Senate President Pro Tem Nathaniel McFadden swears in Mike Miller as Senate President, his 30th year in the job. Photo by

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.

Hogan budget announcement

Rascovar: Hogan’s ‘deflategate’

Talk about an uneven fight! When it comes to shaping the Maryland state budget Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. is the pre-determined champion.

Think of the budget as a balloon. The governor decides how much air gets pumped into the balloon ($40 billion). Once this is done, the legislature can let out some of that air — but it can’t expand the size of the balloon at all.

Senate Budget and Taxation Committee

Senate president announces committee assignments

Senate President Mike Miller announced the full slate of committee assignments Tuesday, finding places for the 11 new senators and shifting several of the incumbents. The Democratic presiding officer determines the committee assignments for both Democrats and Republicans in the 47-member Senate.

State House complex at sunset by Thisisbossi at Wikimedia Commons

New governor is pro-business, new Democratic legislators ‘more anti-business,’ lobbyist says

While the new governor-elect is a pro-business Republican, the newly elected “Democrats coming in are more progressive and more anti-business” than those they are replacing, Comcast lobbyist Sean Looney told a Baltimore-Washington Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

That will present a challenge to Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch on “how to control their own constituency,” Looney said. “It’s frankly Mike Busch’s and Mike Miller’s headache.”

State House as sun sets

Md. legislators get high marks from consumer group — but not GOP

A consumer advocacy group is giving state lawmakers high scores for passing laws in the 2014 General Assembly session that raise the minimum wage and reduce the impact of foreclosures.

The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, a nonprofit whose mission includes advancing fairness and justice for consumers, also released four-year scores that depicted state lawmakers as generally favorable to consumer issues. Only nine of 47 senators and 46 of 141 delegates got four-year scores lower than 80%.