Legislative committee works to create criteria for recognizing ethnic caucuses

Legislative committee works to create criteria for recognizing ethnic caucuses

By Naomi Eide 

Capital News Service

A Maryland General Assembly ethics panel is weighing criteria for recognizing and allocating resources for official legislative caucuses.

The issue of recognizing what makes a caucus is under consideration because of a new, Latino caucus, which wants the same recognition as the black and the women’s caucuses, said Del. Bonnie Cullison, D-Montgomery.

The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the Women Legislators of Maryland have staff, office space and printing resources. The General Assembly supplements some of the costs for the caucuses, like benefits for the caucuses’ staff.

The Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus was formed less than a year ago and participated in the General Assembly session this year.

The caucus represents the growing Maryland Hispanic population, advocates for legislation and provides a perspective on its constituents’ needs, said Senator Victor Ramirez, D-Prince George’s, a member of the ethics panel as well as the Latino caucus.

The Latino caucus wants “to be able to come together and be recognized,” said Ramirez. “The idea is to really address issues and really talk about the policy and legislation that affects Hispanics in Maryland.”

Del. Susan McComas, R-Harford, said there is concern about the proliferation of caucuses, but Senator Wayne Norman, R-Cecil and Harford, countered that anyone who wants to caucus should be able to do it, citing the watermen’s caucus as an example.

Del. William Frick, D-Montgomery, said, “Let’s not borrow trouble. Let’s not weigh in to a whole other process,” and instead look at the allocation of resources and not the criteria for recognizing a caucus.

The bicameral ethics panel on Wednesday agreed to ask the legislature’s presiding officers, Senate President Mike Miller,D-Calvert, Prince George’s, and House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, to clarify whether the committee should discuss requirements for official recognition or just criteria to provide additional resources from the General Assembly.



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Capital News Service


Capital News Service is a student-powered news organization run by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. For 26 years, we have provided deeply reported, award-winning coverage of issues of import to Marylanders. With bureaus in College Park, Annapolis and Washington run by professional journalists with decades of experience, we deliver news in multiple formats via partner news organizations, a destination Web site, a nightly on-air television newscast and affiliated social media channels (including Twitter and Facebook). We provide breaking news coverage, in-depth investigative and enterprise journalism, and serve as a laboratory for students to test and develop innovative new methods of reporting and telling stories. By providing a true newsroom experience to our students, we send them into the job market with real-world skills and the ability to shape the future of journalism. Only Merrill’s most motivated students are accepted into the Capital News Service program, and they go on to land internships and jobs at the nation’s finest news organizations: The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Associated Press, Politico, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, ProPublica, National Geographic, NBC News, The Dallas Morning News, the Washington City Paper, Washingtonian magazine, Money magazine, the Wall Street Journal and more.


  1. Dale McNamee

    How about a “Caucasian Male Caucus”… Just like the blacks, latinos, women ?

  2. Adam Meister

    Our so-called leaders are wasting time and OUR money on how to organize themselves. What tools. We should all be ashamed of these sociopaths.

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