Montgomery Legislators Consider Potential Bills for 2016 Session

A November 18, 2015, Bethesda Magazine article reported that Montgomery County’s Delegation members are considering bills for the 2016 Session tackling a wide variety of issues, including letting private distributors sell certain alcohol products in the County rather than going through County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC),  increasing the number of early voting centers, allowing the production and sale of alcohol near schools and churches and at stadiums, creating a County student loan refinancing authority,  and establishing general and special elections for school board member positions where an elected member has stepped down before the end of the member’s term. From the article:

To allow private distributors to sell specific craft beer and wines in the countyMC 7-16

This bill is the result of a resolution passed over the summer by the Montgomery County Council to enable private distributors to sell “special order” products in the county. Currently the DLC controls the wholesale distribution of all alcohol in the county. Special order products include specific craft beers and fine wines that the DLC doesn’t sell in large volumes. …

To increase the number of early voting centers – MC 14-16

This bill would increase the number of early voting centers from eight to 10 in the county. The legislation follows controversy surrounding early voting centers after the Board of Elections voted to relocate centers in Burtonsville and Chevy Chase. The Republican majority board later reinstated the voting centers after Democrats vehemently protested the change. However, after the controversy was settled, County Executive Ike Leggett said in a letter he would support state legislation that would add an early voting site in Potomac.

To enable the county to set up a student loan refinancing authority – MC 27-16

More than a dozen county representatives signed on to support this bill, which would enable the county to set up a student loan refinancing authority. The authority could help local students finance the cost of higher education through loans it would offer, according to the bill. Because this is “enabling legislation,” the bill would not automatically set up the authority upon passage; county officials would have to establish the authority and appoint a five-member board to run it. If established, the authority could then raise funds by issuing bonds in order to provide college loans to students. …

To set a special election to fill vacant school board seats – MC 2-16

This bill would set special primary and general elections to replace a Montgomery County Board of Education member who steps down at least a year before the end of his or her term. The election dates would be set by the county executive, and if an upcoming election is already scheduled for between 60 to 120 days from the board member stepping down, the special election would coincide with that previously scheduled election. Under current regulations, the school board is permitted to select a “qualified individual” if a board member steps down during his or her term.