Tuesday, December 6, 2011

After MoCo Curfew Fail, County Executive Ike Leggett Issues Tirade // Councilmember Rice Consults Robert's Rules

Maryland Juice earlier today reported on the Montgomery County Council's decision to indefinitely table the County Executive's controversial youth curfew proposal. Since then numerous outlets have reported on Mr. Leggett's harsh response to the curfew's demise, but I'm not sure I've seen any of them print the response in its entirety. It is fairly wild (see the full document below).

We also reported on some procedural drama that arose as the Council was about to table the curfew proposal, when Councilmember Craig Rice argued that the body couldn't table the bill indefinitely and had to take a vote. The Washington Post's Victor Zapana follows up with a surreal article that even consults the author's of Robert's Rules of Order (former student government parliamentarians around the nation are gushing):
Delaying the vote on the divisive curfew bill allows council members to abandon the Leggett administration’s proposal....

Administration officials said they will continue pushing legislators to bring back the bill.

Soon after council member Hans Riemer (D-At Large) motioned to table the measure, colleague Craig Rice (D-Upcounty), a curfew supporter, tried to block the move, saying it wasn’t allowed by parliamentary rules. After a council attorney said the delay was permitted and the council president declined to hear Rice’s additional objections, Rice said the council had committed a “travesty of justice....”

Before the meeting, Rice’s office was rushing to figure out ways to block the delay. His staff studied Robert’s Rules of Order, which county officials have modified to create their parliamentary rules.

Based on his research, Rice argued that although tabling is mentioned in the county rules, it is never explicitly defined and therefore should retain the definition found in Robert’s. Because of this, he said, Riemer should not have been able to make his motion. In an interview, Robert’s co-author Thomas J. Balch agreed.

But Michael Faden, the council attorney who ruled in favor of Riemer, said after the meeting that the Robert’s definitions apply only to motions not mentioned in the county rules.

Amazingly, the Examiner's Rachel Baye makes me nervous that this debate might still not be over:
[Ike Leggett] insisted that the curfew is not dead, though he said he is not sure how he will pursue it.

Five council members also voted to table the anti-loitering bill Councilman Phil Andrews, D-Gaithersburg/Rockville, proposed as an alternative to the curfew. However, Andrews said he was satisfied with the outcome since tabling the measure will give him more time to perfect it.

Meanwhile, the Post's article also noted that the ACLU believes there are legal defects with some of the suggested amendments:
If lawmakers ever revive the bill, they will have to discuss amendments by council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large) and Nancy Floreen (D-At Large), because the council majority is unlikely to approve Leggett’s proposal without changes. Elrich and Floreen wanted to allow Leggett to impose limited curfews at his discretion.

Both amendments have raised constitutional concerns. The Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday that the amendments may flout the equal protection clause. Council members said they would consider the concern.

Maybe it is time to move onto other options? (Unless the public believes we're not done with this saga yet -- but can that possibly be the case?). In the meantime, you can read Mr. Leggett's full response below: 

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett's Statement on the Council's Curfew Rejection

Not sure where to begin....

No comments:

Post a Comment