To start Friday’s session in the House of Delegates, Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell got behind the speaker’s podium with a smile, ready to call the House to order.
The House of Delegates kept the spirit of lighthearted pranks alive this April 1.
After O’Donnell returned to his desk at the front of the chamber, Speaker of the House Michael Busch came to the front. The clerks who usually keep the records of what’s going on in the chamber had been replaced by a team of delegates. Del. Nathaniel Oaks, D- Baltimore City, kicked off the session by leading the House in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“You know what to do,” he said, before turning toward the flag with his right hand over his heart.
Next, Busch asked delegates to press their voting buttons to establish a quorum. As the voting roster lit up with green lights, several delegates stood up.
“Mr. Speaker, my button didn’t work!” was the refrain – more commonly heard after bill votes are taken and delegates wish to change or record their votes.
Moments later, Busch noticed there was still a legislative page – Del. Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore, wearing a gray page’s blazer and carrying a pair of coffee cups – walking through the chamber.
“Could the pages please clear the aisles?” he asked.
As Anderson walked out, Busch got a laugh in.
“I know it takes a while to graduate from some of these schools…” he said, getting a laugh from Anderson’s fellow delegates and the high school students serving as this week’s pages.
But the jokes weren’t quite over. As legislators got down to business, several muted rings filled the chamber. Someone had turned on the ringers for all of the delegates’ desk phones.