Welcome to those of you reading this as part of Carnival of Maryland 37. As you can guess, when I’m not playing Carnival host I focus a lot on the state, regional, and national political scene and offer up my opinions on it.
On the whole, 2008 hasn’t been the best of years for the members of the Maryland General Assembly. Consider the following incidents that have affected some of those our state has sent to Annapolis:
- In early February, Delegate Robert McKee resigned after his home was searched as part of an FBI investigation into child pornography.
- State Senator Nathaniel Exum was targeted in an investigation involving an auto inspection station whose license was pulled when it was alleged cars were being approved without actually being inspected.
- The FBI continued to be busy with Maryland politicians when they raided the home and employer of State Senator Ulysses Currie, who’s accused of failing to report income from the Shoppers Food and Pharmacy grocery chain, where he works as a consultant.
- State Senator David Brinkley was called on to resign his leadership post after it was revealed a domestic disturbance had occurred at his home.
- Finally, it may be possible that Delegate Jolene Ivey tripped over some campaign finance rules when she noted that one of her interns was making fundraising calls.
Certainly members of both parties seem to be having character issues and it’s just as certain many of these issues will be brought up the next time the officeholder seeks election. Unfortunately, with all of these headlines it’s easy to lose sight of those items which they really should be responsible for – their stances on issues affecting all of us in Maryland.
Through the 2006 legislative year, there was a website tracking General Assembly votes called the Maryland Accountability Project. Each year, it was updated with ratings reflecting how a Delegate or Senator voted, with a higher rating indicating a more conservative voting record. Unfortunately, the operator of that website went into a different type of work and the site lapsed.
Today I’m announcing that I’m picking up the baton that the MAP laid down in 2007. Over the last several weeks I’ve been sifting through data and voting records to bring back those things that voters should be made aware of, particularly on issues of taxation, the balance between private property rights and environmentalism, state government spending, and a number of other issues and bills which have grabbed the headlines over the last three General Assembly sessions.
Simultaneously with the appearance of this post, there should be three new pages on the left-hand column of monoblogue, under “Internal Links”. These pages detail the votes I selected for rating, how I would have voted on the bill (which establishes the rating), and links to the files which show the voting pattern and rating for each of the Delegates and Senators who have served during the 2007-2010 term. While its obvious I have my own perspective on these issues, generally I come down on the conservative side of issues with a few twists of libertarianism thrown in. Thus, my ratings should be a pretty solid successor to the MAP system.
Like MAP, I also give out awards for the legislators and the 2007 awards are posted on the Special Session page. I’m planning on the 2008 version to be announced shortly before the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
It’s up to those on the conservative side to remind voters just who the people were that increased their taxes, spent more money on programs of dubious benefit, infringed on their private property rights, and, conversely, who made the effort to stop all this from happening. While we had some Delegates and Senators from the Democratic side who were helpful in the effort, unfortunately there were some RINO’s working the opposite way, as you’ll see. I’m hoping that a few weeks of extra research in compiling the data and writing the pages while maintaining a fairly regular work and posting schedule will pay big dividends in 2010.
In the meantime, it may be worth linking from your blog sites to these pages, allowing a handy reminder to Maryland voters about what their elected officials in Annapolis have been up to.
Just as a note to regular readers: I’m leaving this post up through tomorrow evening.