By Ryan Gniadek
There have been some interesting developments lately in the Maryland General Assembly. Whether it’s the Sunshine Tax, the Road Kill Bill, or the recent attempts to rush through a bill allowing Attorney General Frosh to sue the Trump Administration – Maryland Democrats have not failed to disappoint.
But their latest partisan move may be the most appalling. House Bill 348: It would call for a ballot referendum asking voters if they’d like to stagger Montgomery Counties council elections between Gubernatorial and Presidential elections. This may sound good, but it’s really an hyper-partisan attempt to undermine the recent MoCo Term Limits Referendum (Question B).
Let me refresh your memory; Question B was an initiative to amend the county charter by instituting Term Limits (3 terms, 12 years total) for County Executive and County Council. Local attorney and activist Robin Ficker conceived the idea, and was responsible for leading the effort to collect 18,000 signatures, 8,000 more than were needed to get it on the ballot.
In November, we made our voices heard; 70 percent of voters said “Yes on B.” This shocked the Montgomery County Democrat establishment, their monopoly was over. The playing field has been leveled and elections will once again be competitive in Montgomery County.
It was no accident that almost 300,000 people voted for Term Limits. After tax increase after tax increase – specifically recordation and property taxes – We the People were ready to kick the “tax increase specialists” out of Rockville in favor of fresh ideas!
How does this all relate to Question B? It’s simple, under HB 348, the County Council and its lawyers would choose how we transition to a staggered system, and which seats specifically would be elected during Presidential years.
The Montgomery County House Delegation (all of which are democrats), left this part of the bill vague for a reason. Based on their self-serving tendencies, it would not surprise me if the council choose to do one of the following: extend the terms of the council members who’ve been “Term Limited” by two years, or move to presidential years the seats which are most competitive.
Both of those egregious scenarios would not be out of character for a council that has a history of putting their own political interests above those of their constituents. They’d almost certainly use their complete discretion in the implementation of the proposed charter amendment for their political gain.
The reasons people said “Yes on B” are clear. Montgomery County voters are ready to level the playing field in MoCo, and End One Party Rule! They are ready for fresh ideas, instead of incumbents with job security so great that they vote upon themselves pay increase after pay increase, while refusing to answer to us.
It’s no secret the Democrat’s have a higher share of voter turnout during presidential years. That is exactly why they want to stagger the council elections. HB 348 would subvert the electoral mandate behind MoCo Term Limits by nullifying most of its effects.
We must stop HB 348 before it gains traction. Click here for the contact information of the House Ways and Means Committee and Click here for the contact information of the Montgomery County Delegation.
It has fallen upon We the People to ensure our voice is heard!