Winners and Losers
Every 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly sees its share of winners and losers. That is certainly true of the recently concluded one, during which Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) arrived in Annapolis, replacing Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). Here is a look at how some players and issues fared. Add some of your own, if you feel so inclined.
The O'Malley family: First lady and Baltimore District Court Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley has a longer commute to work -- but much, much bigger digs. The O'Malleys traded their relatively cozy four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath Tudor in northeast Baltimore (they put it on the market last week) for a 54-room Georgian-style mansion in the heart of Annapolis. The family's two teenage girls and two younger boys now have more room to roam, three cooks at their disposal and a big-screen TV on which to play video games. Perhaps the biggest winner of all: Scout, the family's terrier, who has a far bigger yard and unsuspecting tourists to bark at all day.
House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore): Granted, it is easier to deliver votes in a mostly Democratic chamber, but the House's new head counter produced bigger numbers than expected on several high-profile bills, including measures to double the tobacco tax, grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants and require a living wage from state contractors.
Corrections Secretary Gary Maynard: The Iowa import emerged as the real rock star in O'Malley's Cabinet when he carried out a secret plan to export inmates from the House of Correction in Jessup and close the antiquated, 129-year-old maximum security prison.
Dels. Murray D. Levy (D-Charles) and John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-St. Mary's): The dynamic duo from Southern Maryland are now considered go-to guys on the budget. The two appropriators merited a joint profile in the Gazette newspaper and an accompanying front-page photograph that spawned a lively caption contest run out of the speaker's office. Look for their clout to increase further as decisions are made to close a looming $1.5 billion budget gap next year.
Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Harford): She demonstrated that having an "R" behind your name doesn't necessarily make you irrelevant in post-Ehrlich Annapolis. Jacobs was a key player on legislation both to impose tougher penalties on sex offenders and to give state's attorneys more tools to prosecute gangs.
Maryland's uninsured: The largest expansion of subsidized health care in years soared through the House of Delegates before crashing in the Senate, where leaders questioned the wisdom of moving ahead, given the looming budget deficit.
Local school budgets: O'Malley disappointed Washington area lawmakers when he decided not to include funding for the index in next year's budget. The long-promised initiative would reward jurisdictions where the cost of education is more expensive. O'Malley tried to make good by introducing a bill that would require the funding in the future. But that fell victim to budget concerns in the legislature.
Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George's): No stranger to controversies, the House Judiciary Committee chairman fueled one late this session when he referenced a 17th-century English jurist who instructed juries to be suspicious of women's claims of rape. Vallario said he was trying to provide his colleagues with a history lesson, but he outraged women's advocates who found his remarks insensitive.
Smokers: The days of lighting up at Maryland bars are numbered. A statewide ban intended to protect patrons and workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke takes effect in February. The issue had shaped up as the session's cliffhanger, but in the end, the floor votes were not even close.
Thomas L. Bromwell: The former senator from Baltimore County showed that it is not necessary to be in office to bring disrepute to the chamber. Transcripts were released by the FBI of conversations in which Bromwell boasted of Comcast being indebted to him for legislation he pushed. Bromwell is expected to face trial on public corruption charges this year.
-- John Wagner
Posted by: gitarre | April 15, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: K in SS | April 16, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Robin Ficker | April 16, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mdhawk | April 16, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hillgirl | April 16, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Rufus | April 17, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Tac | April 17, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.