Anthony Brown Dodges Bullet
According to Adam Pagnucco at Maryland Politics Watch, Mary Kane pulled out of a debate in Montgomery County with Anthony Brown, citing a scheduling conflict. She was scheduled to attend the Red Mass.
Pagnucco says Kane ducked the debate. I say Anthony Brown dodged a bullet. Had the debate taken place, Brown might have had to defend his unconscionable action of protecting the billable hours of trial lawyers by killing tougher penalties for child sex predators in 2006.
According to former delegate Rick Weldon, in the waning days of the 2006 legislative session, then-majority whip Anthony Brown committed a “procedural execution” of Jessica’s Law, which called mandatory 25-year minimum sentences, without parole for child rape.
So the House, along party lines, voted to amend the good stuff from Tony’s [ House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell] bill into HB 4, and to send Tony’s bill (HB 1401) back to committee, where it will disappear forever. There was a moment of high political drama, though.
To send his bill back, the Speaker had to get a motion to recommit Tony’s bill. As soon as they had the motion, Tony leapt to his feet to object to the recommitment motion. To recommit, the Speaker needed a simple majority.
Tony gave a great speech in defense of allowing his bill to get a full Floor vote, and it was apparent to anyone watching that the Democrats were split. When the Speaker called for the vote, they didn’t have enough votes!
Remember, this is the party with the 2-1 majority, and they couldn’t muster the votes to do what they wanted. Majority Whip Del. Anthony Brown (D., PG) was forced to wander up and down the aisles prowling for recalcitrant votes, twisting arms and making threats to get his members in line.
Brown flat out lied to a WJZ TV reporter when he said “I don’t believe the mandatory provisions in Jessica’s law will be stripped.” Of course the bill died, and a watered down version passed during the 2006 special session.
For the record, it was a committed band of citizen activists along with help from the GOP minority that pushed Jessica’s Law past an obstinate Democratic majority in the General Assembly.
Even after Jessica’s Law and it’s enhancements became law in 2007 and 2010 respectively, Anthony Brown and his boss Martin O’Malley barely lifted a finger to help those measures against their Democratic opposition in the General Assembly.