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Md. Del. Dwyer removed from Judiciary panel in wake of alcohol-related charge

Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. during a Judiciary Committee hearing in 2011 in Annapolis. (Photo by Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

Maryland Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr., who was charged last month with operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, told reporters Thursday that House Speaker Michael E. Busch had removed him from the chamber’s Judiciary Committee.

Dwyer’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time of an Aug. 22 collision that injured seven people, including a 5-year-old girl, according to the Maryland Natural Resources police.

“I am certainly going to miss serving on the House Judiciary Committee after serving there for eleven years,” Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) said in a statement Thursday morning, issued a day after the legislature’s 90-day began.

Busch (D-Anne Arundel) confirmed the decision Thursday afternoon, telling reporters: “I think it’s more appropriate for Delegate Dwyer to be on the Ways and Means Committee with the current issues pending.”

Dwyer said in his statement that he “understood” Busch’s position and would “welcome the opportunity” to serve on a different committee.

Under House rules, Busch has sole authority to make committee assignments. Aides said other reassignments are expected in coming days.

In addition to the alcohol-related charge, Dwyer faces four other charges related to the episode, during which he was operating his motorboat, the Legislator. The other operator was also charged, though none of his charges involved alcohol.

In a letter to constituents posted this week on Facebook, Dwyer said that in the past year he faced “both personal and professional challenges that were extremely difficult for me.”

“As a result, and regrettably so, I turned to alcohol to cope,” Dwyer wrote. “As many of you know, this culminated in a serious boat accident in August when the boat I was operating was struck by another vessel.”

Dwyer said he had sought counseling and entered an alcohol-intervention program.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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