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Annapolis Notes

March 27, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

There must be some misunderstanding



Democratic senators intent on having a say on whether current Cabinet appointees could stay on the job if Gov. Robert Ehrlich wins re-election nearly destroyed their own bill last week.

The bill would require the Senate to reconfirm Cabinet members the governor wants to carry over. Republicans complained the bill targeted Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan, and Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus offered an amendment that would make the bill apply only to appointees with less than a year on the job.

Amazingly, the amendment was approved.

The next day, after Democrats realized what they had allowed, Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, D-Baltimore County, offered her own amendment, which stripped Stoltzfus' amendment out of the bill.

"I put that amendment in to keep one person from being targeted," Stoltzfus said. "I thought that debased us as a body."

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Then, looking square at Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, Stoltzfus said, "I thought I was so convincing on the floor, Mr. President, that you capitulated."

Miller assured Stoltzfus that he didn't think the bill would pass in the House anyway, but that it "was not aimed at any one person, I promise you." The bill, he said, was designed to "empower the Senate no matter who's in office."




Fancy meeting you here



Every city has a few establishments known as the place to see and be seen, and Annapolis has several.

The connections made at O'Brien's Oyster Bar are legendary, but last week the Irish pub Galway Bay hosted perhaps the most unlikely pairing of guests.

Lunching Thursday in the restaurant's main dining room were James "Chip" DiPaula, Gov. Robert Ehrlich's chief of staff, and several other members of the governor's senior staff.

And seated alone at a table nearby was one of Ehrlich's Democratic rivals in the upcoming gubernatorial election, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.




Nice to be at the table



The House approved its version of the state budget last week, and with fewer squabbles than in years past.

Speaking for the outnumbered Republicans, House Minority Leader George Edwards urged his colleagues to vote for the budget after the House Appropriations Committee had made its cuts.

"We fought the battle," he said of himself and other GOP committee members. "We won a few, and lost most, but we were allowed to participate and actually got some changes.




Understatement of the week



"I smell a whiff of partisanship in this process."

- Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, during a floor debate last week on whether to amend portions of "Jessica's Law," which would set mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders, into a larger bill to monitor sex offenders.

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