Pit bull attacks, government waste and bingo were not what brought Maryland lawmakers back to Annapolis on Monday. But as long as they are there, some legislators want to expand the agenda beyond the budget to include those and other issues.
On the first day of what is expected to be a three-day special session, no fewer than five bills were introduced in response to a recent court ruling that makes it easier to sue owners of aggressive pit bulls, even if their dogs have no prior history of biting.
Sponsors included senators and delegates and Democrats and Republicans.
“The Maryland Dog Nondiscrimination Act,” introduced by Del. Herbert H. McMillan (R-Anne Arundel), was the most colorfully named of the bunch. Another bill seeking equal treatment for all dog owners, regardless of the breed of their pets, had the most co-sponsors — 15 at the time of introduction.
Republican senators also introduced a pair of bills designed to create a new elected office in Maryland: inspector general.
Among the duties: investigating “allegations of fraud and waste in the executive branch.” To qualify to run for the office, the candidate would have to be at least 25 years old and a resident of Maryland.
Sen. Richard F. Colburn (R-Dorchester) also sought Monday to repeal a ban on issuing temporary bingo licenses in his county on Sundays.
His bill — and all others not related to the state budget — are all but certain to go nowhere. Democratic legislative leaders have made clear they only plan to take up legislation related to why they were called back to Annapolis.
Those bills will raise income taxes on six-figure earners and avert more than $500 million in cuts to education and other planning spending that would otherwise take effect July 1.