IN MARYLAND, all the 188 seats in the Senate and House of Delegates, as well as the governorship, will be up for grabs in November, and the General Assembly session that begins today in Annapolis could well turn into a free-wheeling competition for the political spotlight. Name an issue and, more likely than not, it will wind up somewhere on the 1978 agenda for this 90-day session.
What we hope might change for the better is the attitude of lawmakers toward political ethics and conduct in public office. Already, we are encouraged by moves that Acting Gov. Blair Lee III has been proposing to strengthen the state's laws on this score. Mr. Lee has rightly characterized this matter as a serious problem.
The legislation Mr. Lee is proposing would consolidate and improve various laws having to do with conflicts of interest, financial disclosure, lobbying and campaign disclosure. Given Maryland's apparent distinction as the only state where two successive governors have been involved in major criminal scandals, we'd like to think that every serious candidate for governor this year would be pushing for "reform" of some sort.
One important step for better government could --and should -- be taken when the legislature meets to organize today. The House of Delegates should vote for a regular procedure to record votes taken in committee. The State Senate has required the recording of final votes on all measures in its committees since 1974. But in the House, the absence of such a record is more than a matter of secrecy in public business; it complicates the ability of all members to vote as intelligently as they might.