Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who’s Doing the Best Job on the Environment?

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has released its 2009 scorecard. Four of Montgomery’s eight Senators and nineteen of Montgomery’s twenty-four Delegates earned perfect scores. Only two of the county’s legislators scored less than 70%. Read more to find out who they are!

LCV scored eleven committee votes and six floor votes for Senators, and eleven committee votes and six floor votes for Delegates. Many of these votes were on different bills because some were considered in one chamber and not the other. Legislators were not penalized for votes taken by committees on which they did not sit or for excused absences.

First, let’s recognize the legislators with perfect records this year. They are:

Senators Brian Frosh (D-16), Rich Madaleno (D-18), Mike Lenett (D-19) and Jamie Raskin (D-20).

Delegates Anne Kaiser (D-14), Karen Montgomery (D-14), Kathleen Dumais (D-15), Craig Rice (D-15), Bill Frick (D-16), Susan Lee (D-16), Kumar Barve (D-17), Jim Gilchrist (D-17), Luiz Simmons (D-17), Al Carr (D-18), Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18), Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18), Ben Kramer (D-19), Roger Manno (D-19), Sheila Hixson (D-20), Tom Hucker (D-20), Heather Mizeur (D-20), Saqib Ali (D-39) and Kirill Reznik (D-39).

Every other Montgomery legislator scored at least 70% and missed just one or two votes with two exceptions: Senators Rona Kramer (D-14) and Jennie Forehand (D-17).

Kramer voted wrong four times, by far the most in the county’s delegation. She earned a 50% score, which was tied by one Republican (District 2 Senator Donald Munson) and exceeded by another (District 35 Senator Barry Glassman, who scored 56%). LCV penalized Kramer for:

Voting against HB 309, which would have reauthorized a program for restoring historic buildings. The bill passed the House unanimously but died in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on an 8-7 vote.

Voting for a floor amendment to SB 666. The bill would have tightened requirements for developers to prevent forest loss from new projects. The amendment, which passed, exempted utility companies and the entire bill became law.

Voting against SB 672, a bill by Senator Jamie Raskin that would have established stormwater user charges to pay for stormwater management activities. The bill failed in the Senate.

Voting against SB 554, the Chesapeake Bay Nitrogen Reduction Act of 2009, which required nitrogen removal technology on new septic systems near the Bay. The bill became law.

Senator Jennie Forehand voted with Kramer on the stormwater and nitrogen bills. Because she serves on Judicial Proceedings, a committee that did not consider any environmental bills this session, she was not rated on any committee votes and earned a 67% score.

We previously reported that Kramer and Forehand were ranked best and second-best in the county by a right-wing business group. Now they are ranked last and second-to-last in the county by the state’s premier environmental organization. That is a bad combination for a Montgomery politician.

Here are LCV’s lifetime scores for Montgomery Senators:

100%: Brian Frosh (D-16), Jamie Raskin (D-20)
95%: Rich Madaleno (D-18), Mike Lenett (D-19)
88%: Rob Garagiola (D-15)
84%: Nancy King (D-39)
81%: Jennie Forehand (D-17)
65%: Rona Kramer (D-14)

And here are LCV’s lifetime scores for Montgomery Delegates:

100%: Bill Frick (D-16), Roger Manno (D-19)
98%: Karen Montgomery (D-14), Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18), Tom Hucker (D-20)
96%: Craig Rice (D-15), Heather Mizeur (D-20)
95%: Anne Kaiser (D-14)
94%: Bill Bronrott (D-16), Kirill Reznik (D-39)
93%: Luiz Simmons (D-17), Al Carr (D-18), Hank Heller (D-19), Charles Barkley (D-39)
92%: Jim Gilchrist (D-17), Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18)
91%: Susan Lee (D-16)
90%: Kathleen Dumais (D-15), Saqib Ali (D-39)
89%: Sheila Hixson (D-20)
88%: Herman Taylor (D-14)
85%: Kumar Barve (D-17)
84%: Brian Feldman (D-15), Ben Kramer (D-19)