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Md. legislature meets in storm with many members missing

Both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly convened Wednesday morning in Annapolis, just as news was breaking that Montgomery County and the District had suspended plowing operations and Pepco was pulling its repair crews because of hazardous weather conditions.

"To each of you, I'm very proud that you're here," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said shortly after his chamber was gaveled to order at 10:10 a.m. "I think it's important that we are here."

Thirty-two of the 47 senators, many of whom spent the night in Annapolis, made it to the State House.

When the House of Delegates came to order at 10:07 a.m., 99 of its 141 members were present. That figure had grown to 103 before the session ended nearly a half hour later.

The primary order of business conducted in the Senate was the introduction of dozens of bills that needed to be formally read and assigned to committees before they can receive consideration during the 90-day session. The House heard several committee reports on mostly non-controversial bills.

Legislative leaders are loathe to cancel sessions, even on holidays and due to inclement weather. Miller acknowledged that it was a "50-50 call" on Wednesday morning but told his chamber: "We're here. Get it done."

Both Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) praised staff who arrived safely at the State House. Miller did acknowledge one repercussion of the weather: "We only have one person downstairs doing the copying," he told the Senate.

Hearings scheduled for Wednesday afternoon have been canceled, but both chambers are scheduled to reconvene Thursday at 11 a.m.

By John Wagner  |  February 10, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , John Wagner  
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