Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

County Council Leadership

The powers of a legislator are to propose bills, amend bills, vote on bills and amendments, and if they can rally the support of their colleagues pass bills.

Thus one important way a legislator can show leadership, particularly if they were not the original drafter of the legislation, if the bill that is before them has problems is to amend that bill.

Tonight we saw the County Council show this type of leadership. They took County Bill 29 (CB-29) that came to them without a comprehensive community driven master planning process and they amended it to create a comprehensive community driven master planning process that each of Columbia's villages can undertake.

You can find the bill language and amendments here at the bottom of the page.

The following amendments passed:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14(in revised form), 15, 16, and 18

Amendment 14 passed, but the amendment itself was amended to add "and not overwhelm" so that the version of 14 that passed read: "If appropriate, secondary residential uses to support and enhance and not overwhelm other uses in the village center."

The following amendments failed:
12 and 13

The following amendment was withdrawn:
17

Sometimes the community requests lots of changes and it takes lots of amendments to get the bill to reflect what the community has been asking for. As I have told a number of people more amendments can be very good, if the amendments are enacting the changes county residents are asking for and if it improves the bill.

County Council members Jen Terrasa, Mary Kay Sigaty, and Calvin Ball listened to there constituents and made sure that there was a comprehensive master planning process in this bill. This is the legislative process working as it should.

Soon we will have the Downtown Rezoning Bill to deal with. It is very important that we keep clearly communicating with our elected officials what we want. In the case of CB-29, the testimony of Kings Contrivance, which proposed specific amendments to the bill proved very effective and nearly all of the changes they requested were incorporated into the bill. I strongly suggest that the testimony on all bills focuses in on specific amendments.

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