Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BREAKING: Montgomery County Council Votes to Table Curfew & Loitering Proposals // Procedural Drama!

After nearly six months of debate, County Executive Ike Leggett's controversial youth curfew proposal appears to have died. Today, the County Council voted 6-3 to table the proposal, and immediately voted to table an alternative loitering proposal as well. You can read Maryland Juice's curfew archives, but honestly, aren't you sick of the issue by now? If not, further details on the vote below...

There was a little bit of procedural drama prior to the votes, however. Councilmember Hans Riemer had motioned to table the curfew proposal, but Councilmember Craig Rice challenged the motion, stating that "tabling" motions are intended to be temporary. (A minority of Councilmembers wanted to simply vote on some of the amendments).

Council attorney Mike Faden stepped in to provide advice, and suggested the tabling motion was valid. After noting further objections from Mr. Rice, newly annointed Council President Roger Berliner overruled them and ordered a vote on the tabling motion. Councilmember Craig Rice further objected after the vote, calling Mr. Berliner's acceptance of the tabling motion a "travesty of justice."

In any case, we appear to be done with this issue ... for now. The Councilmembers indicated a very, very, very wide range of opinions and perspectives on the various proposals today. Many of them did not have the same position today that they did six months ago. In fact,some of them hinted that their views were still malleable and could be revisited in the future. Oy vey. Here's to hoping we're not going to endure three more years of curfew debates. But for now -- another victory for civil liberties!

From the sounds of today's debate, it also sounds like the police and school resource officers might expect to see staffing increases in the next budget. Same with funding for youth development activities. I guess that is one side effect of six months of bickering about crime data and policy effectiveness. Chief Manger and public safety advocates can't be too upset by that outcome, even if they don't get the curfew.

Seems like a win-win to Maryland Juice!

P.s. Today's curfew defeat is reassuring, because I don't even want to tell you about what's going on with habeas corpus, the Patriot Act and other issues in America. Congress is on a pretty radical legal march against privacy and due process right now.... (more on that later).

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