ANNAPOLIS -- The General Assembly's Democratic majority, though slightly diminished by this month's election, yesterday unanimously returned to office for another year House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Kent, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's.
In separate, uncontentious caucuses, House and Senate Democrats also picked other leaders to begin the four-year legislative term that starts in January.
Delegate Nancy K. Kopp of Montgomery County was selected by the House caucus as speaker pro tem, nominally the House's second highest position. She replaces Delegate Dennis C. Donaldson, D-Prince George's, who is leaving the legislature for a Department of Transportation job.
Mr. Mitchell pledged that Ms. Kopp will be "an integral part of my team."
To accept the job, however, Mr. Mitchell said Ms. Kopp will give up her position as chairman of a budget-review subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. Her replacement, as well as appointments to fill other House leadership vacancies, will not be announced for another 10 days or so, Mr. Mitchell said.
Mr. Mitchell acknowledged he is considering reducing the power held by House Majority Leader John S. Arnick, D-Baltimore County, who also chairs the Environmental Matters Committee. The issue is whether Mr. Arnick should retain both jobs or only one.
In the Senate, Frederick C. Malkus Jr., D-Dorchester, the 77-year-old dean of the legislature, was returned as president pro tem.
President Miller also confirmed that Sen. Thomas P. O'Reilly, D-Prince George's, would replace Sen. Catherine I. Riley, D-Harford, who is retiring, as Finance Committee chairman.
Senator Miller also retained Clarence W. Blount, D-Baltimore, as majority leader and chairman of the Economic and Environmental Matters Committee; Walter M. Baker, D-Cecil, as chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and Laurence Levitan, D-Montgomery, as chairman of Budget and Taxation.
Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, D-Baltimore, was named the new vice chairman of Budget and Taxation and chairman of one of its two subcommittees; and Sen. William H. Amoss, D-Harford, is to chair the other subcommittee.
Appointed as chairmen of other special committees were: Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, D-Baltimore County, as co-chairman of the joint Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee; Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, D-Baltimore County, as chairman of the Rules Committee; and Sen. John A. Pica Jr., D-Baltimore, as chairman of the Senate's reapportionment and redistricting committee.