Opening day roundup: Miller begins 30th year as Senate president, veto overrides postponed

Amid a sea of Maryland state-flag neckties and toddlers in suits, legislators of the Maryland General Assembly were gaveled in for the first day of the 2016 session. Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch, both Democrats, were reinstated in their leadership positions. It is Miller’s 30th legislative session as president, the longest-serving presiding officer in any U.S. legislature. Miller, 73, is now also the longest-serving member of the Maryland General Assembly, first elected to the House of Delegates in 1970.

Edwards: ‘What kind of fighter do you want’ in Senate?

Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen have tried hard to draw distinctions between themselves in the race for U.S. Senate, but Edwards conceded, “We have very, very similar voting records.” “The question is what kind of fighter do you want in the U.S. Senate,” Edwards said, linking herself to Mikulski’s feisty reputation in which “fighting” for something was a staple of many press releases. “You want someone in the Senate who is fearless to take them on.”

Mikulski whips up Democratic crowd

Stung by the loss of the governorship to Republican Larry Hogan, Sen. Barbara Mikulski told a crowd of 500 cheering Democrats, “We take a pledge that we will never again lose a statewide election.” Beyond that, she said it is not enough that nine out of 10 members of Maryland’s congressional delegation are Democrats. She wanted a “100% Maryland delegation” of Democrats.

New farm bill would aid more Md. farmers, but hurt food stamp recipients

With the U.S. Farm Bill of 2008 about to expire Sept. 30, advocates from Maryland and across the nation are pressuring Congress to quickly pass the 2012 bill that would end the subsidies for big corporate farms before Congress breaks for the election. But Maryland lawmakers are not hopeful it will make that deadline. Both the Senate and the House bills spell the end for Direct Payment subsidies in favor of crop insurance programs. The gridlock stems from disagreement over cuts to the food stamp program.

Maryland convention delegates 4

Maryland Dems insist conventions are worth all the fuss and bother — and money

Hoopla, hooch and horse manure are all in abundance at conventions of either political party.

But why do thousands of people spend all that time, effort and millions of their own money and taxpayer dollars to come together every four years for an extended infomercial? Experienced Democratic politicos from Maryland who’ve been to as many as a dozen national political conventions say they’re worth the expense.

Wendy Rosen

Reaction to Supreme Court decision on health care includes victory dances and calls for repeal

The torrent of comment on the Supreme Court decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act fell predictably along party and ideological lines: Democrats and progressives were exulting; Republicans and conservatives were disgusted, except for the ruling that the individual mandate was a tax. It will take several days to digest the full implications, but here are lightly edited versions of over two dozen Maryland reactions.