Republican delegates, giddy with the excitement of electoral victory, picked Robert H. Kittleman of Howard County as their new leader yesterday, a move they hope will keep pressure on the General Assembly's ruling Democrats.
Mr. Kittleman won a closer than expected 21-20 victory over Delegate George C. Edwards of Garrett County in the race for House minority leader. Mr. Kittleman had vowed to continue the more confrontational style of outgoing Minority Leader Ellen R. Sauerbrey, while Mr. Edwards was considered more likely to try to forge alliances with conservative Democrats.
House and Senate Democrats, meanwhile, re-elected their presiding officers without opposition (Allegany County Delegate Casper R. Taylor Jr. as House speaker and Prince George's County Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. as Senate president), as did the Republican caucus in the Senate (Anne Arundel Sen. John A. Cade as minority leader).
Speaker Taylor said that with 80 of 188 legislative seats changing hands -- the largest turnover since 1974 -- and with a new governor and Cabinet coming to town, it would be unreasonable to expect the 90-day session that begins Jan. 11 to be extremely productive in terms of new legislation.
Rather, he said, he hopes lawmakers will spend the 1995 session learning government processes and dealing with "that small number of issues that has to be dealt with on an immediate basis." Then, after what he described as an "intensive interim" between April and next December, "we should aim for the session of 1996 to be the defining session of the four-year term."
For example, he said the Assembly needs to review the state's tax structure, and to consider where it should go next in health care reform and what to do about controversial proposals to legalize casino gambling. But he suggested none of those issues is likely to be resolved by the session's end in April.
Some sticky issues, such as reform of the welfare system or possibly new gun-control measures, could be dealt with in 1995, he said.
Mr. Taylor downplayed the potential for a clash with the expanded Republican minority, saying he and Mr. Kittleman had worked together on the same committee and that Democrats and Republicans can work cooperatively to find a middle ground. But the exuberant 41-member Republican caucus, presided over Mrs. Sauerbrey one final time, set an adversarial tone.
"We can take control" in 1998 or 2002, vowed Delegate John S. Morgan of Howard County. "There is fear out there in the Democratic caucus."
Twenty-six of the 41 Republicans are freshmen. Many of them said they owed their election to the work of Mrs. Sauerbrey and Mr. Kittleman.
Nominating Mr. Kittleman for the minority leader's post, Delegate Morgan said, "Being close to the leadership down here is not nearly as important as advancing the Republican message."
The GOP caucus has grown so large that it could not fit in its small room upstairs in the House Office Building, but instead had to meet in the larger hearing room of one of the House's six standing committees.
Mrs. Sauerbrey, who received a standing ovation from the GOP delegates, said when she arrived in Annapolis in 1979 there were 12 Republicans in the House. Last term, there were 25 and now 41 -- 30 votes shy of a majority.
The Senate GOP caucus also has grown from nine members to 15 members, ushering in the largest Republican class in Maryland since 1920.
Mrs. Sauerbrey urged the House Republicans to donate $200 apiece from their legislative expense accounts to hire a budget analyst to help the caucus prepare a budget alternative to the one pushed by the Democrats. She also challenged the Republicans to raise a quarter of a million dollars over the next four years to be disbursed not to incumbents, but to Republican challengers in the 1998 election.
Here is a list of House and Senate leaders for the 1995 session of the Maryland General Assembly:
President: Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's. Mr. Miller, a lawyer from Clinton, will be serving his ninth year as presiding officer.
President pro tem: Norman Stone, D-Baltimore County. Mr. Stone is a 31-year legislative veteran and Dundalk lawyer. He replaces retiring Sen. Frederick C. Malkus Jr. of Dorchester County.
Majority leader: Clarence W. Blount, D-Baltimore. Mr. Blount, a soft-spoken elder statesman, has been a state senator since 1971 and Democratic floor leader since 1983.
Minority leader: John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel. Mr. Cade has been the Republican leader since 1983 and is an influential member of the Senate's budget committee.
BUDGET & TAXATION COMMITTEE
Chairman: Northwest Baltimore's Barbara A. Hoffman moves from vice chairwoman to replace Montgomery County's Laurence Levitan, who lost re-election.
Vice chairman: William H. Amoss, D-Baltimore.
Chairman: Thomas L. Bromwell of eastern Baltimore County rises to lead a committee decimated by retirements and election losses, replacing Sen. Thomas P. O'Reilly of Prince George's County.
4 Vice chairman: Arthur Dorman, D-Prince George's.
JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Walter M. Baker, a conservative Elkton lawyer and opponent of gun control who has chaired the committee since 1987.
Vice chairman: Leo E. Green, D-Prince George's.
ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Clarence W. Blount of Baltimore, an educator and chairman since 1983. He is also Senate majority leader.
Vice chairwoman: Paula C. Hollinger, D-Baltimore County.
HOUSE OF DELEGATES
Speaker: Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany County. Mr. Taylor, a ,, consensus builder from Western Maryland, begins his second year as House leader after replacing R. Clayton Mitchell Jr.
Speaker pro tem: Elijah E. Cummings, D-Baltimore. Mr. Cummings becomes the highest ranking black lawmaker in Maryland after stints as vice chairman of two house committees.
Majority leader: John A. Hurson, D-Montgomery. Mr. Hurson worked with Speaker Taylor on health care reform. He becomes the third Democratic floor leader in three years, replacing Baltimore County's Kenneth H. Masters, who lost re-election.
Minority leader: Robert H. Kittleman, R-Howard. Mr. Kittleman, a former minority whip, replaces Ellen R. Sauerbrey to lead an expanded 41-member GOP caucus.
Chairman: Howard P. Rawlings, chairman since 1992. His reappointment gives Baltimore the chairmanship of budget committees in both houses.
Vice chairman: Norman H. Conway, D-Wicomico.
COMMERCE AND GOVERNMENT MATTERS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Gerald J. Curran, a Northeast Baltimore insurance salesman and delegate since 1967 who begins his second year as chairman.
Vice chairman: John F. Wood Jr., D-Charles.
ECONOMIC MATTERS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel County parks and recreation official who begins his second year as chairman.
Vice chairman: Michael R. Gordon, D-Montgomery.
ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Ronald A. Guns, a Cecil County telephone company employee who has chaired the committee since 1991.
Vice chairman: Michael H. Weir, D-Baltimore County.
Chairman: Joseph F. Vallario Jr., a Suitland trial lawyer and delegate since 1975.
Vice chairwoman: Ann Marie Doory, D-Baltimore.
WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Sheila E. Hixson of Montgomery County, beginning her third year as chairwoman.
Vice chairman: James C. Rosapepe, D-Prince George's.