Republican members of the House of Delegates erupted in an angry verbal protest Friday afternoon after many said they weren’t given the opportunity to explain their vote — as is customary — on sweeping legislation that would increase taxes and fees, mostly to pay for transportation projects.
Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell, R-Calvert and St. Mary’s, at one point pulled the entire Republican caucus off the House floor. When Republicans returned, they spent the rest of the afternoon slowing down voting on a slew of bills.
O’Donnell and other Republicans demanded that the vote, which they said was closed early, be retaken. When House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, refused, members took to the rule book to devise multiple ways to slow down proceedings in the House, but not before engaging in an unorganized shouting match on the floor of the House that went on for several minutes.
Several Republican delegates called the rest of the afternoon a “protest.” Democrats, meanwhile, called it “theater.”
By the way, the transportation funding bill passed by an unofficial margin of 76-63.
As session dragged on Friday afternoon, one Allegany County Democrat found the words to describe just how heated the exchange between Democrats and Republicans became.
“If this had been a bar room, the tables would have been flying two hours ago,” Del. Kevin Kelly said.