Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley had plenty to say Thursday about juvenile crabs — but he wasn’t talking about the return of the General Assembly.
O’Malley (D) reported at a news conference that the Chesapeake Bay’s overall blue crab population is at its highest level since 1993, and that the juvenile crab population is at its highest level on record.
Those results, from an annual winter dredge survey, are “living proof” that smart policy choices can help Mother Nature rebound, O’Malley said at an event staged at a crab house in Riva overlooking the Severn River.
“The kind of progress we’re making today really only happens when we’re working together,” O’Malley said, recalling that just a few years ago, female crabs were being overfished and “our fishery was at risk of complete collapse.”
During the news conference, O’Malley fielded just one question about last week’s collapse of the legislature’s 90-day session. A reporter asked if there is “any word on when there’ll be a special session of the General Assembly?”
The governor offered a one-word response: “No.”
Lawmakers adjourned at midnight April 9 without passing an agreed-upon tax package, a move that will trigger more than $500 million in cuts to education and other planned spending if they don’t act in a special session by July.
This week has brought more recriminations about the reasons for the impasse and divergent views on the role a gambling bill played.
In a letter made public Wednesday, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said accusations that he held up work on the budget to gain leverage on the gambling bill were “patently untrue.”
In the letter, Miller also accused House budget negotiators of behaving in an “immature” way on the session’s final day.
After Thursday’s news conference broke up, O’Malley, who has sought to play peacemaker between the Democrat-led House and Senate, headed out onto a long pier, with only a state trooper and state photographer trailing him.
A group of reporters waited for the governor to return in hopes of asking additional questions about the legislative standoff. O’Malley headed straight to his SUV.