Now that baseball season is upon us, an analysis that produces "batting averages" of lawmakers' work-the percentage of sponsored bills passed by both the House and the Senate, out of all bills sponsored-provides a fun and relevant way to measure their competence.
To get a read on the substance of each legislator's accomplishments-or lack thereof-this analysis breaks down the results by the city's six districts, ranks them first to last, and then ranks the individual legislators by their batting averages, offering an opportunity to take a more detailed gander at each incumbent's package of successful bills.
A bill's passage in both chambers does not make it law-only those forwarded to the governor, and signed, get on the books-so not all of legislation described below will necessarily be enacted. Passage is, however, a pertinent measure of a proposal's success, and the substance and degree of legislators' accomplishments on this score may help or hinder those challenging them in the upcoming elections-and nearly all the city's races are competitive this year.
First Place: The 43rd DistrictBills Sponsored: 94
Bills Passed: 37
Batting Average: .394, better than Orioles right fielder Delmon Young
The Northeast Baltimore district's heaviest hitter is state Del. Mary Washington, who sponsored five winning bills, producing a .417 average. One ended the practice of shackling incarcerated women during labor and childbirth, while three dealt with issues of homelessness by giving tuition waivers for public higher education to homeless youth, establishing a Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness in the legislature, and directing the Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct a demonstration project to more accurately count the population of homeless youth, including young adults. The fifth helped streamline the disciplinary appeal and grievance procedures for state workers.
Next up is state Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who sponsored 24 bills passed by both chambers, producing a .414 average-also better than Young's. As chair of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, though, Conway's legislative plate is filled with technocratic bills tweaking the governing game over arcane corners of life. Most of her successful bills did such things as give a legal definition of pear cider and electric bicycles, adjust the scope of practice for licensed podiatrists, and set membership for the State Board of Nursing's Electrology Practice Committee. Among the substantive measures passed under Conway's sponsorship were measures to up the penalties for voting offenses and to shift campaign-finance filing deadlines to comport with the new election calendar.
State Del. Maggie McIntosh, who chairs the House Environmental Matters Committee, navigated five bills through both houses for a .357 batting average-better than what Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is doing this season. Four of her bills reformed real estate taxation in Baltimore City with an eye to retaining homeowners and making sure tax-exempt properties are entitled to their exemptions. The fifth revised and extended the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund, a thus-far unfunded pool of state funding to promote rural economic development.
State Del. Curt Anderson's .300 average, slightly better than Orioles second-baseman Steve Lombardozzi's, was achieved with three successful bills. One eliminates criminal charges against people who let others drive vehicles they rented and those who drive vehicles rented by others. The other two adjust how funeral parlors are overseen by the State Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors. As the chair of Baltimore City's House delegation, Anderson's legislative workload also includes shepherding City Hall's agenda through the General Assembly.
In the Democratic primary, Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry (4th District) is challenging Conway, while Timothy Vance (facebook.com/Tvance2014) aims to unseat one of the incumbent delegates. Unaffiliated candidate Gregory Dorsey (gregdorseyunaffiliated.com) aims to have his name appear on the general-election ballot for delegate on Nov. 4, should he meet the petition-signature requirement to do so.
Second Place: The 46th DistrictBills Sponsored: 51
Bills Passed: 15
Batting Average: .294, better than Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop
The waterfront district's top batting average was an amazing .750 by state Del. Brian McHale. The only baseball players who achieve such lofty averages are the ones who rarely go to bat-as was the case with McHale, who sponsored only four bills, a load so light only two other city legislators tried less. Still, three out of four is a good way to go out for a retiring veteran like McHale, who is not seeking re-election this year. His three successful measures established fixed charges for Baltimore City taxi services, expanded microbrewing opportunities in the city, and ordered the state to study whether to establish occupational safety and health prequalification requirements for public-works contractors.
State Del. Peter Hammen's .444 batting average, fueled by passage of four bills, is better than any of the Orioles. Since he chairs the House Health and Government Operations Committee, it's no surprise that three of his successful bills deal with health-related issues: one to allow the Developmental Disabilities Administration to help more disabled people with low-intensity support services, one to make specialty drugs for treating certain medical conditions more affordable to insured patients, and one to create a workgroup to resolve disputes between health care providers and insurance carriers. The fourth assures that the inactive Cox Creek Citizens Oversight Committee, which manages issues involved with the placement of dredging spoils in Anne Arundel County, continues to include a member from the 46th District.
State Sen. Bill Ferguson's seven successful bills gave him a .250 batting average, about the same as Schoop and Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. Two were the Senate versions of McHale's taxi-services bill and Hammen's Cox Creek measure. Another expands the membership of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the regional council of Baltimore-area governments, and adds regional transportation, housing, workforce development, and renewable energy to the issues it addresses. The others assure that child-care centers meet higher nutritional and physical-activity standards; require the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to conduct annual forecasts of the state's incarcerated juvenile-charged-as-adult population; prescribe how liquor licenses are transferred in a two-block stretch of East Fort Avenue in Riverside and Locust Point; and establish the State Council on Open Data to implement policies that ease public access to government data.