A bill that sought to impose term limits on Baltimore politicians, including the mayor and City Council members, died Tuesday in a council committee.
By a 4-3 vote, the council’s Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee rejected the proposal after it had languished without a hearing for more than a year.
“It’s disappointing because this is a common sense, good government bill,” said Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, the measure’s lead sponsor.
Schleifer’s bill would have limited Baltimore elected officials — including the mayor, comptroller and council members — to no more than three four-year terms in office starting in 2020 if voters approved a charter amendment in this fall’s election.
Though 11 of the council’s 15 members originally signed on as co-sponsors, several changed their positions to vote against the bill.
Committee chairman Eric Costello and fellow council members Ed Reisinger, Robert Stokes and Leon Pinkett voted against the measure. Stokes and Pinkett had initially been supporters.
Both said they believed voters should get to decide who their elected officials are at the polls.
“No one in my district has come to me and said, ‘We want term limits,’” Reisinger said. “Their concern is crime and grime and taxes. … If your constituents want you to stay there, it should be up to them.”
Costello argued that the four-year elections that council members face already serve as term limits.
“This job isn’t easy,” he said. “This job is a complete grind. ... If you don’t do your job … you lose your job.”
“Term limits would allow us to have that kind of turnover more than once a generation,” Henry said. “Personally, I think it’s been a positive change. … Term limits would ensure that we get that regular turnover.”