Category Archives: senate

GOP Fails to Stop Dem Push for Internet Privacy Protection

Vote to Allow Late Introduction of Internet Privacy Bill

Yesterday, Adam Pagnucco reported how Republicans in the House of Delegates voted narrowly to prevent the late introduction of a bill by Del. Bill Frick (D-16) designed to protect companies from selling your internet records to anybody, including scammers. Frick introduced this bill in the wake of action by the Republicans in the U.S. Congress to do away with these protections.

Good news today from the Maryland Senate.

On a party line vote, or at least what looks like one based on my eyeballing of the above vote, Senate Democrats pushed successfully to allow the late introduction to the bill and to send it immediately to the Senate Finance Committee for review.

The bill was introduced by Sen. James Rosapepe (D-21) and cosponsored by Sens. Lee, Astle, Benson, Conway, Currie, Feldman, Ferguson, Guzzone, Kagan, Kasemeyer, Kelley, King, Madaleno, Manno, Mathias, McFadden, Middleton, Muse, Nathan-Pulliam, Oaks, Peters, Pinsky, Ramirez, Robinson, Smith, Young, and Zucker.

This list of cosponsors includes the entire Montgomery delegation. Indeed, it includes all Senate Democrats, except, Sens. Brochin, Ferguson, Klausmeier, Miller, and Zirkin. All five voted to move forward with the bill.

Ervin Canvassing Support for Senate Vacancy

valerieervinglogoFormer Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin is already canvassing support for the expected vacancy in the State Senate when Eighth Congressional District Democratic Nominee Jamie Raskin wins election to the U.S. House.

Ervin represented District 5 on the County Council from 2006 until she stepped down in 2014. She served on the Board of Education for two years prior to winning her Council seat. After leaving public office, Ervin served as the Director of the Center for Working Families and then the National Participatory Democracy Project.

Though Ervin worked most recently for progressive causes, she had excellent ties with the business community during her time on the Council. Earlier this year, she briefly sought the Democratic nomination for the Eighth Congressional District but abandoned the race due to fundraising difficulties.

Despite this setback, Ervin will be a formidable candidate. In the Washington Post, Ervin expressed her frustration at Donna Edwards’s defeat and her strong belief that the party needs more diverse candidates.  Ironically, for the Maryland Senate, this may not be the best comparison as black men are much more underrepresented than black women.

Six of the nine of African-American senators are women, so black women are 12.7% of the Senate membership, as compared to 15.8% of the population – a gap of 3.1%. In contrast, black men comprise 6.4% of the Senate, less than one-half their share of Maryland’s population.

A more advantageous comparison for Ervin is within Montgomery County, which has no African-American senators, though blacks are 18.8% of the population. Three of Montgomery’s eight senators are women – a decline of one from after the election due to the replacement of Karen Montgomery by Craig Zucker.

Regardless, as likely the most experienced politician by far to seek the vacancy, Ervin would bring much more to the race than her race or gender, though both would be assets to a Democratic Party seeking more diversity in its legislative delegation.

In the wake of Edwards’s defeat, Ervin has been hesitant to support Democratic U.S. Senate Nominee Chris Van Hollen. This may just be an election night reaction after a tough loss but she’d do herself a lot of good with the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, which will fill any vacancy, if she’d endorse him quickly.

Robin Frazier Meet Bus

Robin Frazier, the singing, defeated, blogger bait county commissioner who is also the Carroll County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) choice for Carroll’s vacant senate seat, is already getting thrown under the bus in the first bipartisan act of the incoming Hogan administration.

Len Lazerick at Maryland Reporter has the story (quotes below are from him). Key updates:

1. Governor-Elect Larry Hogan is already looking for ways not to have to appoint Robin Frazier to Carroll’s vacant Senate seat:

“We think there could be more transparency,” Hogan told reporters Tuesday. “We’d like to encourage them to make the process more transparent.”

“Our hands are not tied” by the central committee actions so far, Hogan said. “They’re supposed to send three names.”

While the three names claim seems to be a work of fiction, it speaks volumes to Hogan’s sensible desire to find another candidate without having to say it aloud.

2. Senate President Mike Miller doesn’t want her. He has also given the CCRCC an out by pointing out that the vacancy does not exist yet, as no one has resigned their seat. Sounds like an even better excuse for a mulligan.

