Annapolis Notes

April 25, 2012

Comparing forum attendance
Some Washington County delegation members expressed their appreciation Tuesday night for the sizable crowd — about 60 people — that attended a forum reviewing the recent Maryland General Assembly session.
Del. Andrew A. Serafini and other delegation members preferred this year to have an evening meeting at no charge.
That broke from an annual tradition in which the delegation publicly reviewed the 90-day session at a chamber of commerce breakfast. The public paid to attend.
“In my 22 years, I think this is the biggest crowd we’ve had at any of these meetings,” Del. John P. Donoghue said Tuesday.
“I think the crowd has probably quadrupled since last year,” Sen. Christopher B. Shank said.
Last year, the delegation started its philosophical split from the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, but didn’t make a full break.
The delegation appeared at a chamber breakfast forum on May 11, 2011. About 60 people attended, according to a reporter’s rough count at the time.
That evening, the delegation hosted a free event, also to recap the session. About 20 people were in the audience.
Later this year, the delegation hopes to work with several government bodies and community groups, including the chamber, on a single forum before the 2013 legislative session, rather than holding a separate event with each group, Serafini said.
That way, the delegation can reach the most people at one time, he said.

The audience speaks
Audience questions and comments at Tuesday’s post-legislative forum covered a range of topics, from taxes to guns.
Brenda Evans wanted to know if there was a limit to how many special sessions a governor can call. (She was told that there isn’t.)
Oscar Evans challenged the state’s “flush” tax, saying the money is sometimes diverted from the Chesapeake Bay fund.
Gerald Ditto talked about land rights.
Joe Lane criticized delegation members who voted against legalizing same-sex marriage, calling it a matter of religious freedom.
Denny Stouffer urged the delegation to “keep up the fight” for laws letting people lawfully carry a weapon.
Ray Givens complimented members of the delegation for appreciating the value of tax dollars.
He also praised Del. John P. Donoghue — who had left by then — for sticking to his convictions and voting against legalizing same-sex marriage despite pressure for Democrats to support the bill.
“Delegate Donoghue, I’m sorry he left. He showed a lot of courage,” Givens said.
“Well, he left whenever Denny Stouffer said he had a gun,” Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. joked.

Serafini has last word
Del. Andrew A. Serafini, as delegation chairman, let all of the other lawmakers give their concluding remarks before he did.
“Unlike in my marriage, I’m going to have the last word tonight,” he quipped.

— Andrew Schotz

The Herald-Mail Articles