ANNAPOLIS — Is the third time a charm?

Delegate David Vogt, R-District 4, is hoping that’s true for a bill that would limit senators and delegates to three consecutive terms in the same office and a lifetime maximum of five terms — or 20 years — as a member of the General Assembly.

But the bill faces a tough audience.

About one-third of the current senators and delegates have served in their respective houses of the General Assembly for more than three terms.

And House Speaker Michael Busch (D) is the longest-serving head of the House of Delegates in Maryland history.

And Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) has been a member of the General Assembly since 1971. With three decades as Senate president under his belt, Miller is the longest-serving state Senate president in the country.

And because the bill is a constitutional amendment, it would then go before voters to decide.

In a committee hearing last Friday, Vogt acknowledged that the bill comes from an unlikely source — an elected official.

“I know that obviously ... a lot of folks never really expect anybody in our positions to offer that up willingly,” Vogt said. “It’s a matter of making sure that we are holding ourselves to a high standard, holding ourselves accountable, as well as allowing for ... new and fresh ideas and knowledge within legislatures across the country.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 state legislatures have term-limit provisions for their members. Nebraska was the last state to enact term limits, in 2000.

Vogt said his proposal would be the second most liberal approach to term limits in the country, behind only Nevada, which maximized term limits at 12 years in each chamber, with 24 years as a total cap.

Vogt introduced the same bill in 2016. A similar — though more conservative — version was introduced in 2014 by then-Delegate Michael Hough, current senator for District 4. Both of those bills received a hearing in the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, but no further action was taken.

Bill dies, survives at the same time

Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, has signed on to co-sponsor a bill that really was actually his bill.

During a bill hearing earlier this session, Young confronted colleague Sen. Delores Kelley after the Baltimore Democrat filed a word-for-word copy of a bill he’d worked on over the break between sessions. It led to an uncomfortable hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where Kelley is vice chairwoman.

This week, the committee issued an unfavorable report on Young’s bill, indicating that the measure had been withdrawn.

Young confirmed as much this week.

“We had a problem. Sen. Kelley dropped the same bill. I talked to her. I withdrew mine and [joined] hers. She’s on the committee, so I’d let her work it and I’d be a co-sponsor. The exact same bill is still in and I’m a co-sponsor,” he explained.

Hough, a member of the committee, confirmed that amendments to Kelley’s version of the bill are still being worked out.

Hotel funding showdown on hold

Briefly this week, Frederick County lawmakers opposed to state funding for a proposed downtown hotel and conference center prepared for battle. They were responding to a rumor that pre-authorized budget language — stricken from the governor’s budget introduced this year — had re-emerged.

“It’s the same baloney, different year,” said Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4. “... They’re not going to get the money. We’re going to fight it again. And we will win.”

Alas, there is no funding for the downtown hotel and conference center in official budget documents. At least not yet.

The confusion arose as the result of a bill drafting practice that puts language deleted from current law between brackets. In this case, the beginning bracket and ending bracket were on separate pages, deleting multiple pages of text. A page in the middle mentioned the hotel money, with no brackets in sight.

Upon a quick glance or keyword search, the funding might’ve appeared to be there, clear as day.

The House Appropriations Committee is not starting its markup of the state’s capital budget until next week. Last year, the conference center funding was added even later in the process, when a budget conference committee was ironing out differences between budget bills passed by the House and Senate.

Advocates of the project have said they will seek to restore the funding to the state’s budget this year.

“We’re working through the process and we’re in the process,” Delegate Carol Krimm, D-District 3A, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said Thursday.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(11) comments

DickD

We already have term limits, it is called elections.

nbouqu1

[thumbup]

petersamuel

Everyone agrees we need a hotel or, better two or three or four smaller hotels downtown. But the huge $84m, 207 room City sponsored Marriott needing $31m of upfront taxpayer support is all wrong. And the project has been so mismanaged it is never going to happen. The site is stupid for a start. The Maryland Historical Trust has recently declared it an archeological site of unique importance and it has two major buildings on it both now eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It is eight years since consultants have been working on the City payroll doing study after study, and there is still no firm design. So in its eighth year it hasn’t even started what would likely prove a highly contentious public permitting process. All this time the prospect of one favored hotelier getting $31m+ of taxpayer subsidy has scared off investors who would otherwise put up their own money for some more modest-sized, practical and interesting lodging places on vacant sites or by repurposing empty old buildings. Kudos to Del Kathy Afzali for her commonsense and principled leadership in Annapolis.

Jane and Ed

Nicholas Bouquet, thank you for keeping an eye on these capital budget bills. We checked it out with the Delegation and we were assured the brackets are indeed showing that NO HOTEL FUNDING is in the budget. Apparently, Carol Mullan Krimm is saying a couple of them are still trying to slip hotel funding back in. We see what is going on. We know Greenwill lobbyists are being paid to work back channels, but it's a massive waste of time and taxpayer dollars. #StopPuttingLipstickonthepig

jerseygrl42

Miller and Busch need to GO!

Titanman123

I am glad that Afzali and others are still fighting this corporate welfare for Marriott! They have plenty of money.

And I am pretty Vogt won't have to worry about 5 terms,will be gone next time. I hear chick fil a is hiring....;)

jerseygrl42

Actually the WELFARE is for two families, Plamondon which owns numerous Marriott's and Randall which own this Publication

matts853

More chicanery on the hotel. Give up on the Marriott monster. Put out a true RFP - you know, one that wasn't preselected - and see if a boutique hotelier bites and wants to put a smaller, trendy hotel in the city with their own money. What is wrong with these people? No means no!

public-redux

What was the chicanery? The column points out that Afzali misunderstood what she read.

nbouqu1

in fairness, I was the one who did the initial keyword search and word got back to Afzali that it appeared the money for the hotel was back on. Why they don't use strike-through text, making it very clear this section is being deleted, I will never know.

public-redux

Thank you for the clarification.

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