3. Outgoing Sen. Joe Getty has been tasked to solve the problem:

Two of those sources also indicated that Hogan has told Getty to “fix” the problem prior to his appointment.

Getty said given his role in the Hogan transition, “my position is whatever the governor’s position would be” and he would not comment further.

Interesting response by Getty.

Sen. Getty and Del. Justin Ready, who lost the CCRCC vote to Frazier by 5-4, do not get along. For Getty, a Frazier appointment has two virtues. It would keep out Ready and fill the seat with a very weak incumbent. If Getty should leave the Hogan administration, he would be well positioned to seek his old seat again in 2018. So I wonder if Getty is now having to work to undo something he supported–or at least did not discourage.

4. Republican Del. Krebs has publicly condemned the process:

Four-term Carroll County Republican Del. Susan Krebs, the top vote-getter in the general election for three-member District 5, said, “I did not apply for the vacancy because I knew it was going to be a sham. I want people to know that I did not apply.”
“This central committee did not support Hogan,” Krebs noted.
Yikes. And to think these people are supposed to be playing for the same team.

UPDATE: Carroll County GOP Frazier Follies

Over at Free State Notes, Walter Olson has a valuable update on the Carroll County Republican Central Committee’s (CCRCC) appointment of whackadoodle Robin Frazier to fill the vacancy caused by Sen. Joe Getty’s acceptance of a position in the Hogan administration:

(1) Although I wrote that “nobody puts crazy in the corner,” I had not realized that Frazier had ran a write-in campaign for County Commissioner against her own party’s nominee after losing the primary that garnered a whopping 9% of the vote. Makes her a doubly news of the weird choice by CCRCC.

(2) One of the people who voted on the vacancy was an employee of outgoing Commissioner Frazier.

(3) 2000 people have already signed an online petition against the appointment–more than voted for Frazier in the Republican primary–and they have gained support from one member of the Carroll County Commission.

(4) Michael Stewart over at Red Maryland has inveighed against both the secret process (the vote and who was considered were secret) and the decision to appoint this person twice rejected by the voters at the polls. Republicans are livid over this travesty.

(5) Frederick County Councilmember Kirby Delauter must be eternally grateful that Robin Frazier has distracted attention from his own stupidity and public humiliation.

Gov. Martin O’Malley found a way out of having the follow through with a disastrous appointment by the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee. Let’s hope that Gov. Elect Larry Hogan can do the same.

Question: Will this help inspire bipartisan support for reform of the appointment process?

Bizarro World of Carroll County GOP Politics

Former Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier made herself blogger bait when she decided to sing part of the 2014 State of the County address. Unfortunately, her oeuvre has been taken down from YouTube and now, I fear, lost to posterity.

Frazier made the big time news when she violated a court order (follow link for video) regarding prayer at Commission meetings:

Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier opened a meeting of the Commission with a prayer invoking Jesus Christ despite a federal court order. She views the order as a wrongly issued violation of her First Amendment rights.

Frazier is “willing to go to jail” and said that America will soon be “all the way to Communism if we don’t start standing up and saying no.” She lumped the anti-prayer ruling with plots to take away guns, palm scan her children, and take away property rights through Plan Maryland.

As I mentioned at the time, her raving looney views (rather than her commitment to religion) and odd behavior placed her in electoral danger even in a Republican primary. Indeed, this former member of the Ehrlich administration lost the primary to Stephen Wantz by 56% to 38%–a sound thrashing for the incumbent.

But nobody puts crazy in the corner.

Highly regarded Sen. Joe Getty is giving up his Senate seat to work in the Hogan administration. According to Maryland’s process for filling General Assembly vacancies, the Carroll County Republican Central Committee chooses his replacement. And they’ve selected Frazier over Del. Justin Ready.

Please tell me that only Carroll Republican Central Committee members think that an incumbent losing renomination after acting like a guest star on Law & Order or the latest Nancy Grace vehicle is grounds for promotion to a Maryland Senate seat. You can’t blame Carroll’s Republican voters–they tried and now they will be “represented” by Frazier in the General Assembly for the next four years.

Miller Announces Committee Assignments

From the Press Release:

Senate President Miller Announces New Committee Assignments

Annapolis, MD – Today, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., announced new committee assignments effective upon the swearing in of the newly elected Senate.

