Monday, June 15, 2009

Right-Wing Business Group Gives High Marks to Rona Kramer and Jennie Forehand

Maryland Business for a Responsible Government (MBRG), a business advocacy group that seldom has anything nice to say about Montgomery County state legislators, has made a partial exception for two of them: Senators Rona Kramer (D-14) and Jennie Forehand (D-17).

MBRG’s membership roster includes some of the biggest businesses in the state, as well as some of the most anti-union (Miller and Long, the Associated Builders and Contractors Chesapeake Chapter and Wal-Mart). Even one of our business sources describes them as “really right wing.” They recently issued a 2009 score card that ranked Senators on 11 votes and Delegates on 9 votes. Some of the bills MBRG criticized legislators for supporting were Delegate Roger Manno’s shift breaks bill, a bill making it easier for employment discrimination victims to claim back pay, a bill that instituted a very weak effort to crack down on employee misclassification and a bill expanding family and medical leave for employees. In MBRG’s opinion, a vote to help workers is a vote against business.

MBRG gives an award to legislators scoring at least 70% on its priorities. Only one Montgomery legislator met that standard this year: Senator Rona Kramer (D-14). MBRG credited her on the following votes:

Voting against a bill that would have restricted transfers of rental units covered by federal housing assistance.

Voting against a bill that would have cracked down on fraud against the state health department.

Voting against a bill that would have tightened requirements on lead paint testing and mitigation on owners of residential properties.

Voting against an amendment to a bill that would have limited credits to employers on some workers compensation claims.

Voting against a bill by Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20) that would have imposed a stormwater user charge that would have funded stormwater management activities.

Voting for an amendment to the workers misclassification bill that weakened penalties for tax-cheating employers.

Voting against the Preakness bill, which authorized the state to condemn and purchase the Preakness.

Kramer’s lifetime cumulative score from MBRG is 62% - 22 points higher than the next-best lifetime scorers in Montgomery (Senators Rob Garagiola and Jennie Forehand).

Forehand received a 59% score this year. She voted with Rona Kramer on the rental unit transfer bill, the lead paint bill, the workers compensation credit amendment, the stormwater user charge, and the weakening of misclassification penalties. She also voted against a bill that would have reinstituted partial electricity reregulation.

Here are the scores for the rest of the Montgomery Delegation:

40%: Senator Rob Garagiola (D-15), Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18), Kirill Reznik (D-39)
33%: Delegate Luiz Simmons (D-17), Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18), Ben Kramer (D-19)
30%: Senator Nancy King (D-39), Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-20)
25%: Delegates Herman Taylor (D-14), Charles Barkley (D-39), Roger Manno (D-19)
20%: Delegates Anne Kaiser (D-14), Karen Montgomery (D-14), Craig Rice (D-15), Bill Bronrott (D-16), Bill Frick (D-16), Kumar Barve (D-17), Jim Gilchrist (D-17), Al Carr (D-18), Henry Heller (D-19), Sheila Hixson (D-20), Tom Hucker (D-20), Saqib Ali (D-39)
18%: Senator Brian Frosh (D-16)
17%: Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D-15), Susan Lee (D-16)
13%: Delegate Brian Feldman (D-15)
0%: Senators Rich Madaleno (D-18), Mike Lenett (D-19), Jamie Raskin (D-20)