Counties Oppose State Preemption of Local Ethics Laws

MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally testified in opposition to HB 1544 – Public Ethics and Campaign Activity – County Council Members and County Executives – Limitations on Applicant Contributions. before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill needlessly expands ethics provisions applying to Prince George’s County to all charter counties including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Talbot, and Wicomico. Since local legislation has long been the vehicle for such policy considerations, MACo urged an unfavorable report on the bill.

From the MACo Testimony:

Every county makes land use decisions differently, and accordingly, develop their own ethics laws when they seek to exceed the State’s standards. HB 1544 would unnecessarily repeal those ethics laws in favor of a uniform standard. Many counties have their own ethics commissions that are best suited to respond to ethics concerns within their respective jurisdictions. The State Ethics Commission does not have jurisdiction over local, county, or municipal officials and employees and cannot accept complaints against those individuals. The State should not interfere with established local ethics laws and practices.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.