“These committee assignments reflect the diversity and unique background and knowledge of each of our Senators and Senators-Elect. I am pleased to announce these appointments and know that these Senators will be very successful in these roles,” said Senate President Miller. “We have incredible talent and knowledge in the Maryland Senate and I am certain all of these appointments will serve our State well.”

The following Senators and Senators-Elect have been appointed to the following committees.

Budget & Taxation Committee

·         Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer (D-12, Howard & Baltimore Counties) – Chair
·         Senator Richard S. Madaleno (D-18, Montgomery County) – Vice-Chair
·         Senator Ulysses Currie (D-25, Prince George’s County)
·         Senator James “Ed” DeGrange (D-32, Anne Arundel County)
·         Senator-Elect Adelaide C. Eckardt (R-37, Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties)
·         Senator George Edwards (R-1, Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties)
·         Senator Bill Ferguson (D-46, Baltimore City)
·         Senator Joseph Getty (R-5, Carroll County)
·         Senator-Elect Guy J. Guzzone (D-13, Howard County)
·         Senator Nancy J. King (D-39, Montgomery County)
·         Senator Roger Manno (D-19, Montgomery County)
·         Senator Nathaniel McFadden (D-45, Baltimore City)
·         Senator Douglas J. J. Peters (D-23, Prince George’s County)

Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee

·         Senator Joan Carter Conway (D-43, Baltimore City) – Chair
·         Senator Paul G. Pinsky (D-22, Prince George’s County) – Vice-Chair
·         Senator-Elect Gail Bates (R-9, Howard & Carroll Counties)
·         Senator-Elect Cheryl C. Kagan (D-17, Montgomery County)
·         Senator Karen S. Montgomery (D-14, Montgomery County)
·         Senator-Elect Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D-44, Baltimore County & Baltimore City)
·         Senator Jim Rosapepe (D-21, Prince George’s & Anne Arundel Counties)
·         Senator-Elect Johnny Ray Salling (R-6, Baltimore County)
·         Senator Bryan Simonaire (R-31, Anne Arundel County)
·         Senator-Elect Steve Waugh (R-29, St. Mary’s & Calvert Counties)
·         Senator Ronald N. Young (D-3, Frederick County)

Finance Committee

·         Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-28, Charles County) – Chair
·         Senator John C. Astle (D-30, Anne Arundel County) – Vice-Chair
·         Senator Joanne C. Benson (D-24, Prince George’s County)
·         Senator Brian J. Feldman (D-15, Montgomery County)
·         Senator Stephen S. Hershey, Jr. (R-36, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Cecil, and Caroline Counties)
·         Senator J.B. Jennings (R-7, Baltimore & Harford Counties)
·         Senator Delores Kelley (D-10, Baltimore County)
·         Senator Kathy Klausmeier (D-8, Baltimore County)
·         Senator James N. Mathias (D-38, Somerset, Wicomico, & Worcester Counties)
·         Senator Catherine Pugh (D-40, Baltimore City)
·         Senator Edward R. Reilly (R-33, Anne Arundel County)

Judicial Proceedings Committee

·         Senator Bobby Zirkin (D-11, Baltimore County) – Chair
·         Senator Lisa Gladden (D-41, Baltimore City) – Vice-Chair
·         Senator Jim Brochin (D-42, Baltimore County)
·         Senator-Elect Bob Cassilly (R-34, Harford County)
·         Senator-Elect Michael J. Hough (R-4, Frederick & Carroll Counties)
·         Senator C. Anthony Muse (D-26, Prince George’s County)
·         Senator-Elect Wayne Norman (R-35, Harford & Cecil Counties)
·         Senator Victor R. Ramirez (D-47, Prince George’s County)
·         Senator Jamin “Jamie” Raskin (D-20, Montgomery County)
·         Senator Christopher Shank (R-2, Washington County)
·         Senator-Elect Susan C. Lee (D-16, Montgomery County)

Miller Announces New Senate Leadership

Today, Senate President Mike Miller announced his new leadership team. Except for Sen. Ed DeGrange from Anne Arundel, all are from either Baltimore, Montgomery or Prince George’s–for the excellent reason that these jurisdictions provide the majority of the Democratic Caucus.

Committee Leadership

Much speculation surrounded who would take incoming AG Brian Frosh’s place as Chair of Judicial Proceedings, and the post has gone to Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who played leadership roles in efforts to decriminalize marijuana and tighten the responsibility of dog owners for attacks by unleashed dogs. Sen. Lisa Gladden will remain Vice Chair of this committee.

