Being a Republican in a liberal state like Maryland is challenging and oftentimes discouraging. That’s why we understand the conservative party’s attempt to overturn some key decisions made by the Maryland General Assembly in last year’s special session. However, while we get the motivation behind it, filing a lawsuit to achieve those means is futile and lacks logic.
The GOP leadership in the House and Senate last month filed a lawsuit in Carroll County Circuit Court seeking to invalidate several actions taken by state lawmakers during the recently completed special session. At the top of the list was the vote for a slots referendum. In addition, the lawsuit asks the court to set aside the numerous increases in taxes and fees approved by the General Assembly during the special session for various reasons including perceived irregularities in how business was conducted on both sides of the aisle.
Among the abnormal activities mentioned is a specific five-day adjournment by the full Senate during the middle of the special session, which the GOP contends violates state law and protocol for the legislature. The GOP is arguing any action taken later in the session after this Senate adjournment was approved improperly and should be invalidated.
While we would be the first to admit government operates in a strange way in Annapolis, this lawsuit does not deserve any further consideration. It was a dealt blow last week when a judge ruled a key figure in the suit did not have to be deposed for the lawsuit. An appeal of that ruling is pending. Nonetheless, this lawsuit needs to go away. The legislature is about to reconvene and there will be some weighty issues to discuss in the months ahead. The best case scenario for the lawsuit is a court agrees and invalidates the decisions made last fall. That would mean voting on the same decisions when the legislature reconvenes in January. The votes are still there. All the inevitable delay does is cost the state a lot of valuable money.
Last year’s special session was far from Maryland’s brightest moment. A number of new taxes were introduced. Most taxes were raised. Gambling will likely be expanded. Overall, the cost of living in Maryland has increased because lawmakers did not take action to address a pending structural deficit ahead of time. This inaction left a huge void in the state budget and that’s bad government.
Republicans are right to be upset over how things developed. That special session epitomized poor representation on many fronts. Most lawmakers acted in a rash manner and they made decisions that will affect Marylanders for years to come. The Republicans had no say in most of the laws made during the special session, but that’s nothing new. That’s government and politics in Maryland. Right-wing party members are right to be frustrated over the fact they are often powerless in Maryland. It really does not matter what Republicans think in Maryland. They are outnumbered by their Democratic counterparts and that’s the way it’s been for years. However, we do not see where this lawsuit is helping the minority party gain a better footing. It actually makes it look petty and desperate.