Sen. H. Wayne Norman Jr.’s death midway through the recently completed General Assembly session profoundly affected the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on which he sat and on the issues it addressed, said its chairman, Sen. Robert A. “Bobby” Zirkin, D-Baltimore County.
Norman, whose strong defense of civil liberties included a broad reading of the Second Amendment, provided a respected and respectful voice at committee hearings and in voting sessions, according to this reporter who regularly covers the Senate panel.
That voice was lost during the discussion of ways to prevent deadly violence in Baltimore, a city Norman loved but whose crime problem he feared was intractable. Debate on the anti-crime bill came down to a balancing of civil liberties and the public’s desire to end the carnage, a discussion Norman would have welcomed.
“We put all of these things together this session and we did it with one of our most valuable and loved members die halfway through the session,” Zirkin said. “It was devastating this session losing Wayne.”
The General Assembly finished the 90-day session this week having passed the controversial legislation, which Gov. Larry Hogan is expected to sign in coming weeks.
Norman, R-Cecil and Harford, died March 4. He was 62. Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Norman’s wife, Linda, to his seat.