Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. on Thursday put the kibosh on talk of expanding the number of committees in his chamber, a move that would have allowed him to reward additional members with coveted chairmanships.
The prospect was of particular interest to Montgomery County senators, who have seen their clout wane with the departures of two members in leadership positions.
Miller (D-Calvert) said in an interview that he had considered expanding the number of major committees from four to five when lawmakers reconvene next year but decided against it.
“We thought about it,” he said. “You like to keep people happy and reward people with positions of leadership.”
Ultimately, however, Miller said he reasoned that adding another committee would mean some committees would be too small and some issues would not get sufficient consideration. By tradition, senators in the 47-member chamber sit on just one major committee.
Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, chose to run for attorney general this year rather than seek re-election. The Montgomery delegation also lost Robert J. Garagiola, the chamber’s majority leader until last year, when he decided to join a lobbying firm.
Miller said he has not made a decision on replacing Frosh or naming a new majority leader. Garagiola’s position was filled on a temporary basis during this year’s session by retiring Sen. James N. Robey (D-Howard).
Besides Judicial Proceedings, the other Senate standing committees include Budget and Taxation; Education, Health and Environmental Affairs; and Finance. The Senate also has two other standing committees, Rules and Executive Nominations, that do not routinely craft legislation.