Legislators turned lobbyists received official word today that they have been banished from the floor of the Maryland Senate.
Senate President Melvin A. Steinberg, who has taken to giving what one observer called a "morning sermonette" on the subject of "decorum" to his 46 colleagues, cited Senate Rule 94 today when asked whether former senators who have taken to the more lucrative profession of lobbying can use the floor privileges granted to all past members of the General Assembly.
The question by Sen. Howard A. Denis (R-Montgomery) was sparked by the opening day appearance, just a few feet from the podium, of former senator Harry J. McGuirk, who is now a paid lobbyist for the city of Baltimore.
"Any individual being employed as a lobbyist is not to come on the floor of the Senate while it is meeting," Steinberg said, admitting that "it is going to be a ticklish thing to monitor" since several other former members in addition to McGuirk are now working as lobbyists.
(McGuirk said his opening day appearance in the chamber would be "the only time I'll be down here when the Senate is in session.")
"If they want to come in and observe the actions of their past colleagues, that is one thing," said Steinberg. "But if they abuse that privilege and collar a senator to discuss a particular bill or vote that's another. They will lose their privileges."