Sen. Jamie Raskin now heads the Executive Nominations Committee with Sen. Delores Kelley serving as Vice Chair. Less exciting during unified government, this committee will likely play a much stronger role–particularly in the next few months–with the Senate controlled by Democrats and the governorship by the Republicans.

Sen. Rich Madaleno also advances to Vice Chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Interestingly, he now holds the same posts as U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen did when he was in the MD Senate. Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, a comparatively moderate Democrat, will remain chair, which likely makes Madaleno a key progressive point person on budget issues.

Besides serving as Chair of the Montgomery County Senate delegation, Sen. Nancy King will now serve as Chair of the Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Another progressive, Sen. Paul Pinsky, advances to Vice Chair of Education, Health and Environmental Affairs. Sen. Joan Carter Conway remains the Chair of this Committee. This committee also remains a likely flashpoint between the Governor-Elect and the Democratic General Assembly.

Additional appointments, including a slew of new faces in the party leadership, including Sen. Catherine Pugh–a leader from Baltimore City–as Majority Leader are announced in the full press release:

SENATE PRESIDENT MILLER ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENTS

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. announced the first round of new leadership appointments effective for the new legislative session. “We are blessed in the Senate to have a wealth of talent and wisdom to help lead the state forward,” stated Senator Miller. “These members will provide the leadership to move our state and chamber forward.”

Senator Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County, D-11) will become the Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senator Zirkin has served on the Judicial Proceedings Committee during his time in the Senate, and served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee during his time in the House. “Senator Zirkin has been a key leader on judicial issues, and I know he is the right person to lead this committee,” stated Senator Miller. “His work in the legislature, and in his law practice provides him with the real-world experience that will allow him to lead the Judicial Proceedings Committee through the many difficult issues they will face.” Senator Lisa Gladden will remain Vice-Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Senator Jamie Raskin (Montgomery County, D-20) will serve as Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. Senator Raskin has served in the Senate since 2007, and has served as a member of many important committees including Legislative Ethics, and Judicial Proceedings. Since 2012, Senator Raskin has also served as Majority Whip. “Senator Raskin’s ability to lead on key issues, and knowledge of this state will serve well as Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee,” stated Senator Miller. “Additionally, his legal knowledge and strong moral compass will make him a perfect fit for the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.” Senator Delores Kelley will serve as Vice-Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee

Senator Richard S. Madaleno (Montgomery County, D-18) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee. Senator Madaleno has served in the Senate since 2007, all on the Budget & Taxation Committee. He will also serve as Chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee. “Senator Madaleno is one of the brightest budget minds in the Senate, and his leadership on a wide variety of budget issues will be critically important as we face looming deficits and difficult times ahead.” stated Senator Miller. “I am confident that Senator Madaleno will continue to be an effective advocate for the best interest of the entire state.” Senator Edward Kasemeyer will continue to serve as Chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee

Senator Paul G. Pinsky (Prince George’s County, D-22) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Senator Pinsky has served on the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee in the Senate since 1994, and as the Chair of the Education Subcommittee since 2003. “Senator Pinsky has the depth of knowledge of the issues needed to help guide this committee,” stated Senator Miller. “His keen understanding of educational and environmental issues will be an asset to our state moving forward.” Senator Joan Carter Conway will continue to serve as Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee.

Senator James “Ed” DeGrange (Anne Arundel County, D-32) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Rules Committee. Senator DeGrange has served in the Senate since 1998, and has formerly served as Vice-Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, and currently serves as Chair of the Public Safety, Transportation, and Environment Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee, as well as Chair of the Capital Budget Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Senator DeGrange will continue in both these roles. Said Senator Miller: “Senator DeGrange is a true leader in the Senate and his longevity and leadership will ensure that the Rules Committee will have a strong voice as Vice-Chair.” Senator Katherine Klausmeier will continue to serve as Chair of the Committee on Rules.

Senator Nancy J. King (Montgomery County, D-39) will serve as Chair of the Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee, and will continue to serve as Assistant Deputy Majority Leader. “Senator King is a leader on budgetary issues in the Senate, and a key member of the Budget & Taxation committee,” stated Senator Miller. “As Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee Chair, Senator King will make certain we look out for the needs of all Marylanders.”

