Ron Young

State Sen. Ron Young

ANNAPOLIS — When it came to a proposed sing-along on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Ron Young’s response was the sound of silence.

The chamber had its first look Tuesday morning at a bill — supported by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee — to update Maryland’s state song. The amended bill, sponsored by Young, D-District 3, would change the song to remove certain verses and add a verse by Middletown-born John T. White.

The committee’s amended version of the bill would also designate the current nine-verse song, which was written by James Ryder Randall, as the state’s “historical” song.

“It’s just a very negative, detrimental song,” Young said Tuesday. “It was a battle song for the South during the Civil War.”

Sen. Joanne C. Benson, D-Prince George’s County, had a question for Young during Tuesday’s floor session: “How possible is it for you to try to sing that for us?” Harkening back to the bygone days when senators would pound canes on the old chamber floor, members thumped their desks.

But Young would not put on a show. “I think the Senate would very much appreciate it if I sang, because they would all leave and get out of here early,” he said.

Earlier this session, yet another possible version of the song — written by a Baltimore man, to insert a reference to Harriet Tubman — led to singing in a House committee. Delegate Karen Lewis Young, D-District 3, presented a similar bill to her husband’s during that hearing, but the House committee hasn’t acted on any of the song bills.

The Senate committee’s amended bill includes a preamble outlining the need to change the song. “The historic state song represents a bygone era when our state was divided in the midst of the Civil War and expresses emotions that were characteristic of that most divided period in this country’s history,” the preamble states.

“As many in this state make increased efforts to find common ground and work together harmoniously in a nonpartisan manner, this state needs a song that unites us moving forward and carries a theme that will endure over time,” the preamble continues.

The bill also picked up two other sponsors: Senators Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore County, and Cheryl C. Kagan, D-Montgomery, whose bill to create a state song selection panel was viewed unfavorably by the committee.

Discussion on Young’s bill was continued until Wednesday after Sen. Robert G. Cassilly, R-Harford, requested that it be “laid over,” a procedure which allows amended bills to be postponed for one day, so members can do more research.

Cassilly said he hadn’t read the bill yet and wanted to take a close look at it.

“I tread very lightly, I’m very thoughtful, when it comes to changing our state history,” Cassilly said.

“I just can’t go along with a song I haven’t heard sung yet,” he said with a wink outside the Senate chamber.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(10) comments

jgrose79

What a waste of time. Ron Young is a joke. He will be replaced in 2018. Whomever runs against him can beat him so easily. This is the exact type of article that needs to run every time he makes a bill or a move. He is wasting our taxpayer dollars and isn't offering help to those who truly need it.

timothygaydos

Seems to run in this family (did I just say that) wow; spending way too much time and $$$ on the state song. Time to address the crime rate, cop killings, drug problems, and illegal immigrants and with it gangs.

m21701m

The Youngs clearly have their priorities backwards. Thanks to Ron, Transgender people can how undress with your children in locker rooms all over the state!

corgikid

Be thankful that they're not passing any new regulations, taxes or other burdens on us taxpayers. They better start paying attention to the Latin gangs here in Frederick. They are now in our high schools. Need a lot of deportations to occur.

DickD

Find something better to do or don't run for office.

Wm304

I can not believe these people who we as citizens are supposed to look up to, are wasting valuable time and money on a song. With the state highway and bridge system in a shambles, and crime on the rise in the state, take these people out of Annapolis, put a hard hat on them, and have them go and patch potholes for all the money they make. We are paying them to debate a song? Is this now American Idol?

DickD

[thumbup][thumbup] Couldn't have said it better.

Dwasserba

La la la no longer care

tonyc51

This is a fine example of the point I made to an editorial last week about congressional republicans opposing the naming of a post office. This is a fine example of the same type of boondoggle perpetuated by democrats, who should be spending their time working on the multitude of problems facing the state of Maryland. While the Maryland state song is an anachronism, I do not feel it warrants this type of wasted time. For that matter why does the state even need a state song, other than to play at the Preakness.

DickD

It might be partisan with our politicians, not to me, to me it is just a lot of nonsense.

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