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Most delegates make it to Annapolis to find many meetings canceled

February 19, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Del. Robert A. McKee had the Lowe House Office Building all to himself Monday night.

McKee, R-Washington, drove to Annapolis for the Maryland General Assembly's regularly scheduled 8 p.m. session only to find the state capital a virtual ghost town because of the snowstorm.

McKee didn't know that for the first time in recent memory the legislature had canceled its regularly scheduled Monday night session.

McKee realized something was amiss when he turned to enter the underground parking garage and was greeted by a wall of snow.

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He found a space in a nearby parking lot and trudged his way through unshoveled sidewalks to the empty office building. Since he was already there he got some work done.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, decided to spend the weekend in Annapolis so he wouldn't have to travel in bad weather.

But the rest of the eight-member Washington County delegation, with one exception, arrived on Tuesday.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, did not attend the brief noon session. There was little work to miss as many of the legislature's public hearings were canceled.

Of the 188 lawmakers, all but 38 made Tuesday's session.

That included Sen. John J. Hafer, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington, who lives 16 miles from the Western Maryland mountain ridgetop that received 49 inches of snow.

Hafer said his neighbors and friends used plows and snowblowers to dig him out.

"One of them came over and said, 'We got a Republican governor now, we've got to get you down there,'" Hafer said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich was using a Humvee to get around the slushy streets of Annapolis.

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