State Digest

January 18, 2008

State Senate, governor honor Senator Britt

With about 20 family members of the late Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt in attendance, the Maryland Senate paid tribute yesterday to the Prince George's County lawmaker and civil rights activist, who died Saturday.

Gov. Martin O'Malley told the overflowing chamber that Britt was "deeply loved throughout our state" and was "one of the strongest and classiest senators that ever walked these floors."

The five-year Democratic state senator, who was jailed in 1961 for protesting segregationist Jim Crow laws in Mississippi, also campaigned for civil rights on behalf of ex-offenders and homosexuals.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller ended the service, saying "She began her life by breaking laws for human rights, and ended her life by making laws for human rights."

Britt's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in Glenn Dale. A two-hour wake will precede the service.

Gadi Dechter

Election 2008

: 1st District

Harris is accused of illegal campaigning

Glen Burnie attorney James Braswell has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that state Sen. Andy Harris illegally coordinated with the Club for Growth, a national political action committee that helps conservative Republican candidates.

Harris is running in the Feb. 12 primary for the congressional seat held by Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest. State Sen. E. J. Pipkin is also challenging the incumbent congressman.

Braswell, who once ran for the House of Delegates, says that when the Club for Growth's political action committee released television ads critical of Gilchrest and Pipkin, the Harris campaign distributed a mailer containing a "virtually identical" message.

Braswell contends that the "choreographed time" suggests illegal coordination between Harris and the group, which is not subject to the same campaign finance disclosure laws as a candidate.

Harris campaign manager Chris Meekins denied the allegations.

Laura Smitherman

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