Jessica Fitzwater

Jessica Fitzwater, Frederick County Council member.

Frederick County Council members are scheduled to finalize their recommendations to County Executive Jan Gardner (D) later this month, regarding what position statements and proposed bills to include in a legislative package in Annapolis.

Discussion during Tuesday’s meeting was brief, but no one objected to Councilman Steve McKay’s (R) proposal to create special elections for vacancies on the county Board of Education.

In that proposal, county residents could vote on a replacement for sudden vacancies on the Board of Education for any congressional election cycle. The County Executive would still appoint someone to fill the remainder of the term, but a special election would then be held, alongside the regular candidates running.

The lowest vote-getter who is elected to the board would serve a partial term. McKay’s legislation, sponsored by Sen. Michael Hough (R-Carroll and Frederick) and Sen. Ron Young (D-Frederick), passed in the Senate, but the cross-file legislation in the House died in committee.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater said she hoped the Council would approve supporting statements from the county’s Commission for Women. One bill, introduced in prior legislative sessions, would repeal a part of state law that includes marriage as a defense to sex crimes. In other words, spouses can only allege a sex crime if a limited divorce or separation agreement has been legally filed.

“That’s just not an accurate reflection of what happens in some of these sexual crime cases,” Fitzwater said at a meeting last week.

The Commission for Women also was supportive for legislation that provides “comprehensive” wage replacement for families to take a leave of absence: to take care of a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, their own serious health condition or military deployment.

County Executive Jan Gardner (D) will hold a town hall on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. to allow citizens to comment on these proposals or suggest ideas for her legislative package to send to the county delegation. The County Council will vote on that package.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(1) comment


Foolish. Too over developed as it is

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