The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has a new vice chairwoman, and the appointment raises continued questions about the political future of Sen. Lisa A. Gladden.
Sen. Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore County, was named Friday to fill the position of vice chair of the committee — a position Gladden, D-Baltimore City, held since 2007.
The appointment places two Baltimore County senators in leadership positions on the committee. Democratic Sen. Robert A. Bobby Zirkin is chairman of the committee.
Kelley, 80 and a six-term senator, most recently served on the Senate Finance Committee. She previously served on the Judicial Proceedings Committee from 1995-1998.
“As one of the sharpest minds in the Senate, I am excited to have Senator Kelley bring her talents and hardworking approach back to the Judicial Proceedings Committee,” Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said in a statement. “Senator Kelley’s expertise and commitment to an array of issues including juvenile justice, domestic violence, consumer protections, and sentencing policy will be a tremendous asset for the committee. I look forward to continuing to work with her in this new role.”
Gladden, 51, was temporarily replaced on the key committee by Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, D-Baltimore City, after Gladden was hospitalized in hospitalized early March while battling multiple sclerosis — a disease she was first diagnosed with nearly 20 years ago.
The disease has progressed to a point where it has sometimes made it difficult for Gladden to walk without assistance or to see.
She did not return for the balance of the 2016 session — a fact that has given rise to repeated rumors within Annapolis that Gladden may step down before her term ends in 2018.
The statement from Miller did not address Gladden’s service in the Senate nor did it announce a committee assignment. An online listing for Gladden now shows that she has been moved to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.