Annapolis tattoo debate turns into abortion clash
An Annapolis dispatch from the Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz:
A proposal to require parental consent for tattoos and body piercings morphed this morning on the House floor into a heated debate about abortion rights – causing an uproar among Republicans who said they were being unfairly silenced.
It started as an amendment. Del. Gail H. Bates, a Howard County Republican, wanted to expand a tattoo bill to include “other invasive surgical procedures.” Democrats groaned and some immediately stood to stamp out the amendment, calling it out of order because it changed the purpose of the bill, filed by Del. Sue Kullen, a Calvert County Democrat.
Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell, the minority leader, fired back: “Both carry at least some risk of infection.” He went on to argue that the broader subject of the tattoo bill was parental consent, paving the way for Republicans to add other surgical procedures, such as abortion.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a Democrat, sided with parliamentarian, Del. Kathleen M. Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat, and prohibited the "other procedures" amendment.
But O’Donnell initiated a rare appeal to that ruling. During that process, an enraged Del. Michael D. Smigiel stood to call out Democrats.
“This is nothing more than a tyranny of the majority,” he said. “The minority will not have an opportunity to have our voice heard. To deny any voice is to do a disservice to ourselves. We must stand up against the tyranny of the majority”
The appeal died on a 103-35 vote, but Republicans successfully delayed passage of the tattoo bill. O’Donnell said he’d take another shot at writing “an amendment that’s not out of order.”