Baltimore County Ethics and Government Reform


Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski has introduced a very important ethics and government reform package. Time is short and we need your help to support this reform package! The hearing will be next Tuesday, March 12, and the county council will vote the following Monday, March 18. See below for ways that you can help.

The package consists of three bills:

Bill 3–19: Citizens’ Election Fund System

If passed by the County Council, voters will vote in 2020 on a charter amendment ballot question that would establish a citizens election fund system. This fund would help to provide an alternative for candidates to run without participating in the big money donor system, and help to counter the influence of corporate, developer, and wealthy donors. Montgomery County successfully used a small donor public financing system in the most recent election, and Howard and Prince George’s County have enacted similar systems. View the bill text.

Bill 5–19: The Office of Ethics and Accountability

This bill would establish an independent Office of Ethics and Accountability to provide increased transparency and oversight in the operations of County government. The office would have full independence and ability to investigate claims of fraud, abuse, and other illegal acts, and to refer matters for prosecution if necessary. View the bill text.

Bill 4–19: Lobbying Reform

This bill adds some important lobbying reforms, such as restricting former County Administrative Officers or County Department Heads officials from lobbying for one year after leaving their position, and requiring lobbying registrations to be posted online for public review. View the bill text.

View a fact sheet on the bills from the County Executive’s office.

Actions: How You Can Help

  1. Email a statement of support to Countycouncil@Baltimorecountymd.Gov.
  2. If you can, attend the hearing and testify in person. This is the most important thing you can do, if your schedule allows it. The hearing is at 2pm on Tuesday, March 12, at the Historic Courthouse in Towson, 400 Washington Avenue. The council will likely take testimony for each of the bill separately, so plan to make a statement for each. Your testimony doesn’t have to be long or detailed.
  3. Print this petition, fill it out and sign it, scan it or take a picture, and email it to sheila@sheilaruth.com. If you can ask family and friends to sign it, that would be even better!
  4. If you’re interested in helping to collect petition signatures between now and March 12, please email me at sheila@sheilaruth.com. I will be working to set up some petition events, time and location TBD, but you can also find a place where people congregate in your community to collect signatures on your own.

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