Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dear St. Mary's Voters: Please Vote "YES" on Code Home Rule ballot question!

To all folks in St. Mary's county - I urge you to please vote YES on the ballot question regarding the adoption of Code Home Rule as the governing structure for the county. In Maryland, there are three options for counties - Commissioner, Charter, or Code Home Rule. We are currently Commissioner style.

Under this approach, Commissioner authority is limited. The General Assembly has full power to legislate for the County. Commissioners may enact ordinances where authorized by Express Powers enabling legislation, or specific public local laws. So instead of having a local government that can respond to voter concerns or the needs of the county we have a style of government in which our Commissioner are treated like children who must go to their parents to get permission. It's an inefficient form of government and it is outdated. St. Mary's population has been growing at a pace that places it among the fastest growing counties in the state - and yet we still have a system of government that was put in place when the county was a small farming rural county.

Under Code Home Rule, Commissioners can enact, amend, or repeal local laws on a wide array of matters. Most powers granted to Charter counties are also granted to Code counties (they have  broad legislative power). The General Assembly may still enact public local laws covering an entire class of Code counties, but not for one single Code county.

St. Mary's is one of only six counties which still have this very limited form of government. Another six counties have adopted Code Home Rule. The remaining 11 counties and Baltimore City have Charter government. So please, help bring St. Mary's into the 21st Century and vote YES on Code Home Rule!