House to consider conviction loophole
The Maryland House of Delegates is expected to begin debate Tuesday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate a law allowing elected officials convicted of felonies to stay in office until their sentencing. Delegate Jolene Ivey, Prince George’s Democrat, is proposing a bill that, if passed by the General Assembly and approved by referendum, would eject officials from office immediately following a conviction on felony charges or certain misdemeanors.
The issue came to light in June when thenPrince George’s County Council member Leslie E. Johnson pleaded guilty to federal witness- and evidence-tampering charges but vowed to stay in office until her December sentencing. Mrs. Johnson, a Democrat, was pressured by county officials into resigning last summer.
Mrs. Ivey’s bill has broad bipartisan support in the House, where it is co-sponsored by 86 of the chamber’s 141 members. The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by 33 of 47 senators.
As a constitutional amendment, the bill would need three-fifths support or 85 votes in the House and 29 in the Senate. If approved by both chambers and the governor, it would go on the state’s November ballot.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell says Alexander Song’s threats were “credible” though no weapons were found in his dorm room or family home. Below, Officer Brown (left by car) and Master Patrol Officer Jones watch over Mckeldin Mall, a spot mentioned in Mr. Song’s threats.