Scorecards reflect different agendas -- Gazette.Net







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Legislators from Montgomery and Prince George’s rated either highly or poorly this month — depending on who was doing the scoring.

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters counted the delegations as strong allies, with legislators from the two suburban Washington, D.C., counties scoring the highest average in the state.

Meanwhile, on the Maryland Business for Responsible Government’s scorecard, delegates from the two counties were among the lowest ranked.

Almost all delegates from Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard counties, all Democrats, scored below 20 percent on the business group’s scorecard.

Meanwhile, the league gave delegates from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties an average score of 97 percent, while state senators from the two counties had an average score of 88 percent. Overall, delegates across the state averaged a 69 percent score, while senators averaged 63 percent.

Legislators who voted against the state’s “flush tax” to improve water quality on the Chesapeake Bay were rated highly by the business group and negatively if they supported it, the opposite of how the league scored it.

The business group also included votes on issues involving taxes and state spending.

"Maryland clearly has a spending problem; not an income problem,” said Ellen Sauerbrey, co-chairwoman of Maryland Business for Responsible Government, which has about 200 supporting companies and individuals.

The business group gave its highest scores to lawmakers from Harford and Cecil counties, plus Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

A dozen senators, all Republicans, had perfect scores.

The league’s annual scorecard rankings are determined based on how lawmakers voted in the previous legislative session on bills deemed environmentally important by the league, which advocates on environmental issues.

The Eastern Shore delegation had the lowest average score, although league officials did not have the exact figures available Monday.

Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park, one of 30 delegates who scored a perfect 100 percent rating from the league, said the Washington, D.C., region understands the importance of protecting the environment.

The two local delegations, for the most part, have a guiding principal that “half-measures aren’t sufficient when you’re talking about protecting the environment and people and land,” Mizeur said.

Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Dist. 22) of University Park, one of eight senators who scored a 100 percent rating, said protecting the Chesapeake Bay is important to all Marylanders.

“Even in the rural areas, people want to see the Bay cleaned up,” he said. “They’re not out there saying, ‘Let’s destroy the Bay.’ They’re asking, what is the cost to them.”