There was a lot of horsing around in Annapolis Tuesday, as a more than hundred representatives of Maryland’s diverse horse industry gathered to lobby legislators for an array of horsey priorities. Thoroughbred racing and the gambling that goes with it has often been the focus of the General Assembly, but leaders of the $1.6 billion industry have formed a coalition to emphasize the broader interests of the horsey set. Maryland has about 80,000 horses on 587,000 acres — 10% of the state’s land, more horse per square mile than any state, the industry says.
“The honeymoon is over” at the State House, Senate Republican Leader J.B. Jennings told an audience of county officials Friday. “This session is not going to be the lovefest we had last year.” House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat, disagreed with Jennings assessment that there won’t be another love fest. “I don’t know why not,” Busch said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to work together with the governor to come up with the best solutions for the people of Maryland.”
Maryland Senate Republicans Wednesday elected Sen. J.B. Jennings of Baltimore County as their new minority leader and Sen. Chris Shank of Washington County as the new minority whip. Jennings and Shank both promised to strongly support Gov.-elect Larry Hogan Jr. in his goal of reducing spending and taxes. Jennings, 40, served two terms in the House of Delegates before his election to the Senate in 2010. “The bench isn’t as big as it used to be,” Jennings said.
Maryland Senate incumbents who were running unopposed picked up challengers at Tuesday’s filing deadline, but other senators without any opponents must wait until Monday to find out if the opposition parties will name a candidate to run against them.
In Baltimore County’s District 8, former Republican Del. John Bishop will run as a Democrat challenging Democratic Sen. Kathy Klausmeier.
Sen. Allan Kittleman’s colleagues on a Senate committee were clearly unhappy with his legislation that would force most of them to commute and no longer reimburse their lodging in Annapolis during the session.
Kittleman, R-Howard and Carroll, has again introduced legislation that would restrict the housing stipend legislators are permitted during session – a maximum $101 per day – to those living more than 50 miles from Annapolis.
If betting on the Preakness ponies and getting sloshed at Pimlico has little appeal, Republican Sen. J.B. Jennings is offering a bang-up alternative Saturday afternoon.
At the Freestate Gun Range in Middle River, for a contribution to Jennings’ campaign you can have your picture taken with National Rifle Association President David Keene and then pick up your weapon of choice for shooting practice.