The Maryland House of Delegates welcomed a new student page this week and his name is … Leeroy Jenkins?

On April Fool’s Day, Del. Carl Anderton played a trick on Del. Veronica Turner, the protocol chair who has the responsibility of introducing the high school pages who help out in the House chamber.

Turner made it through the seven actual pages, and then Anderton, an Eastern Shore Republican, appeared at the end of the line of high schoolers, wearing a gray page blazer. With her characteristic enthusiasm, Turner yelled out the name “Leeroy Jenkins!” as Anderton waved and cheered.

Delegates laughed, and some stood and applauded. The joke was funny on two levels that some lawmakers, staffers and observers might not have appreciated.

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Many likely were laughing simply about their colleague pretending to be a student page with a fake name.

But the fake name of “Leeroy Jenkins” carries another meaning for video gamers.

We’ll take you back to 2005 and the popular online game World of Warcraft. A group of players were hatching battle plans together, when all of a sudden, another player ran in and hollered the name: “Leeroy Jenkins!”

The careful planning went out the window, and the players scrambled to fight — all while expressing disdain at Leeroy Jenkins for ruining things.

A video capture of the encounter went viral — well, viral in the video game world — and has since become a term for someone who always screws things up for everyone else.

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If you want to watch Turner unwittingly introducing Leeroy Jenkins, here’s the video.

Want to see the original Leeroy Jenkins? There are plenty of clips on YouTube, including this one.

Turner, a Prince George’s County Democrat, took the joke in stride, but warned Anderton: “I’m going to get you!”

— Pamela Wood

Sen. J.B. Jennings, a Baltimore and Harford County Democrat, speaks during floor debate in the Senate Chamber of the Maryland State House on March 15, 2024. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Sen. J.B. Jennings speaks for the bees

A recap of General Assembly floor debate, inspired by The Lorax:

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Along highway medians where the green grass grows

Maryland will plan for native flora by rows and by rows.

Lawmakers voting yea made it so with a bill

to consider butterfly rest stops by gulley and by hill

But not all was well with one who rose from red chair

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to ponder bee safety as they zip through the air

Just before the Senate said yes! yes! and yes!

Baltimore County’s Sen. J.B. Jennings asked all to digress

Has anyone considered the safety of bees?

Wouldn’t they be better off landing near trees?

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Near the sides of fast roads instead of the middle?

Cars are so big, and bees are so little.

Let’s not make them cross paths of cars speeding by

Let’s shield harm from pollen lovers — or else they may die!

Bill sponsor Sen. Kathy Klausmeier rose with a grin

and questioned if “Bee Crossing” signs should be put in

On House Bill 22 all senators chuckled then concurred

Indeed Jennings’ concerns, well, they were heard.

Sen. Justin Ready summed it up and supposed

the SHA should please “bee careful” where they plant their rows.

Brenda Wintrode

New leader after property tax snafu

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore named a new acting leader for the state department that, among other responsibilities, handles property tax assessments.

Daniel K. Phillips is the interim director of the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, replacing Michael Higgs.

Earlier this year, a contractor for SDAT missed a deadline for mailing paper notices of new tax values to at least 100,000 property owners. That could have complicated the ability of local governments to collect property taxes based on the new values, but state lawmakers are advancing a bill that will address the situation.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve and I am honored to step into this role,” Phillips said in a statement released by the governor’s office. “I look forward to running an efficient, transparent Department as we carry out our work on behalf of all Marylanders.”

Phillips has worked in SDAT for 35 years, including as supervisor of the department’s Real Property Division since 2020.

— Pamela Wood

New Latino leaders in Annapolis

The General Assembly’s Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus announced its new leaders for the next year:

Martinez posted online that becoming chair is particularly meaningful, as he began his career in politics as a caucus staffer when Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk was the chair. “To now serve as Chair is a milestone that means so much,” he wrote.

Martinez was elected to the House of Delegates in 2022.

The caucus was created 10 years ago by a handful of Latino members of the General Assembly. Today the group counts about 50 members — not all of them are Latino, but all work on issues of importance to Latino Marylanders.

The caucus estimates that there are nearly 730,000 Hispanic residents in Maryland, making up about 12% of the total population and 17% of all children in school.

— Pamela Wood

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