Miller keeps three from Montgomery on Senate Budget & Taxation Committee
House committee assignments not yet announced
Montgomery County will retain three seats on the powerful Senate Budget & Taxation Committee in the 2011 General Assembly, with Sen.-elect Roger Manno taking the place of defeated Sen. Rona E. Kramer.
There was uncertainty whether the state's most populous jurisdiction would have two or three members on the panel after Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. signaled his desire to trim the committee from 15 to 13.
Kramer's primary election defeat to Sen.-elect Karen S. Montgomery (D-Dist. 14) of Brookeville and the departure of two GOP committee members Sens. Donald F. Munson (R-Dist. 2) of Hagerstown and J. Lowell Stoltzfus (R-Dist. 38) of Westover, who lost in the primary election and retired, respectively could have allowed Miller to simply add another Republican and keep all 10 returning Democrats.
But Miller moved Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, a lawyer, to the Judicial Proceedings Committee and replaced him with Manno. Sen. Richard F. Colburn (R-Dist. 37) of Cambridge is also new to Budget & Taxation.
"It's three votes that we know are going to be good for Montgomery County," said Sen. Nancy J. King, who, along with Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington, represents Montgomery County on the committee.
And with fewer overall members on the panel, "the leverage weight of each one of our seats is actually greater than it was last year, which I don't think any of us expected," said Manno (D-Dist. 19) of Silver Spring, who served on the Economic Matters Committee as a member of the House of Delegates for the last four years.
"I think it demonstrates that the [Senate] president understands the importance of our delegation, not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of how much the county is a player in revenue that the state brings in and how so many of the crown jewel resources and assets of the state are in Montgomery County," he added.
County lawmakers' top budget priority should be identifying a solution to the state pension crisis that does not disproportionately harm Montgomery, she said.
"There are people across the state that think we're so rich and our streets are paved in gold and that sort of thing," said King (D-Dist. 39) of Montgomery Village. "When they see the numbers and they see the amount of poverty that we have and the kind of fiscal issue that we're dealing with, just like everybody else, it's very helpful to have that third person from Montgomery County just to help convey that message."
Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden (D-Dist. 45) of Baltimore will be the committee's new vice chairman, filling a vacancy left when Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer (D-Dist. 12) of Columbia was elevated to chairman after Sen. Ulysses Currie stepped down following a federal indictment. Currie (D-Dist. 25) of Forestville will remain a member of the panel.
In a statement, Miller (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach acknowledged the important task of making "serious choices about our budget and policy priorities as we emerge from the recession."
Meanwhile, Judicial Proceedings will have more legal expertise with three additional attorneys joining its ranks.
In addition to Zirkin (D-Dist. 11) of Owings Mills, Sens.-elect Victor R. Ramirez (D-Dist. 47) of Cheverly and Joseph M. Getty (R-Dist. 5) of Manchester were assigned to the panel. Sen.-elect Christopher B. Shank (R-Dist. 2) of Hagerstown, who is not a lawyer but served six years on the House Judiciary Committee, also will join JPR.
Sens. Bryan W. Simonaire (R-Dist. 31) of Pasadena and C. Anthony Muse (D-Dist. 26) of Fort Washington were both moved off Judicial Proceedings.
Simonaire's destination, the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, will have six new members. It grew from nine to 11 members and saw four former members lose re-elections bids, run for another office or receive a different assignment.
The panel that was least affected by the newest assignments was the Finance Committee, with Muse and Sen.-elect James. N. Mathias Jr. (D-Dist. 38) of Ocean City taking the place of ousted Sens. George W. Della Jr. (D-Dist. 46) of Baltimore and Nathaniel Exum (D-Dist. 24) of Capitol Heights.
Committee assignments for the House of Delegates have not yet been announced.
2011 Senate Committee Assignments
Budget and Taxation
Edward J. Kasemeyer, Chair
Nathaniel J. McFadden, Vice-Chair
David R. Brinkley
Richard F. Colburn (Moved from EHEA)
James E. DeGrange Sr.
George C. Edwards
Verna L. Jones
Nancy J. King
Richard S. Madaleno Jr.
Douglas J.J. Peters
James N. Robey
Education, Health and Environmental Affairs
Joan Carter Conway, Chair
Roy P. Dyson, Vice-Chair
*Joanne C. Benson
*Karen S. Montgomery
Paul G. Pinsky
Edward R. Reilly
James C. Rosapepe
Bryan W. Simonaire (Moved from JPR)
*Ronald N. Young
Thomas M. Middleton, Chair
John C. Astle, Vice-Chair
Robert J. Garagiola
Delores G. Kelley
Allan H. Kittleman
Katherine A. Klausmeier
*James N. Mathias Jr.
C. Anthony Muse (Moved from JPR)
Catherine E. Pugh
Brian E. Frosh, Chair
Lisa A. Gladden, Vice-Chair
*Joseph M. Getty
Jennie M. Forehand
Jamin B. (Jamie) Raskin
Norman R. Stone Jr.
Robert A. Zirkin (Moved from B&T)
*Victor R. Ramirez
*Christopher B. Shank