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Montgomery County Council Scheduled to Act on Public Campaign Financing Bill That Would Be First of Its Kind in Maryland

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Montgomery County Council at approximately 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, is scheduled to take action on Bill 16-14, which will allow candidates for County Council and County Executive to use public financing for their campaigns. If enacted, it would be the first measure of its type for County elections in Maryland.

The scheduled vote on the public campaign financing bill will be part of the Council’s regular weekly session, which will begin at 10:15 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The Council’s general session and a meeting at 1:45 p.m. of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee at which it will receive an update on the planned Purple Line, 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, Oct. 3, at 9 p.m. and will be available before that time on demand.

The Council will begin its day at 9 a.m. with an informal meeting with members of the Board of Education in the Sixth Floor Conference Room. That meeting is open to the public, but will not be televised.

Since 2001, members of the Montgomery Council have urged the Maryland General Assembly to provide the County with the authority to adopt campaign finance reforms. In 2013, the General Assembly enacted a bill that enables counties to provide for the option of public financing for county elections beginning with the 2015-18 election cycle. Participation by candidates would be voluntary.

Earlier this year, Councilmember Phil Andrews introduced a plan that would enable candidates for County Council or County Executive to seek public financing for their campaigns. The bill provides strong incentives for candidates to seek out many small individual contributors. It would limit qualifying contributions for candidates who choose to accept public financing to a maximum of $150 from registered voters in Montgomery County.

The bill as proposed would provide matching dollars for County Executive candidates in the form of $6 for each dollar of a qualifying contribution received for the first $50, $4 for each dollar for the second $50 and $2 for each dollar for the third $50. Matching dollars for County Council candidates would be $4 for each dollar for the first $50, $3 for each dollar for the second $50 and $2 for each dollar for the third $50.

The maximum limit on public funds per candidate would be $750,000 for a County Executive candidate, $250,000 for a Council at-large candidate and $125,000 for a Council district candidate.

The T and E Committee, which is chaired by Roger Berliner and includes Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer, will receive an update on the progress on the Purple Line, which is a planned east-west transit line that would connect the Bethesda Metrorail station with the New Carrollton station in Prince George’s County.

Representatives of the Maryland Transit Authority will brief the Council on issues including a schedule of major milestones, when proposals are due and the anticipated construction schedule. They also will talk about the projected cost of the project and how many properties along the proposed line are yet to be acquired.

Representatives of the County Department of Transportation will update the Council on plans for the Capital Crescent Trail and Silver Spring Green Trail, which will run adjacent to the Purple Line. They are scheduled to talk about project costs and construction schedules.

During the morning session, the Council will receive an Office of Legislative Oversight report on the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of students and educators within Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The report, titled Cultural and Linguistic Diversity of MCPS Students and Staff, examines variations in the demographic alignment between students and staff and use of central-office language assistance services among MCPS schools by grade span, geographic area and student demographics.

The OLO report is tentatively scheduled to be the subject of a worksession of the Council’s Education Committee at a date yet to be determined.


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Release ID: 14-272
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931