one was more disappointed about the delay than representatives from Pepco. The House had planned to take up an emergency bill this afternoon to ensure the company's ability to refinance $110 million in loans. Company representatives said a bill passed last week to allow the General Assembly to intervene in a merger involving Constellation Energy Group inadvertantly affected Pepco.
A frustrated Pepco region president, Thomas H. Graham, was among those waiting for the all-clear in a hearing room across the street from the State House.
"This was certainly not foreseen," he said.
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