Batter Up: Lawmakers scored on various agendas
'Tis the season for scorecards. And I’m not talking about baseball. Around this time of year, after lobbyists and special interest groups have had time to regroup from the General Assembly session, they begin to assess how their agendas fared. Or rather, they rate how well state lawmakers did in enacting those agendas.
The Progressive Maryland Education Fund released its report Tuesday, scoring lawmakers using votes on nine bills, including public campaign financing, labor union service fees, mandatory shift breaks, and stronger regulation of energy markets. The fund is an offshoot of Progressive Maryland, a coalition of unions, community groups and clergy members that champions causes they deem important to working families.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the House of Delegates rated as more "progressive" than the Senate. But surprisingly, the group singled out Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, considered a more conservative Democrat than some of his liberal colleagues, as a "hero" for throwing his support behind public funding for political campaigns. House Speaker Michael E. Busch fell just shy of the score needed to be a hero.
To see the scorecard, click here.
Other groups that have released similar rankings include Equality Maryland, the leading organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Equality Maryland found the House of Delegates to be more gay-friendly on a range of legislation, from a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and a constitutional amendment banning it -- neither of which passed -- and other measures that confer certain spousal rights to same-sex couples. In the Senate, 14 of 47 members scored a zero, including one Democrat, Sen. James E. DeGrange of Anne Arundel County.
The gay-rights scorecard can be found here.
In keeping with the theme, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters also found the House to be a more receptive lot. A majority of delegates scored 80 percent or better, while a majority of senators scored less than that. The league tracked votes on a climate-change bill that passed and calls for 25 percent reduction in global-warming pollution by 2020 as well as measures that addressed stormwater runoff, septic tanks, energy efficient buildings and water pollution penalties.
That scorecard can be found here.