March 30, 2014

Senate rejects ban on school board members running for higher office

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Maryland State Senate (Photo by MarylandReporter.com)

Maryland State Senate (Photo by MarylandReporter.com)

The Maryland Senate reversed itself Friday, and rejected a proposed ban prohibiting members of the school board in Anne Arundel County from running for higher office.

The proposal by Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, had set off an unusual debate on a local bill that many senators saw as a bad precedent for the state.

Another Anne Arundel senator, Ed Reilly, had said that eight members of the appointed school board had run for other offices in recent elections. All of them lost, Reilly said.

The ban on such activity “establishes a really bad principle,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery.

The apparently crucial opposition came from an Anne Arundel County Democrat who had been absent when the five-member county delegation voted to approve the measure.

“I for the life of me can’t understand why prohibit” the school board members, Sen. James Ed DeGrange. “I just don’t think this is the right thing to do.”

DeGrange’s colleagues agreed and killed the bill in a 15-28 vote. Eleven of 12 Republicans voted for the bill.