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Nearly Two-Thirds of Md. Lawmakers Get Purr-fect Scores From Animal Rights Group

Animal Welfare
Unsplash.com photo by Jametlene Reskp.

Thirty of Maryland’s 47 state senators received perfect scores on an annual legislative report card released late last month by the Maryland Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Eighty-eight of the 141 House members also got 100% scores for their votes during the regular 2021 General Assembly session.

The Humane Society becomes the latest advocacy group in Maryland to grade lawmakers on their legislative session votes. Annual scorecards from the Maryland Free Enterprise Institute and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters have become staples in the state’s political discourse, and other interest groups also release analyses of legislators’ voting records.

The Humane Society used six votes on animal rights bills from the 2021 session to piece together its scorecard: a bill to ban wildlife shooting contests, which became law without Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s signature; a bill that prevents cosmetics testing on animals in Maryland, which also became law without his signature; a bill outlawing intentional releases of helium balloons, which Hogan (R) signed; a bill renewing the state’s Spay and Neuter fund, which Hogan signed; a bill governing the training of animal control and Humane Society officers, which Hogan signed; and a bill that would have created protections for dogs left outside in extreme weather, which passed in the House but stalled in a Senate committee.

Most Democrats in the Senate racked up 100% scores, and so did four Republicans: Sens. Mary Beth Carozza (Lower Shore), who was the chief Senate sponsor of the balloon ban, Stephen S. Hershey Jr. (Upper Shore), Edward R. Reilly (Anne Arundel), and Bryan W. Simonaire (Anne Arundel). The lowest scores — 50% — went to Republican Sens. Paul D. Corderman (Washington), George C. Edwards (Garrett), Michael J. Hough (Frederick) and Justin D. Ready (Carroll).

In the House, the perfect scores were all racked up by Democrats. Four Republicans — Dels. Steven J. Arentz (Upper Shore), Gerald W. Clark (St. Mary’s), Seth A. Howard (Anne Arundel) and Jay A. Jacobs (Upper Shore) recorded 83% scores.

No Democrat scored below 83%. The lowest scores — 17% — belonged to Republican Dels. Joseph C. Boteler III (Baltimore County), Kevin C. Hornberger (Cecil), Neil C. Parrott (Washington), Jesse T. Pippy (Frederick) and William J. Wivell (Washington).