Some delegates say state dental board unfair to black dentists

April 09, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

On Wednesday, in a state Senate committee hearing, some black delegates accused the state of skewing sanctions against dentists by race.

There's "a tremendous unfairness," Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, D-Baltimore County, said, speaking in favor of a bill to limit and change oversight power of the State Board of Dental Examiners.

She said black dentists often receive stiffer penalties than white dentists.

Among those defending the board, and opposed to the bill, was Dr. David Williams, a dentist who practices in Smithsburg.

Williams, the board's president-elect, said the bill would protect violators, not the public.

Responding to one dentist who testified that he was unfairly targeted, Williams, reading from a consent order, said the dentist used unsterile gloves, left dirty instruments in a sink and didn't have running water, among other problems.

"These are the types of things that we often run into," he said.

The bill - whose co-sponsors include Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr., R-Frederick/Washington - passed the House 134-0 last month.


Hap-py sess-ion tooo you ...

It's easy for state lawmakers to celebrate today: It's the last day of the 2007 Maryland General Assembly session.

There's an added significance for Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington: It's his 59th birthday.

Roses are red, senators are blue

Sen. Jamin B. "Jamie" Raskin, D-Montgomery, entertained his colleagues Wednesday by reciting a poem he wrote, in which all 47 senators are included.

Lines of local interest:

  • Referring to conservative Republicans, including Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington: "They vote red (opposed) on the Big Bang Theory and Charles Darwin - it all seems so loony/How can you study philosophy at Dartmouth and still graduate a Mooney?"

  • "Some party frontwards and backwards, barwards and bedwards/Some drive five hours a day like Senator George Edwards." (yes, it's a long trip from Garrett County to Annapolis)

    Did Raskin run short on time or inspiration when he grouped some names - including Washington County's Donald F. Munson - as "part of no rhymin' pair?"

No offense to Raskin/we're only askin'.

Dogs on duty

Always quick with a joke, Del. Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore City, found an opportunity Tuesday while talking about a serious topic: giving judges more discretion to put drug offenders on parole.

"We've had this drug war for 40 years ... and we still haven't made a dent in the drug problem," Anderson said during a Senate committee hearing, advocating treatment in many cases over incarceration.

As Anderson spoke, two yellow Labs and a black Lab - seeing-eye dogs - led their humans out of the room.

The dogs and owners were in the audience for a previous bill: changing the term "service dog" in state regulations to "service animal."

(What other animal could help people with disabilities? A monkey, the committee found out.)

As the dogs exited, someone in the audience squealed. Anderson cracked, "Bomb-sniffing dogs hit on the public defender's purse."

A knock on Charm City?

The word Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's/Calvert, wanted was "city." The word that came out Thursday instead broke up the Senate.

Miller, the Senate president, tried to announce that a bill related to the Baltimore City sheriff's office was next on the agenda.

In a tongue-tied moment, Miller shifted the "sh" from sheriff to the beginning of the "ity" of "Baltimore city."

"I apologize, please," a smiling Miller said as the chamber roared.

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