Legislature grants Frosh $1M to sue feds over Trump policies

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Brian Frosh. Photo by Ed Kimmel mdfriendofhillary Flickr Creative Commons License

By Dan Menefee

For MarylandReporter.com

The Maryland Senate on Wednesday passed, HB913, the Maryland Defense Act of 2017 – mandating that the administration fund five new attorneys in the Office of the Attorney General to sue the federal government — at a cost of $1 million annually.

The measure passed the Senate 30-15, a veto-proof majority. It is one of about two dozen bills delivered to Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday. He has only six days, not counting Sunday, to sign, veto or let the bills become law. Hogan has criticized the new powers for the attorney general, and is generally opposed to spending mandates.

The legislature would have time to override any veto by the time it adjourns April 10.

The bill was inspired by President Donald Trump’s promises to deport undocumented citizens, repeal Obamacare, impose travel restrictions from Muslim countries and defund the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan, actions that Attorney General Brian Frosh says could threaten the welfare of Marylanders or violate the Constitution.

The bill restates the powers given to Frosh in a joint resolution in mid February, which cannot be vetoed by the governor, but the spending bill can.

Passage of the funding bill Wednesday brought harsh criticism from Republicans in the Senate who recalled the fiscal note citing the “The Office of the Attorney General can use existing resources to handle any litigation initiated as a result of the resolution.”

GOP says Frosh doesn’t need the money

Sen. Wayne Norman, R-Harford, said the funding that followed the resolution was disingenuous.

“I remember the dialogue that took place regarding the financing of these positions [that] it was not going to cost anything,” Norman said. “It was disingenuous.”

Sen. George Edwards, R-Garrett, argued that there were staff vacancies at the AG’s office that could be reclassified to fill the vacant positions within the AG’s current budget.

“[Frosh] doesn’t need this money,” Edwards said. “He’s got all these vacant positions [and] if it’s so important why hasn’t he filled these vacant positions.”

Edwards said the AG should reclassify positions like other agencies often must to cover current workloads.

“This is no different than what we tell other departments in the state,” Edwards said.

Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery, argued that the current vacancies at the AG’s office were “assigned to a very specific function.”

“The assistant attorney general for the Energy Administration or the Board of Elections is not the person who’s going to be responsible…for litigating on the environment before a federal court,” Madaleno said.

dcmenefee@atlanticbb.net

  • jd

    Please explain how giving a hyper partisan Dem AG 1M tax dollars to oppose a Repub president’s policies is not funding party politics with public money? The MD legislature are pigs, we are the unwilling trough.

    • Bohsandos2015

      It’s not tied to a “Dem AG” or a “Repub president” – it exists regardless of party or time. In two years it could be a Republic AG and a Democratic Governor. MD legislators are there because you as a voter (or maybe not a voter) put them there. Calling anyone in public service who disagrees with your world view a “pig” is juvenile, rudely ignorant, and just shows you’re an armchair critic.

      • jd

        FYI, Boh, I vote every election, in a wildly gerrymandered legislative district that was designed and has been successful at promoting and sustaining one party incumbency over the course of the 15 years that I’ve lived in it. And yet I vote. Furthermore, you assume that I would not voice the same concern about the use of public funds for partisan politics if roles were reversed. For the record, I would. So who’s being ignorant? Finally, I apologize for using a common metaphor, particularly when the topic is politics. Yes, I have revealed myself as being from an era when words were evaluated in a greater context and not always taken literally and assumed a personal affront. All those years of micro-aggressive behavior. Who know?

        • Bohsandos2015

          How can “pig” be interpreted any other way in this context other than a personal affront? On reflection, I suppose I get the metaphor you were going for. I apologize, but I come from a generation that believes that words matter; words have power to be wonderful or terrible things; words lead to action and alter behavior. You’re preaching to the choir about gerrymandering, but again, a sizeable, action-focused voter bloc that gets off their lazy behinds and actually works to support common sense redistricting instead of sniping online would get the job done. Your comment doesn’t exactly fit into this mold, but I work in public service, and I get so frustrated by tired old lines snarked forth by critics in comments sections of newspapers and online blogs who understand nothing about government but feel it is their self-entitled duty to criticize things they don’t understand.

  • higgy01

    If the dems can do anything well it is wasting tax payer dollars on frivolous activities. I hope the legislature realizes how stupid and politically charged their action appears. They have just given a second rate AG complete power to attempt to interfere with the federal government. I hope they have written off any hope to get the FBI headquarters in Maryland.

  • Dale McNamee

    We, the taxpayers of Maryland, should sue both Frosh and our “dear” Legislature and start voting them out instead of being lazy and re-electing them !

    • Bohsandos2015

      Sue them for…?