House to con­sider con­vic­tion loop­hole

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - THE METRO AREA

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.

PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY AN­DREW HARNIK/THE WASHINGTON TIMES

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.

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