Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

December 12, 2012

Bottled up

Finance committee makeup may change for sake of one bill

There seems to be something inherently wrong with changing the makeup of a legislative committee because it is the only way a bill can be moved along.

Unfortunately, that is what Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller may do in the case of offshore wind legislation.

Miller told The Associated Press this week that he will consider — albeit reluctantly — a change in the Senate Finance Committee’s makeup because the panel has repeatedly bottled up offshore wind legislation, preventing the bill to move to the Senate floor for debate.

At the same time, Miller said he would not be as inclined to make changes to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to advance a repeal of capital punishment, even though that bill, too, is locked up in committee. The difference, Miller said, is the offshore wind measure has not been debated on the Senate floor but capital punishment has been debated by the full Senate in prior years.

"I might have to do that in terms of getting out a wind power bill to the floor, because it's been two years now and two years of testimony and two years of hearings, and environmentalists feel that this is an issue that needs to be debated on the floor, as contrasted to the death penalty, where just three years ago we got it to the floor and had extensive debates and it was modified," Miller, D-Calvert, said.

But this begs the question of which other issues are deemed important enough by legislative leadership to change the makeup of a committee. Exactly what criteria would be used?

Miller’s concern about the environment is laudable. "People have to understand that this is a shared burden for improving planet Earth, and moving our state where a number of other states and European countries are going for the benefit of not just our state but the entire planet," he said.

But the danger in playing musical chairs with legislative committees is that a panel might be rigged just to advance a pet bill of the Senate president or the governor.

Let the merits of legislation stand on their on — and if a legislative committee decides to bottle up a bill, so be it. Voters are intelligent enough to hold legislators accountable if they act irresponsibly.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where is it?

    Once upon a time, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce held its annual conventions at the Bedford Springs resort hotel near Bedford, which is in Pennsylvania.

    July 28, 2014

  • Korean War Korean War

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sloppy lawmaking is to blame

    July 27, 2014

  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by Thumbtack.com and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • July 20, 1969 July 20, 1969

    When Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago today, it was until that time the mostwatched television programming in history.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo