- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 14, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Three hours before the Maryland General Assembly session ended, Gov. Parris N. Glendening dropped by the State House press room to gloat a little.
Just minutes earlier, his aides had passed out a news release trumpeting the accomplishments of his eighth and last session as governor.
Mr. Glendening said last Monday night that almost all of his priorities had been approved, not so bad for a governor portrayed in some news stories as a lame duck.
But legislators were not so generous in their assessment of Mr. Glendening's role in the 90-day session.
Key lawmakers said his scorecard looked good in part because he offered only a modest agenda. And they said he played a much less significant role in shaping the final budget than in previous years.
"The governor's influence was clearly less than usual," said Sen. Robert R. Neall, Anne Arundel Democrat. "He stayed involved, but he had a very narrow focus."
House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. said the governor was not quite as engaged as usual.
"Frankly, I think he had to be somewhat preoccupied with redistricting, probably somewhat preoccupied with his future," said Mr. Taylor, Allegany Democrat.
For his last session, the Democratic governor focused on the environment and higher education, two of his priorities throughout his tenure as governor, and anti-terrorism bills.
But his legislative package did not include contentious issues, such as homosexual rights and gun control, which Mr. Glendening had muscled through the legislature in earlier years by using the powers of his office.
"He did get a few things passed, but not to the magnitude of previous years," said Delegate James F. Ports Jr., the House Republican whip from Baltimore County.
Mike Morrill, Mr. Glendening's communications director, said lawmakers were not looking for a big, ambitious program from the governor this year because of a tight budget situation and because this is an election year.
"They said very specifically that they did not want him to bring down a controversial agenda. They got what they asked for," he said.
Mr. Morrill said Mr. Glendening won on his environmental priorities, which included extending state regulation to the Eastern Shore's coastal bays and overriding court rulings that had weakened the law restricting development near the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

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