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Annapolis notes

February 21, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

You snooze, you lose


ANNAPOLIS - Members of the Washington County Delegation have been gathering on Wednesday mornings for the past several weeks to discuss local issues that require state attention during the General Assembly session. When the group assembled last Wednesday, everyone was present except Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Washington/Frederick.

The other legislators pressed on with a discussion about raising the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau's share of the county's hotel tax. After they had all registered their votes, Sen. John Hafer, R-Washington/Allegany/Garrett, thought he'd help the missing senator out.

"Call Mooney's name and I'll vote yes," he told Delegation Chairman Christopher B. Shank.

As the lawmakers moved on to the next item, Mooney darted in.

"Did you raise taxes again?" he asked as he headed for his seat. "Put me down as 'no.'"

What's in a name?


ANNAPOLIS - As the Washington County Delegation discussed the merits of renaming a portion of U.S. 11 for the Fairchild Republic A-10 "Warthog" military aircraft, Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, suggested the legislators consider adding other Fairchild aircraft to the name.

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"Do we want to limit it?" he asked.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, then reminded Shank that the designation had to be limited.

"Remember, it has to go on a highway sign," he said.

Even so, Del. Robert A. McKee insisted the name "Fairchild" had to be included in the "Warthog Highway" moniker.

"If you don't have Fairchild in there, people won't know what it means," he said. "They'll think they're in Arkansas."

Dressed for success


ANNAPOLIS - There's a Thursday tradition in the Maryland Senate that goes back so far that even Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller confessed last week he couldn't remember its origin - nor could most of the participants, for that matter.

Look out on the Senate floor on any Thursday during the General Assembly, and you'll see a sea of senators clad in tan jackets. Some time ago, they started calling themselves the "Camel Caucus" for their Thursday uniforms.

After asking several senators how the tradition started - and finding none who knew - statehouse reporters finally got the skinny from Sen. Leo E. Green, D-Prince George's, who actually remembered.

Seems that a couple of decades ago, "three or four guys showed up with the same coat," Green said. "Macy's had a sale."

From that humble beginning, the Camel Caucus grew to include about half the Senate. It's a bipartisan caucus, Green said, and members don't have to get their coats at Macy's - though when asked where he got his, Green opened his jacket to reveal a Macy's label.

"The nice part about it is when you get up in the morning you know what you're gonna wear," he said.

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