Showing posts with label karen montgomery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label karen montgomery. Show all posts

Thursday, December 3, 2015

BREAKING: Maryland Senator Karen Montgomery To Step Down // Delegate Craig Zucker Favored for Appointment

Multiple sources confirm that Senator Karen Montgomery (D-14) will resign prior to the start of the 2016 General Assembly session, thereby triggering a vacancy appointment by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

Montgomery, 80, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2002 - one of the first persons to represent District 14 within Montgomery County. In 2010 Delegate Montgomery defeated incumbent Senator Rona Kramer in the Democratic primary by just over 100 votes. She was strongly supported in that race by the teachers (MCEA), SEIU, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and Progressive Maryland.

Should the District 14 Senate vacancy materialize, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) will  have 30 days to make a recommendation to Governor Hogan on who should complete the remainder of Senator Montgomery's term.

Many insiders believe Delegate Craig Zucker to be the favorite to fill the vacancy.  Zucker, 40, was elected to the House of Delegates in 2010 and reelected in 2014. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee and was recently named the Vice Chair of Capital Budget Subcommittee by Speaker Mike Busch. Prior to his election, Zucker worked for a number of public officials including Senator Bill Bradley, Senator Barbara Boxer and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

If Zucker is appointed to the State Senate, his departure will trigger yet another MCDCC vacancy appointment, and a scramble to fill his Delegate seat. Among the names being mentioned for the potential Delegate vacancy include Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee member Chris Bradbury, Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee member and Morgan State Professor Pamela Queen, and former Deputy Secretary of State Dr. Rajan Natarajan. Other names are sure to emerge, including past candidates like Jodi Finkelstein and Tom Degonia.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

GUEST POST: Maryland Senate Fails to Expand Montgomery County SMOB Voting Rights // A Local Student's Perspective

By Benjamin Feshbach, student at Thomas S. Wootton High School

Maryland State Legislature skips bills

On Monday, the Maryland state Senate seemed to think it a good idea to spend time celebrating one page asking his girlfriend to the Prom. On Monday, the Maryland state Senate also spent time arguing over gambling regulations. And on that same Monday, the Maryland state Senate failed to pass necessary revenue bills.

On Monday, our legislature once again failed to approve a bill, known as HB701, expanding the rights of the Montgomery County Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB) to include a vote on budgets and other matters. The ‘SMOB voting rights’ bill already passed the Montgomery County House and Senate delegations, the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee, the full Maryland House of Delegates, and the Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, always with wide margins. Last Friday, April 6, Senator Brian Frosh (D- District 16), made a special order on the bill to delay it until Monday.

What happened Monday?

Monday morning, I personally witnessed Senator Frosh repeating his views against the expansion of  student member voting rights. Dubbing HB701 "the eleven-year old bill" (as 6th graders can vote for the SMOB), he called expanded voting rights "undemocratic" as the SMOB represents a different number of constituents than the rest of the board members do.  Both Senator Karen Montgomery (D- District 14) and Montgomery County Senate delegation chair Jamie Raskin (D- District 20) defended the bill, with Senator Montgomery asking to "just call a vote already." Senator Roy Dyson (D- District 29), who spoke with Senator Frosh before the bill’s introduction, motioned to again special order the bill.

The debate resurfaced hours later, before a prompt special order delay by Senate Majority Leader Robert Garagiola (D- District 15). Soon afterwards, the Senate temporarily adjourned.

The new legislative session started around 5:45 with an "official citation" order to certify that a Senate page invited his girlfriend to the Prom this May. One Senator smartly remarked that rather than "solving the budget crises, we're solving two young lovers". Shortly before 7 p.m., HB701 reappeared on the Senate floor. Senator Frosh told colleagues to "put Montgomery County out of its misery and vote against  this bill."

Senators Montgomery and Raskin argued for the bill, as well as for local legislative courtesy, the principle that other legislators should respect local bills passed by a county delegation. The debate over HB701 soon turned into that of different Senators arguing over why their own local bills and pet projects were not passed. Nevertheless, Senator Frosh ended up successfully making yet another special order.

The Senate never voted on HB701.

What now?

Current Montgomery County Student Member Alan Xie quickly responded to the Senate inaction, remarking that "our countywide SGA leaders and I are extremely disappointed and outraged at the lack of transparency and representation within this process, one in which a bill that has passed all the proper legislative hurdles can still be single-handedly shut down by a dissenting minority."

