(Updated) Four Republicans Voted to allow Russian Meddling in State Elections
A bit of a bombshell revelation in a Maryland Reporter story concerning Senate Bill 190:
A heightened fear of Russian meddling in American elections helped derail what its sponsors thought was “a simple bill” to regulate how international observers witness Maryland elections.
The bill was so straightforward that it sailed out of the Senate committee unanimously, with all four conservative Republicans supporting the measure by Sen. Cheryl Kagan and Jim Rosapepe, two liberal Democrats from Gaithersburg and College Park respectively.
The revelation is that the four Senate Republicans joined with their Democratic colleagues to pass this bill that would allow meddling by Russia and other foreign powers in our state elections.
The four Republican Senators on the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee are Gail Bates, Johnny Ray Salling, Bryan Simonaire, and Steve Waugh.
Reminder: this bill was so extreme that even Senate President Mike Miller came out against it.
Ultimately, the bill was referred back to committee and it will not see the light of day the rest of this session (or beyond if Mike Miller has his way).
There are serious questions surrounding why Bates, Salling, Simonaire, and Waugh voted for the bill in committee. We would be happy to have them share their views as to why they voted this way in committee.
This also reinforces a few things:
- The need for all committee deliberations and proceedings, including votes taken into committee, need to be streamed over the internet so people can see exactly what is going on;
- Why primary voters need to carefully examine the entire body of work that their representatives do in committee, inclusive of committee votes; and,
- That the number of bills that sail through the General Assembly unanimously with little debate and discussion is too high. We got lucky on this bill, but we may not be so lucky again.
Per our invitation, the Senate Republicans cited in this story have provided the following response (click to enlarge)