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Laurel City Council to amend candidacy rule change

Concerns raised by the Prince George's County chapters of the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union have prompted the City Council to amend legislation requiring candidates for municipal office to submit to criminal background checks.

The council will hold a special session Monday, Aug. 8, to rework the measure, according to a statement from Mayor Craig Moe.

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The legislation passed in October, but when council members discussed it in a work session prior to the vote, some members raised questions about privacy implications.

According to the mayor's office, NAACP and ACLU representatives who met with city officials cited similar concerns and also said the legislation could be interpreted as discriminatory.

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City officials said they were also reminded that the city's legislation does not take into account that, under Maryland law, convicted felons who have completed their sentences are allowed to vote and therefore considered qualified candidates.

In a press release, Moe said he wants the amendment in place before the Sept. 6 filing deadline for candidates in the city's Nov. 1 elections for mayor and City Council.

He said the intent of the legislation was to provide more transparency for residents, with regards to those seeking elective offices.

The special council meeting to amend the city elective-office qualifications and bring them in line with Maryland's candidacy rules will take place Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Laurel Municipal Center.

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