Considering the outcome, Xie noted that "we are examining the possibility of having the SMOB voting rights bill reintroduced during a special session that the Governor will likely call to resolve pressing budget issues; however, it does not seem likely that we will be able to reintroduce or successfully pass the bill during such a session. Nonetheless, we will persevere, and whether it is this year or the next, we hope to finally pass this much-needed piece of legislation”.

Student leaders were not alone in voicing outrage at the legislative failure. Commenting on the campaign for voting rights, Senator Jamie Raskin said, "student activists came closer than ever to victory in this Session and it took a series of parliamentary obstructions and evasions to kill the bill...The good news is that we have a strong pro-SMOB majority on the Montgomery County delegation. So we live to fight another day. I salute the students who came to testify and fight for their rights in Annapolis!" .

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has so far declined to call a special legislative session to solve the state’s looming budget issue, but many speculate O'Malley may still call the session.

When a minority of Senators oppose a bill, the democratic thing to do is to at least allow that bill to come to a vote, because that's what democracy is all about - not using legislative power to delay, defer, and purposely procrastinate.

*disclaimer-these remarks do not necessarily represent the opinions of any student groups, MCPS, or any organization of any type

Sen. Brian Frosh Unilaterally Kills Youth Empowerment Bill // Majority of Colleagues Backed School Board Voting Rights

BACKGROUND - Over the last few weeks, Maryland Juice wrote about legislative progress to expand student representation on the Montgomery County Board of Education. For years, students throughout the county have voted on a high school senior or junior (aka the SMOB) to represent them on the school board. For almost as long, students have also fought for their SMOB to have a larger role in the Board of Education deliberations. This year, as Maryland was poised to grant Montgomery County's student rep a full vote on the school board, Senator Brian Frosh intervened to kill the effort.

Several notable youth advocates and education figures have spoken out, including Board of Education Member Chris Barclay, the MoCo Young Democrats, and more. A ruckus even broke out on the floor on Monday as several Montgomery Senators tried to save student representation from Senator Frosh's hatchet-job. Aided by a few leadership figures like Senators Rob Garagiola, Roy Dyson and Joan Carter-Conway, Frosh succeeded in using the clout he has developed after years in power to kill the young people's legislation. Below we print a quick recap of the issue, along with key Tweets from politicos

FROSH MAKES BLOCKING STUDENT VOTING A PRIORITY - Last Friday, reports from Annapolis indicated that even though a super-majority of Montgomery County's lawmakers supported full voting rights for their student school board member, Senator Brian Frosh decided to overrule the votes of his colleagues. Indeed, he could've simply voted against the bill on the floor to register his difference of opinion. Instead, Senator Frosh went out of his way on Monday -- while the budget negotiations were melting down -- to squash a student voting rights bill.

As Maryland Juice previously reported, Frosh's unusual efforts concern a bill that would grant full voting privileges to Montgomery County's elected student member of the Board of Education. The bill passed in the Montgomery County House Delegation and . Students have fought for these rights for years, but Mr. Frosh decided to replace the judgment of the rest of the colleagues with his own by effectively placing a hold on the youth representation bill.

WHY SO CRAZED ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND NOT OTHERS?Of all the things to use your political clout for.... Notably, the student representation bill was filed as a "local bill" since it only applies to Montgomery County. As a matter of custom, these bills are approved by the members from other counties, as long as a majority of lawmakers from the affected county agreed to support the bill. In short, one should only violate the custom of local courtesy in an extreme circumstance -- otherwise, you create a precedent for lawmakers blocking bills for personal or trivial reasons. Amazingly, Senator Frosh saw voting representation for students on the school board as such a grave threat to democracy, that he was willing to overturn longstanding tradition (aka use his insider skills) to kill this bill. Maryland Juice would be curious to see how many times in his multi-decade legislative career Mr. Frosh has blocked a local bill. I would also like to see what other issues he has deemed so important that they warrant thwarting democracy and upending the legislative process.

YOUNG DEMS AND STUDENTS FIGHT BACK - The Montgomery County Young Democrats and high school activists alike fought until the bitter end to save student representation from Senator Frosh's rampage. See a few Tweets from over the past week below. Our panel of conscripted Tweeters includes: Delegate Anne Kaiser, Senator Bill Ferguson, Board of Education member Chris Barclay, former SMOB Tim Hwang, the MoCo Young Dems, MD Young Dems VP Joseph Kitchen, and Young Dems John Howes & John Mannes.



WTF MARYLAND SENATE LEADERSHIP: Maryland Juice thinks the current generation of Senate leaders acts as if "Rock and Roll" music (aka issues like same sex marriage and student voting rights) will be the downfall of society. GROW UP SENATORS.


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