The fallout from last week's Senate hearing on Gov.
At the beginning of the hearing, at 1 p.m., committee chairman Sen.
Eight hours later, just as he said he would, Frosh decided to wind up the testimony -- even though there were many witnesses who still wanted to be heard. He did permit those who were still waiting to testify to state their names and whether they were for or against the bill -- a process that took another hour before the committee wound up about 10 p.m.
With opponents outnumbering supporters of the bill by a wide margin, gun rights supporters were apparently a majority of the unhappy would-be witnesses. Some Republican legislators cried foul because they could not testify fully.
The rule Pipkin proposed Monday night would let the Senate president, either on his own or at the request of two members, label as bill as one of "extraordinary public interest" and allow witnesses to sign up using the General Assembly website rather than in person in Annapolis.
Under the rule, in such circumstances, the committee chairman would be required to arrange a "alternate venue" -- presumably a bigger hall somewhere in Annapolis -- and allot enough time so all witnesses can testify.
The bill was referred to the
One of the obstacles to the rule could be logistical. None of the rooms in the State House complex set up to hold hearings is large enough to accommodate the outpouring that occurred last week. That could raise the question of whether a chairman would have to rent a hall off-site at General Assembly expense.