Md. House unanimously blames a delegate for using racial slurs


Mary Ann Lisanti, a Democrat representing Harford County, Maryland, was sanctioned by her colleagues a few days after it was reported that she had described a legislative district in Prince George County as a "national district."

The House of Delegates of Maryland voted unanimously by 136 votes to blame Del. Mary Ann Lisanti for using a racial insult.

Lisanti, a Democrat representing Harford County, was sanctioned by her colleagues a few days after it was reported that she had referred to a Prince George County legislative district as "a district".

Censorship usually means that the legislator can not sit on a committee, but that he can vote aloud.

In an address before the vote on Thursday night, House Leader Del. Kathleen Dumais said that Lisanti's comments deserved a serious answer.

"With this vote, we assert as an organ that insulting remarks and racist statements can not and will not be tolerated by this assembly," she said.

"… It is not only our responsibility to speak of our injuries and disappointment caused by the use of this language, but of each of our constituents, the district in question, each district and county of Maryland, to say that this is not the case. acceptable."

With regard to the disciplinary measures taken by House leaders, censorship is between public blame and expulsion. Previous disciplinary actions in the body include:

  • The reprimand of Del. Tony McConkey in 2013 for the language of work in a bill that would have directly benefited his real estate business.
  • Senator Ulysses Currie's 2012 censorship for failing to report work for a grocery chain. He was acquitted of federal charges, but an ethics committee found violations.
  • State Senator Larry Young, in 1998, deported for using his office for personal purposes.

The 51-year-old, who is on her second term, admitted Monday that she used this insult in January when she was talking to another colleague at an Annapolis cigar bar.

The Washington Post had initially reported that it had used this insult. When she was interviewed by the media, she reportedly said, "I do not remember that … I do not remember much of that night." When the newspaper asked her if she had ever used this insult, she said that she had, "I'm sure I have … I'm sure everyone has used it."

Lisanti later apologized to the black legislative caucus in private Monday night.

On Tuesday, she did the same thing before the Democratic caucus of the House, then she issued a statement saying that she had used "a word that is not in my vocabulary" and wrote, "This is not my belief system, the work of my life or whatever is in my heart. "

Nevertheless, calls for Lisanti's resignation grew rapidly during the week, with members of the black legislative caucus, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Maryland and Republican Governor Larry Hogan calling for Lisanti's resignation.

She had already been stripped of two management tasks.

Zelphia Smith, chair of the Harford County Chapter in the NAACP, said Tuesday that she was hurt and angry at the word's use by Lisanti. Smith also pointed out that she knew Lisanti's mother and that she "would be horrified".

Smith added that Lisanti had been supported over the years by the African-American community of her district and that she owed her constituents explanations and apologies.

In a statement on Thursday night, House Speaker Michael Busch said Lisanti "has a lot of work to do to rebuild his relationship with his colleagues, his constituents and the people of Maryland."

"I hope that she is ready and ready to make efforts for the long road ahead," he said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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