District 23 delegation meets with chamber

Capital Gazette's Joe Aiello on October 9, 2012
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Members of the District 23 delegation met with Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday to discuss general election ballot questions in the upcoming elections Nov. 6.

State Sen. Doug Peters, along with Delegates Jim Hubbard, Marvin Holmes and Geraldine Valentino-Smith, addressed the GBCC members at Belair Mansion and discussed the seven statewide questions and seven county questions on this year’s ballot.

Statewide questions include an amendment requiring judges of the Orphans Court in Prince George’s County to be admitted to practice law in Maryland and be a member in good standing of Maryland Bar.

Question 3 is an amendment that changes the point at which an elected official charged with certain crimes is automatically suspended or removed from office.

Under the existing law, an elected official who is convicted or pleads guilty, can remain in office until they are sentenced. Under the amended law, an elected official would be suspended and removed when the conviction becomes final.

This amendment was brought to table as a result of the case last year in which County Council member Leslie Johnson, wife of former County Executive Jack Johnson, pleaded guilty for her part in a conspiracy to hide money from federal investigators in their probe against her husband.

Two of the hottest questions on the ballot are Questions 6 and 7. Question 6, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, would establish that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license.

Question 7, a Gaming Expansion referendum, gives voters the opportunity to decide if they want video lottery operation licensees to operate “table games” as defined by law, to increase from 15,000 to 16,500 the maximum number of video lottery terminals that may be operated in the state and to increase from five to six, the maximum number of video lottery operation licenses that may be awarded in the state and to allow a video lottery facility to operate in Prince George’s County.

Prince George’s County Council Chairman Ingrid Turner said, “This referendum is not about gambling, it’s about do we want high-end retail in Prince George’s County, do we want a high end resort where people can go to a spa, see a boxing match or watch Celion Dion. It’s about money being spent in the region.”

Jim Hubbard, a 20-year member of the delegation, stated that he was formerly opposed to gambling in the state but now is backing the proposal.

Early voting in Maryland starts Oct. 27 and there will be Sunday voting this year as well. Early voting in Bowie will take place at the Bowie Library which, during the last elections, had the largest turnout in the state. Of all early voting, 25 percent was at the Bowie Library.


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