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Baltimore County Council strikes bill to let voters decide term limits

A bill that would have allowed Baltimore County voters to decide whether to impose three-term limits on County Council members failed to get the five votes needed for passage.

The bill introduced by Democrat Tom Quirk and Republican Todd Crandell was approved by a 4-3 margin Monday night, but because the bill could have changed the county charter, five votes were needed to advance it.

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Democrats Cathy Bevins, Julian Jones and Izzy Patoka voted against the bill.

Republicans Wade Kach and David Marks voted to add the charter amendment to the 2022 ballot along with Quirk and Crandell.

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This is the second time the council has rebuffed limiting terms. Marks proposed a similar bill limiting terms in 2012, which was subsequently tabled.

Before voting to support the bill, Marks said his position on term limits had changed.

Turnover on the council occurred even without limiting terms, he said, adding that 60% of the council makeup had changed since 2012.

“We have had that turnover on the council … naturally, through attrition,” without the reinforcement of term limits, he said.

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Kach, who was criticized during the meeting for his nearly 40 years representing Baltimore County in the House of Delegates, said term limits present “advantages and disadvantages.”

“But we’re not really voting on the term limits issue,” he said during the meeting. “What we’re voting on is whether or not to give the people of the county the vote as to whether or not they want to limit the terms on the council.”

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