Some senators have a lot more to say
In any group of 47, you're going to find a few who have a whole lot more to say than the others. You can view them as brave individuals who don't shrink from speaking truth to power. Or you can look at them as individuals who love to hear the sound of their own voices. Maybe it's a bit of both.
In the Senate of Maryland, few senators are on their feet more than E. J. Pipkin of the Eastern Shore, Alex Mooney of Frederick County and Andrew Harris of Baltimore County. And today's no different. All have been up multiple times to quiz a bill's floor leader, debate bills or explain votes.
Part of the reason they speak up more is that they are of the opposition party, the Republicans. But even among their fellow GOP senators, these three stand out for the amount of time they spend on their feet. Some of their equally conservative colleagues, for instance Carroll County's Larry Haines or Washington County's Donald Munson, seldom participate in the floor debate and prefer to do their work in committee.
For Harris, today is a Maryland Senate swan song -- at least in this go-round. Next year this time will presumably find him either in Congress -- he's leaving Annapolis to seek the 1st District House seat held by Rep. Frank Kratovil -- or in private life. Democratic senators will not miss his sometimes acerbic cross-examination.
On the Democratic side, Baltimore County's Delores Kelley stands out as a senator with a lot to say on the floor. She does have a way of popping up just as it appears the Senate is about to vote.
In general, the more powerful and influential senators participate minimally in floor debate except when they're presenting bills or answering questions about them.