Jalisi Returns to House Chamber; Lisanti Speaks on Floor for First Time Since Censure

    For the first time since being reprimanded by his colleagues this week, Del. Hasan M. “Jay” Jalisi (D-Baltimore County) was back at his desk in the House chamber on Thursday.

    He voted on the many bills the House considered but he did not participate in floor debate. Nor did he appear to have much interaction with the lawmakers seated around him.

    On Wednesday, the House voted unanimously to reprimand Jalisi after an ethics investigation found “an ongoing pattern of bullying and abusive workplace behavior.”

    The report concluded that the Baltimore County Democrat mistreated staff over a multi-year period.

    Lawmakers were told that House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) repeatedly counseled Jalisi on his conduct and urged him to take anger management and workplace sensitivity training, but that he refused to do so.

    In a round of interviews after the House vote, Jalisi denied the accusations against him.

    He told The Baltimore Sun the charges were “bogus” claims made by disgruntled former employees.

    He acknowledged being impatient but said he sets high standards for himself and his staff.

    In an interview with WBAL-TV (Channel 11), the lawmaker said he’s “very disappointed” by the reprimand.

    “In my five years, I think this is the first time that somebody has been reprimanded for basically being a tough boss,” Jalisi said.

    Meanwhile, Del. Mary Anne Lisanti (D-Harford) spoke on the House floor for the first time Thursday since being censured by her colleagues a month earlier.

    She rose during the debate on whether to override Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s veto of the measure to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    Late last month Lisanti was stripped of her subcommittee chairmanship and her spot on the House Economic Matters Committee – which considered the minimum wage measure – following accusations she used a racial slur to refer to a legislative district in Prince George’s County.

    “I’m very proud to stand here to cast my green vote for this bill today and stand with the working people of Maryland,” she said Thursday.

    She went on to thank the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, which, she said, “represents a very diverse group of businesses.” She said “diverse” twice, for good measure.

    During a story from Lisanti’s tenure as city manager of Havre de Grace, Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), who was presiding over the House chamber, interrupted Lisanti. “Your time has expired,” Jones said once, then a second time.

    Lisanti brought her story to a quick conclusion and took her seat.

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    Bruce DePuyt
    Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. He's a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.