- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2012

Virginia Delegate Scott A. Surovell, Fairfax Democrat, is no fan of House measure passed last week that would grant civil and criminal immunity to residents who use deadly force on those who break into their homes.

And he used a creative example — and a clever turn of phrase — on the chamber floor to make his point.

He told members about how he lived in a house with 28 other guys some time ago, eliciting oohs and aahs from his peers (it was a fraternity house, he explained.)

“A lot of folks were told to leave after they had a good time,” he said. “This [bill] says if they raise their fist, we can turn a fraternity house basement into a state sanctioned ultimate fighting ring.”

Mr. Surovell added the zinger that there was not a single person in the chamber who “would rather be judged by 12 of their peers, than be carried by six people.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Surovell’s testimony was not as well received by the Republican-controlled House as the story provided by Delegate Anne B. Crockett-Stark, Wythe Republican. She relayed a story about an 82-year-old constituent who held a gun up against an intruder and asked him if he wanted to eat breakfast with the devil.

The man fled, the woman shot at him, and she was eventually held liable.

Therefore, the House should pass the bill, Ms. Crockett-Stark said. She received a standing ovation.

Gray over the moon — not

Last month, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich suggested the moon could become the 51st state.

His bold statement made headlines shortly before D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council members trekked to Concord, N.H., to garner support for the District, ya’ know, being the first pick in the statehood draft.

It was fodder for humorous conversation on the van ride from the airport to the statehouse, with Mr. Gray, a Democrat, noting there weren’t too many voters on the earth’s natural satellite.

And he hasn’t let the Gingrich comment drift into outer space.

Mr. Gray brought it up last week in his State of the District Address as part of comments on statehood, which prompted a standing ovation from many attendees at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Northwest.

“Yes, we should become a state before the moon does,” he told the audience.

He might have a case. The District is almost 70 square miles with a population of roughly 600,000. The moon is almost 15 million square miles and nobody lives there. So clearly, D.C. residents pay a higher amount of federal taxes per capita.
Then again, as one New Hampshire legislator pointed out, that just means we make more money than the moon-men.

Under Armor, under current?

The Maryland House honored one of the state’s most successful entrepreneurs last week, when it welcomed Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank to receive the Speaker’s Medallion, an award given twice annually to former lawmakers and influential Marylanders.

Mr. Plank, 39, became the youngest person to ever receive the award, given to him by House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat.

“It is a great honor to be here today, especially receiving this honor from someone who very much knows how to protect his House,” Mr. Plank said, invoking the well-known slogan of his Baltimore-based athletic apparel company.

Mr. Plank, a University of Maryland, College Park alum, showed his appreciation by giving legislators a few gifts — two of the school’s “Maryland Pride” football jerseys and two matching helmets, all adorned with the distinctive red-and-white and black-and-gold patterns of the state’s flag.

One helmet was given to Mr. Busch and the other was given jointly to the 141-member chamber. But the speaker gave his the next day to the heavily outnumbered, 43-member Republican caucus as a show of goodwill.

House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell, Calvert Republican, thanked Mr. Busch for the gesture but joked that perhaps there was a reason he gave them protective headgear in a session thus far dominated by talks of proposed tax hikes and legalization of same-sex marriage.

“Maybe he thought we might need it in the session,” Mr. O’Donnell said.

— David Hill, Tom Howell Jr. and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.



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