Legislative battles reveal cracks in ‘One Maryland’
While some have characterized such conflicts as rural versus urban, others see it more as a Democrat versus Republican issue, exacerbated by an influx of new members, including six additional Republicans this year in the 141-member House.
Delegate Norman H. Conway, a Wicomico Democrat who has held office since 1987, said many new delegates were eager to make an immediate impact without forging relationships with legislators from other counties.
“As the new members have the opportunity to become more focused and more involved … I think we’ll move back again and work hard for a ‘One Maryland’ concept,” he said.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George’s Democrat, has downplayed a perceived rural-urban divide, saying many such proposals — including the governor’s septic bill and a bill to place a two-year moratorium on drilling the Marcellus Shale natural-gas reserve in Western Maryland — failed this year because some moderate Democrats in the Assembly stand up for rural areas.
“Just because the governor doesn’t understand certain areas’ needs doesn’t mean the body is going to rush forward with his legislation,” said Mr. Miller, who also represents part of largely rural Calvert County.
“How much fairer can you be?” he said.
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