Annapolis Notes - Feb. 14

February 13, 2011

A bear armistice

One of Annapolis’ legislative traditions used to be the bear-bill battle of Western Maryland vs. the metro region.

Each year, Del. Barbara A. Frush, D-Anne Arundel/Prince George’s, would submit a bill to eliminate the state’s bear-hunting season.

In response, a Garrett County Republican — George C. Edwards years ago, Wendell R. Beitzel more recently — would respond with a bill calling for black bears to be introduced into every Maryland county.

Now, Beitzel said there’s “an unwritten compromise.” She stopped, so he stopped.

“Delegate Beitzel is such a fine man and has assured me that he does not hunt bears, so we have let it go for a while,” Frush said.

His “Share the Bears” bill was moot, anyway, she said. Bears already are all over the state.

“Bears go where they want to go,” Frush said. “They release themselves.”

“It was never anything personal,” Beitzel said. “It was that we had a difference of opinion on the hunting issue.”

“I have encounters all the time with them where I live,” he continued. “I really don’t have the desire to kill one, but I do strongly believe that we have to control the population.”

Before the Department of Natural Resources oversaw bear hunting, Beitzel said, people illegally controlled the population through the “three S” method: shoot, shovel (burying bears) and shut up.

Partners in Tea

About 20 delegates joined a new Tea Party Caucus in the House, said its founder, Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr., R-Caroline/Cecil/Kent/Queen Anne’s.

Smigiel wrote on his blog that the group espouses “the principles of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and respect for private property rights.”

Del. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington, who formed the Hagerstown TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party in 2009, joined the new caucus.

He wrote in a press release that he created the caucus’ mission statement: “The Maryland House of Delegates Tea Party Caucus is a nonpartisan caucus that values and will seek to establish fiscal responsibility, to enhance free markets, to follow the U.S. and Maryland Constitution models of limited government, and to lower taxes. The caucus will support and sponsor legislation promoting these values and will stand united against legislation that violates these values in Maryland, the Free State.”

Parrott said Del. Michael J. Hough, R-Frederick/Washington, and Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, also joined.

Lobbying for the arts

Washington County again was part of Maryland Arts Day, when arts advocates lobbied in Annapolis on Wednesday for state funding.

Mary Anne Burke of the Washington County Arts Council wrote in an e-mail that the Washington County contingent included her; Rebecca Massie Lane and Wallace Lee of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts; Sam Young, Marcie Howes and Ron Bowers of The Maryland Theatre; and Vicki Willman of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
— Andrew Schotz,

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