In addition to committee leadership, Senator Miller today announced Caucus leadership for the Senate Democratic Caucus. “We thank Senator Jim Robey for his service to our Caucus and our state. I am proud to announce the new Caucus leadership who will continue to make sure that as Democrats we continue to have a large tent that hears the views of all Democrats and all Marylanders.”

Senator Catherine Pugh (Baltimore City, D-40) will serve as Majority Leader. Senator Pugh has served in the Senate since 2007, has served as Deputy Majority Leader since 2011, and is the former Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Senator Pugh has the respect and admiration of her colleagues throughout the Caucus and the Senate,” stated Senator Miller. “She has a strong grasp on the issues and will be a strong voice for the needs of all Marylanders.”

Senator Douglas J. J. Peters (Prince George’s County, D-23) will serve as Caucus Chair. Additionally, Senator Peters will serve as the Chair of the Pensions Subcommittee of the Budget & Taxation Committee. Senator Peters has served in the Senate since 2007, and has served as Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation and Chair of the Veteran’s Caucus. “Senator Peters has been a strong leader in the Senate and will serve the Caucus well as its Chair,” stated Senator Miller. “His commitment and devotion to the State of Maryland and knowledge of budgetary issues will help to lead this state through the upcoming session.”

Senator Katherine Klausmeier (Baltimore County, D-8) will serve as the Deputy Majority Leader. Senator Klausmeier has served in the Senate since 2003, and the General Assembly since 1995. “Senator Klausmeier brings a unique perspective to our Caucus, and one that helps bind together and ensure that all areas and perspectives of our state continue to be heard,” stated Senate Miller. “I am excited to have her serve our Caucus in this key leadership role.” Senator Klausmeier will also continue to serve as Chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

Republican Senate Conservatism Varies–But Not Too Much

GOP SenToday, 7S looks at Republicans using the data provided by Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty of state legislator ideology. Remember that a more positive score indicates a more conservative senator, so the bottom of the table are the most conservative. Put another way, the closer to zero, the more moderate the senator. These scores are for the legislator’s entire career in the General Assembly and include House as well as Senate service.

Republican scores range from 0.330 for Sen. George Edwards (R-Garrett, Allegany and Washington) and 1.200 for Senator-Elect Gail Bates (R-Howard). (Three incoming Republican senators do not have scores because they have never served in the General Assembly.) In contrast, the most progressive Democrat, Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery), has a score of -1.864 and the most moderate Democrat, Sen. Jim Brochin (D-Baltimore County) receives a rating of -0.285.

Two of the three most moderate Republicans represent Western Maryland–Edwards and Sen. Christopher Shank (R-Washington). However, the two Eastern Shore Republicans are not close ideologically with Senator-Elect Addie Eckardt (R-Mid Shore) more moderate than Sen. Steve Hershey (R-Upper Shore).

Similarly, the two Anne Arundel senators are not an ideological matched set. Sen. Ed Reilly (R-Anne Arundel) is the second most conservative senator while Sen. Bryan Simonaire (Anne Arundel) is more moderate, though the ideological distance is smaller than for the two Shore Republicans.

Perhaps most critical is that all Republicans are notably more conservative than all Democrats. The distance between the most moderate Democrat and Republican (0.615) is greater than that between the most conservative Republican, Senator-Elect Bates, and the second most “moderate” Republican, Senator-Elect Eckardt. And even the most moderate Republcian, Sen. Edwards, is closer to all but three Republicans than the most moderate Democrat.

Ten Most Progressive Senators

ProgSen

In the Maryland Senate, all of the incoming Democrats will be more liberal than all of the Republicans. But who are currently the most progressive of the 47 state senators?

Using the same dataset provided by Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty of state legislator ideology mentioned in previous posts, the above table lists the most progressive senators. Remember that a more negative score indicates a more progressive senator. These scores are for the legislator’s entire career in the General Assembly and include House as well as Senate service.

The most consistently progressive member of the Maryland Senate is Rich Madaleno, who represents District 18 (Chevy Chase, Kensington and Wheaton) in Montgomery County. Indeed, six of the most liberal senators represent MoCo–Madaleno (#1), Manno (#3), Lee, (#4) Montgomery (#5), King (#7), and Raskin (#10).

Three of the others on the list are African-American women from Prince George’s or Baltimore: Conway (#6), Nathan Pulliam (#8), and Benson (#9). The final member of the list is Paul Pinsky, who hails from Prince George’s and is the second most progressive member of the Senate after Madaleno.