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Montgomery County Council to Introduce Resolution Urging Doubling of Fine for Passing a Stopped School Bus to $250 Also on Tuesday, May 6: More Than 50 FY15 Budget Items Set for Tentative Approval; Review of Budgets for Fire and Rescue, Transportation

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Montgomery County Council at approximately 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6, will introduce a resolution urging the Maryland District Court to increase fines for drivers caught illegally passing stopped school buses by cameras mounted on the buses to $250.

The Council also will continue its review of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended Fiscal Year 2015 operating budget and is scheduled on Tuesday to address more than 50 budget items for tentative approval. The Council is scheduled to reach a tentative agreement on the entire operating budget on May 15 and is scheduled to formally adopt the budget on May 22. The budget will go into effect on July 1.

The Council’s regular weekly session will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The Council’s morning and afternoon sessions will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed at:

The Council meeting will be rebroadcast on Friday, May 9, at 9 p.m. and will be available before that time on demand.

State law prohibits drivers from passing a school bus when the vehicle has stopped and is operating its flashing red lights. In January 2014, the County began implementing its program in which County Police and Montgomery County Public Schools worked together to install cameras on a limited number of buses to record violators.

In the first four months of operation, the cameras recorded and issued 375 violations. Although Maryland law allows for civil penalties for violating this law to be up to $250, the chief judge of the District Court of Maryland set the penalty at $125 per violation. At an April 28 joint meeting of the Council’s Education and Public Safety committees, Councilmembers thought the amount of fine has not been high enough to be an effective deterrent to some drivers.

On Tuesday, the revolution to be introduced urges the chief judge to increase the fines to a maximum of $250. The resolution is sponsored by Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Craig Rice, Cherri Branson, Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich.

During the morning session, the Council is expected to take action on Bill 18-14, which would prohibit the use of automated purchasing machines. The machines are self-service kiosks that dispense payments—typically in cash—when a user trades in a cell phone or other electronic device. There currently are no machines in the County. It is believed that the machines foster crimes, making it convenient for thieves to get payments for stolen goods without human interaction to receive payments for the goods.

Council President Rice is the chief sponsor of Bill 18-14. Council Vice President George Leventhal and Councilmembers Branson, Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer are co-sponsors of the legislation.

Later in the morning, the Council will address the FY15 budget request of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. The County Executive’s recommended budget includes a 3.0 percent increase in funding for the Fire and Rescue Service over the approved FY14 level.

At 1:30 p.m., the Council will hold a worksession on budget items relating to transportation issues. The Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee has recommended that the full Council consider funding an increase in service for 15 Ride On bus routes starting in January 2015.

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Release ID: 14-135
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931