Sen. Simpson in a bind over liquor-license bill

Annapolis Watch '92

March 23, 1992

A local Charles County liquor bill has put Sen. James C. Simpson in a perplexing spot.

The bill, which has passed the House of Delegates, would put a cap on the number of liquor licenses in the Southern Maryland county.

Generally, a cap on liquor licenses drives up the value of all the existing ones. Everybody who has a license now, of course, wants to see the bill passed.

Mr. Simpson is no stranger to liquor licenses.

Each of his three children has a package-store license, perhaps making the Simpsons the first family of Charles County liquor.

The folks back home are crying foul, complaining about Mr. Simpson's conflict of interest.

Mr. Simpson says he will have to abstain on the bill when it comes to the Senate.

"It isn't a big deal to me one way or the other," says Mr. Simpson, a 17-year veteran of the Senate.

"If we were going to do something about it, we would have done it a long time ago."

The bill also creates an interesting situation for Mr. Simpson's Senate colleagues, who routinely allow one another to set liquor policy in their home counties.

If Mr. Simpson abstains, should all his colleagues?

Or will they go ahead and pass the bill without guidance from Mr. Simpson?

We'll see.

Tough school, senator:

Everyone knows someone who likes to talk about how hard it was in the old days. You know -- the 5-mile walk to school through blizzards, the innumerable chores, the back-of-the-hand discipline.

But Sen. Walter M. Baker really had it tough growing up in Cecil County, judging by what he told his fellow senators last week.

"We had capital punishment when I went to school," the senator began.

His colleagues quickly pointed out that he probably meant corporal punishment (physical discipline) as opposed to capital punishment (death by execution).

The Cecil County Democrat must have had capital punishment on the mind.

He withdrew several bills on the subject last week, disappointed once again in his drive to see Maryland actually administer the death penalty.

Come on back to Earth:

During the General Assembly session, it's easy for the 188 legislators, their staff, reporters, lobbyists and everyone else who inhabits the State House to think of it as the center of the universe.

It's nice to be brought back to Earth now and then.

Consider the woman who decided to give blood to a national bone marrow registry after reading about the drive in The Sun.

She carefully underlined the location -- the Calvert Room of the State House -- then wrote more explicit instructions at the top of the clipping.

"Big domed building. Take shuttle from stadium."

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