Many Maryland legislators were making happy returns to the General Assembly Wednesday, but nobody -- not even Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller -- could approach the record held by Baltimore County Sen. Norman R. Stone.
The Dundalk Democrat marked his 50th opening day in the Asembly, where the 76-year-old Democrat made his debut in the House of Delegates in January 1963. Four years later, he moved up to the Senate, where he has been a fixture since Lyndon Baines Johnson was president. Miller wouldn't follow until eight years later.
Stone actually pre-dates the time when the Assembly convened each year on the second Wednesday in January. Until 1965, the Assembly began its sessions in February in even-numbered years and in January on the odd years. For trivia buffs, that makes Stone the last remaining Maryland lawmaker to have answer the roll call on an opening day during the second month of the year -- in 1964.
Even as he entered his 50th regular annual session, Stone said there's "always something new" to look forward to as the session begins.
According to the Maryland Archives web site and other records, there have also been 19 special sessions since Stone began his legislative career. So next year he could be marking his 70th session.