Md. attorney general candidates coming to Annapolis this week with full agendas

When Maryland lawmakers return to Annapolis this week, the senator and three delegates who are running for attorney general are poised to be among the busiest.

Sen. Brian E. Frosh (Montgomery) and Dels. Aisha N. Braveboy (Prince George’s), Jon S. Cardin (Baltimore County) and C. William Frick (Montgomery) — all Democrats — will each be starting the election-year session with a full legislative agenda.

No statewide candidate has been more vocal about session plans than Cardin, whose office has pumped out press releases almost weekly about bills he plans to sponsor. They include legislation that would outlaw “revenge porn,” the posting of compromising pictures of an ex-lover on the Internet. A similar bill is also on Frick’s to-do list.

Cardin also wants to ban so-called gay-conversion therapy for children, expand the public financing of elections, close a loophole in the law on handgun sales and fine businesses that sell non-biodegradable cigarette butts, among other initiatives

Cardin, the nephew of Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), said he has always come to Annapolis with plenty of ideas and that this year is no different. In what is expected to be a highly political 90-day session, it remains to be seen how many of his bills will win approval in both the House and Senate.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who is supporting Frosh for attorney general, said he expects few of Cardin’s bills to become law.

“Jon has never had any real success getting bills passed before,” Miller said. “I don’t know why it would be different this session. … He comes from a nice family, but the blood has obviously gotten weaker along the way.”

Andrew Carton, Cardin’s campaign manager, said “such comments are to be expected when you are willing to challenge the Annapolis political establishment. While parents, community leaders and law-enforcement officers from across the state have embraced Jon’s legislative agenda of new and innovative ideas … there will always be some longtime Annapolis politicians who just don’t deal very well with change.”

Over the past decade, about two dozen bills authored by Cardin have made it to the governor, including several related to election law and one last year making “cyber-bullying” a crime.

Frosh, a 20-year veteran of the chamber who chairs the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, said he plans to spend this legislative session “being the best senator I can.” Last year his committee handled bills to repeal the death penalty and put new restrictions on gun ownership.

Among the bills Frosh plans to sponsor this year is one that would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain protective orders. Another bill would make it a crime to use another person’s identity to post false personal ads or social media messages soliciting violent sex. In several recent cases, Frosh said, people have impersonated former spouses or partners and put them at risk of sexual assaults.

Frick said his “revenge porn” legislation grew out of a horrible story he heard from someone he represents. “It’s not political opportunism,” he said. “It came out of trying to address an issue for a constituent.”

Frick said he will also continue to work on tax reform and consumer protection issues, which are well-established priorities for him.

Braveboy, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, also has a full agenda. Among her legislation are bills to investigate the upkeep of foreclosed properties owned by banks and to require targeted recruiting of minority candidates for the Maryland State Police. In recent years, the number of African American troopers has declined, she said.

Like many lawmakers, Braveboy said passing a bill to raise the minimum wage is also a priority this session.

“We have to understand that poverty breeds crime,” she said.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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