The tension has been high as HB1565 finally left the Prince George’s County delegation in a version which does not fix nor address the most critical issues it was meant to address on March 10th, 2017.
According to the people in the meeting, the raucous meeting among the Education delegation for Prince George’s county revealed more internal turmoil in a political committee struggling to preserve its independence amid pressure from party leaders to rally behind such causes as extending term limits and endorsement of the central office staff at the expense of many in Prince George’s County public schools.
First, Delegate Howard who sabotaged the bill HB1565 from the very beginning saw her amendments rejected by the committee. The only amendment considered by the committee was from Delegate Walker and Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith. From our understanding Delegate Walker wants the Vice Chair elected by the elected Board members at Sasscer administrative building. Some on the committee do not support these initiatives, and others think the committee should not take a position until next year since the law was only passed recently.
Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith wants the evaluation of the performance of the entire system conducted on or around October 1st, from December 31st. The bill now goes to the ways and means committee where it is expected to pass but there are no guarantees. From there the bill is expected to go to full house as a Prince George’s delegation bill before crossing over to the senate side where it may die or survive. If it survives, there might be more amendments before sending it back to the house. Time will tell what happens from here. But it does not smell good based on the people we spoke with in Annapolis.
The fissures come at a critical time for Maryland Democrats. Party committees across the state are supposed to be mobilizing to help elect a new Governor and leaders with credibility who are expected to challenge Governor Larry Hogan. And the Prince George’s delegation in collaboration with the Democratic central committee is supposed to help instruct the county’s more than 427,000 registered Democrats on how they should vote and lead the way. However, with corruption high, citizenry of the county have a lot to worry about.
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), an unapologetic critic of term limits, is suspected to be behind the scenes with others in giving wrong advise to the Delegation in Annapolis so that the status quo stays at the expense of the Children of Prince Georges County. This is not how democracy is supposed to work. In 2014, Mr. Baker asked the Democratic central committee not only to include the sample ballot sent to Democratic voters but also to go a step further and recommend a “yes” vote. This move promoted corruption which continues to date!