Campaign Notes

June 19, 2006|by Staff reports

Candidates invited to Potomac Fish and Game Club

Washington County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs officials have invited local and state candidates to a candidates night on Monday, July 10, at the Potomac Fish and Game Club on Falling Waters Road. The ticket in for candidates is a completed questionnaire.

Seeking all "yes" or "no" answers, the questions include: "Will you support 'concealed firearms permit' legislation such as that in other states, which has been effective in reducing the crime rate in those states?"; "Do you believe hunting, fishing and trapping are legitimate sports?"; and "If elected, will you consult the leadership of the WCFSC on issues of concern to the Federation (such as hunting, fishing, trapping, firearms and gun laws, natural resources and conservation)?"

The federation represents 28 clubs and 12 associate businesses and has a membership of about 6,000 people, according to the letter sent to candidates.

Let's get on the same page

There were a few tense moments Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee for Del. Anthony Brown, D-Prince George's, during a hearing on a bill to tighten monitoring of sex offenders.


Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a candidate for governor, tapped Brown for his lieutenant governor choice several months ago.

But a number of the House Republicans blamed Brown for getting a sex offender bill killed during the regular session because he got mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders amended into the original bill, drawing opposition in the Senate that could not be overcome by the session's deadline.

With O'Malley's running mate sitting stoically at his desk in the committee room during last week's special session, O'Malley's father-in-law, Attorney General Joseph Curran, begged committee members to concentrate on what the two bodies agreed on - the need to better monitor sex offenders when they're released from prison and to better notify communities where they settle.

"If you've got something you can all agree on, please don't be distracted by mandatory minimums," he said. That way, he said, they could get a bill passed.

At that point, Del. Daniel Mayer, a Republican from Charles County, decided to press the matter between O'Malley's father-in-law and his running mate.

"Last time this committee passed two separate bills," he said, one to improve monitoring and notification and another to set mandatory sentences. "The majority party" - and by "majority party" he meant Brown, who is also the Democrats' House Majority Whip - "for some reason put them together and killed both of them. Mr. Attorney General, are you saying we should separate them?"

Curran briefly contemplated his response.

"That's when it seemed to generate conflicts," he said.

For his part, Brown insisted there had been bipartisan support for mandatory minimums.

And ultimately, Brown's gamble paid off - despite some lingering opposition in the Senate, a bill that contained mandatory minimums for the worst sex offenses against children was approved.

And where was the mayor?

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, considered Robert Ehrlich's chief Democratic rival for governor in this year's election, was concentrating on the special session's other issue last week - the deregulation of the electric industry, which has become a huge campaign issue between Ehrlich, O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan.

Ehrlich had negotiated a deal to harness Baltimore Gas & Electric's projected rate increases to its residential consumers, but O'Malley filed suit earlier this year that blocked Ehrlich's deal. Ehrlich complained bitterly in his order for the special session that the suit precipitated the need to call legislators back to Annapolis to work out yet another deal.

And to see for himself that the legislature approved its own plan independent of the governor, O'Malley could be seen, front and center, in the gallery watching the final votes.

When the House passed the bill early Thursday, O'Malley stood, waved and nodded at the legislators, and left.

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