It took less than 24 hours to resolve a rules squabble between the House of Delegates and Senate.
Tuesday, just one day after Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. complained about legislative chicanery on the part of the House, Speaker Michael E. Busch responded both in words and deeds.
On Monday, Miller criticized the House of Delegates for leaving early—meaning any bills passed on Friday and Monday night would go to the House Rules Committee rather than to standing committees. The move wouldn’t have killed the bills but it’s an inconvenience that placed one more hurdle in front of Senate legislation before it could be considered in the House.
The Senate leader then announced he would hold all of the bills sent over by the House Monday until he could get the issue resolved and if he couldn’t, then he was sending those bills to the Senate Rules Committee.
Busch, at the end of a brief meeting of the House of Delegates Tuesday morning, announced that bills passed by the Senate on Monday night would be sent to standing committees rather than left to languish for a day or two in the Rules Committee.
But not before taking a shot of his own at the Senate and Miller including allusions to Miller leaving Annapolis at the end of the week to vacation for the weekend in Florida while the House met in session, as well as references leprechauns and the Senate’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration that included a rendition of Danny Boy and bagpipes.
Here’s what Busch said:
Once again I want to thank everyone for a tremendous weekend of work. We did the due diligence of the people you represent—the people’s house—very well. I want to thank you for everything you’ve done and we made everything over by the crossover date to the Senate.
Unfortunately, our counterparts across the street left to the sunnier confines of the south and when they left they forgot, in their amnesia, they forgot to pass three calendars (of bills).
As they came back to the trumpets, the bagpipes of St. Patricks Day, and as they finished with the Irish tenors, a young leprechaun found the three calendars they the Senate had left.
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s day, we’re going to read those calendars across the desk because we’re here to do the people’s work.
Delegates then cheered Busch before the bills were sent to committees, thus ending the General Assembly’s brief legislative nightmare.