State Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-District 11) moved up the ranks of the Maryland General Assembly last week.
Zirkin, who represents the Owings Mills and Reisterstown area of Baltimore County, will replace Attorney General-elect Brian Frost as chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Senate President Mike Miller (D-District 27) announced on Dec. 3. The appointment reportedly makes Zirkin the youngest senator to chair any of the Senate’s four standing committees on policy.
The committee is one of the most watched in the state legislature. In years past, it has tackled issues such as the death penalty, same-sex marriage and gun control legislation. Zirkin is a trial lawyer with a practice in Owings Mills that specializes in dog bites, car accidents, DUIs and divorce. He served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee from 1999 to 2007, when he was sworn in as a state senator.
He sat on the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee from 2007 to 2010 before moving to the judicial proceedings committee in 2011. In the 2014 session, Zirkin sponsored bills decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and requiring social service providers to disclose information about child abuse to health care practitioners, both of which were passed. He also sponsored failed legislation that attempted to expand access to kosher wine in the state by establishing kosher wine selling permits.
Montgomery County’s Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. (D-District 18) was named vice chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. In the 2014 legislative session, Madaleno was a vocal supporter of a bill backed by the Baltimore Jewish Council that called for financial penalties for state universities that use schools funds to participate or support, whether directly or indirectly, in a boycott of Israeli institutions.
Baltimore City Sen. Catherine Pugh (D-District 40) was also named Senate majority leader.