On January 11th in Annapolis, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed a Government Accountability Act in a news conference. Under the proposal, Maryland lawmakers would be limited to serving a maximum of eight years in each chamber of the Maryland General Assembly.
Previously, Governor Hogan wanted the proposal to be voted at an earlier date. Despite the vote being pushed back, he said, “We are calling on legislators on both sides of the aisle to come together in a bipartisan way to bring this legislation to the floor of the House and the Senate for an up-or-down vote.”
Hogan justified his proposal, citing examples from the 15 other states that already have legislative term limits. Among the examples included Montgomery County, who barred council members from running for another term through a term-limit measure. Not only would the proposal limit term limits, but it would also make the state government more accountable.
Senior at Winston Churchill High School Danyal Choudry agreed with Hogan’s plan. “I think this is a really important step towards stopping corruption and making sure the government is held accountable,” he said.
Despite the seemingly positive impact of the proposal, Damon Effingham, the acting director of Common Cause of Maryland, disagreed with Hogan’s decision. “Term limits are one of those things where it sounds like a great idea, but is pretty never much what it’s cracked up to be,” he said.
Effingham believed term limits could have the opposite effect of the intended goal to reduce the likelihood of corruption. Long-term lawmakers with institutional knowledge would be eliminated, which would increase lawmakers’ reliance on lobbyists.
Because Maryland is one of seven states which do not offer live video streams of lawmakers’ deliberations, Hogan added a requirement for live-streaming of legislative deliberations. This attempt to reduce corruption is fully supported by Effingham. “We think that’s a great idea. It’s just another way to hold government accountable,” he said.
The chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, Dirk Haire, agreed that live-streaming in the Maryland State House is a positive change. “The Republican Party 100 percent supports live-streaming everything that happens on the House and Senate floors in the General Assembly,” he said.
Hogan’s proposal may mark a step towards eliminating corruption and creating a more open environment in the Maryland General Assembly.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Bilal Choudry of Winston Churchill High School