Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Friday, June 16, 2006

Delegate Deboy - A Strange Endorsement for the HCEA

The Howard County Education Association (HCEA) has announced their list of endorsed candidates for local political races. One of them is Democratic incumbent Steven Deboy, the State Delegate for Legislative District 12A. According to Ann De Lacy, the president of the HCEA, "incumbents get the union’s automatic endorsement if the incumbents’ voting record falls in line with the union’s agenda" (source Howard County Times, June 15, 2006, p. 6). The strange thing about Deboy’s endorsement is that his voting record shows that he is a weak supporter of public education.

In 2003, on the budget bill (HB40), he voted against a failed amendment by Delegate Shane Pendergrass that was aimed at deleting $3 million that had been inserted by the governor for nonpublic school textbooks. Here is the House vote and click on numbers after FLOOR AMD Pendergrass to see the language of the amendment.

In 2004, on the budget bill (SB125), he voted against a failed amendment by Delegate Elizabeth Bobo that was aimed at deleting funds that had been added by the governor for nonpublic school computers. Here is the House vote and click on numbers after FLOOR AMD Bobo to see the language of the amendment.

Also in 2004, he voted against a bill (HB1188) that would have capped college tuition while temporarily increasing corporate taxes. Despite his opposition, the bill was enacted. But the governor vetoed it and his veto went unchallenged. For the synopsis and history of the bill. Under Roll Call votes at the bottom of the page, click, one at a time, on 81-60 and on 80-58 to see the vote on original House passage and on final House passage accepting the Senate amendments. If you return to the synopsis page, you can click on House Bill 1188 at the top of the page to see a copy of the final version of the bill.

In 2005, he cosponsored a bill (HB998) that sought to provide a state income tax credit for the costs of sending a child to a nonpublic school in the state. The bill failed unanimously in committee. For the bill's synopsis and history. But to see exactly how the Ways and Means Committee voted on it, you'd have to call Legislative Services on 301-970-5400 or 410-946-5400 and ask them to send you a copy of the committee vote on this or any specific legislation. You want to ask for HB998 of 2005. (Neither DeBoy nor any other delegate representing Howard County sits on that committee.)

Also in 2005, he cosponsored a bill (HB256) that sought to provide a state income tax credit to nonpublic school teachers for the costs of up to $1500 of their required graduate level expenses. It received no action. For the bill's synopsis and history. It shows that there was no action after the hearing.

In 2006, he cosponsored a bill (HB1228) requiring that the state Board of Education permit the teaching or discussion of the theory of intelligent design in humanities or philosophy classes. It received an unfavorable committee report on the last day of the session. Generally, any committee votes taken that late in the session are perfunctory. For the bill's synopsis and history. You'd have to call Legislative Services and ask for the Ways and Means committee vote on HB1228 of 2006 if you want it. (Again, neither DeBoy nor any other Howard County Delegate sits on that committee.)

This voting record hardly reflects someone who is a strong supporter of public education. So what exactly does an incumbent have to do to not get the HCEA endorsement?


Blogger Ken said...

It gets even worse. In 2004, Delegate DeBoy voted in the delegation against supporting the local bill (HB1486) that ultimately required the filling by election of Howard County school board vacancies that occur early in a term. He later voted for it as it passed without opposition on the floor, but, if Delegate Malone had not voted yes on that delegation vote and created a 5-3 majority among local delegates, HB1486 could not even have been introduced as a delegation-sponsored bill. See for information on the bill after its introduction.
Then, in 2005, he cosponsored and voted for a slots bill (HB1361) that was aimed at providing funds for education. The bill failed when it was amended on the Senate side and went no further. See

8:41 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I've heard two different excuses being made for Delegate DeBoy's extensive support for non-public schools. One is that he's got to be that way because of his district and the second is that the rules of his Appropriations Committee require that he go along with the committee majority's position on legislation that is sent forward from it to the House floor.
On the first, Delegate James Malone represents the exact same territory and Malone didn't see fit to join DeBoy in cosponsoring either HB998 of 2005 (tax credits for all costs of sending children to nonpublic schools or HB1228 (an opening wedge for Intelligent Design instruction in public schools). I've already mentioned that, unlike DeBoy, Malone supported making HB1486 of 2004 a delegation bill.
The second defensive argument is even more troubling because the facts don't seem to bear it out. Fellow Appropriations Committee member Delegate Frank Turner and three other committee members didn't feel bound by any rules to vote on the floor on budget bills in line with the committee position on Delegate Pendergrass' 2003 amendment seeking to delete the money for nonpublic school textbooks or Delegate Bobo's 2004 amendment seeking to delete it for nonpublic school computers. Delegate Turner and the other three committee members all voted YES on both the Pendergrass and Bobo amendments. No, DeBoy is obviously committed to aiding nonpublic schools and isn't being forced into it.

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