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Breaking down the questions on your ballot

Posted: 7:47 AM, Nov 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-06 12:47:46Z

Voters who head to the polls during Election Day on Tuesday will select their choices for Governor, U.S. Senate, and many local races, but those aren't the only things on the ballot this year.

All Maryland voters will have two ballot questions to answer, plus, depending upon where you live there could be some additional issues to vote on.

State questions:

First, all voters will be posed with the casino lockbox question that would require gaming revenue goes towards education as originally proposed. Then there's the same day voter registration question that asks if the state should allow people to register and vote on Election Day.

Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 357 of the 2018 Legislative Session) 
Requiring Commercial Gaming Revenues that are for Public Education to Supplement Spending for Education in Public Schools

The amendment requires the Governor to include in the annual State Budget, as supplemental funding for prekindergarten through grade 12 in public schools, the revenues from video lottery operation licenses and any other commercial gaming dedicated to public education in an amount above the level of State funding for education in public schools provided by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002 (otherwise known as the Thornton legislation) in not less than the following amounts: $125 million in fiscal year 2020; $250 million in fiscal year 2021; $375 million in fiscal year 2022; and 100% of commercial gaming revenues dedicated to public education in fiscal year 2023 and each fiscal year thereafter. The amendment also requires the Governor to show in the annual budget how the revenues from video lottery operation licenses and other commercial gaming are being used in a manner that is in addition to the level of State funding for public education provided by the funding formulas established by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act. The State Constitution currently authorizes video lottery operation licenses for the primary purpose of raising money for public education.

(Amending Article XIX, Section 1(c)(1) and (g), and adding Section 1(f) to the Maryland Constitution)

Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 855 of the 2018 Legislative Session) 
Same-Day Registration and Voting at the Precinct Polling Place on Election Day

Authorizes the General Assembly to enact legislation to allow a qualified individual to register and vote at a precinct polling place on Election Day. The current law requires voter registration to close before Election Day.

(Amending Article I, Sections 1 and 2, and adding Section 2A to the Maryland Constitution)

Baltimore City:

Baltimore City voters have several other measures on the ballot. The key questions being whether the city should ban the water and sewer system from going to a private company, whether the Office of Inspector General should become an independent agency , and several bond issues that would help pay for things such as new schools and affordable housing.

Bond Issue 
Affordable Housing Loan

Ordinance No. 18-152 to authorize the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore to borrow up to $10,000,000 to be used for the planning, developing, executing, and making operative the Affordable Housing Program of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, including, but not limited to, the acquisition, by purchase, lease, condemnation or any other legal means, of land or property in the City of Baltimore; the payment of any and all costs and expenses incurred in connection with or incidental to the acquisition and management of the land or property; the payment of any and all costs and expenses incurred for or in connection with relocating and moving persons or other legal entities displaced by the acquisition of the land or property, and the disposition of land and property for such purposes, such costs to include but not limited to rental payment and home purchase assistance, housing counseling and buyer education, assistance, and activities to support the orderly and sustainable planning, preservation, rehabilitation, and development of economically diverse housing in City neighborhoods; the elimination of unhealthful, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, lessening density, eliminating obsolete or other uses detrimental to the public welfare or otherwise removing or preventing the spread of blight or deterioration in the City of Baltimore; and for doing all things necessary, proper or expedient in connection therewith.

Bond Issue 
School Loan 

Ordinance No. 18-145 to authorize the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore to borrow up to $38,000,000 to be used for the acquisition of land or property to construct and erect new school buildings, athletic and auxiliary facilities; and for additions and improvements to or modernization or reconstruction of existing school buildings or facilities; and to equip all buildings to be constructed, erected, improved, modernized, or reconstructed; and for doing any and all things necessary, proper or expedient in connection therewith.

Bond Issue 
Community and Economic Development Loan 

Ordinance No. 18-146 to authorize the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore to borrow up to $47,000,000 to be used for, or in connection with, planning, developing, executing and making operative the community, commercial, and industrial economic development programs of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore; the development or redevelopment, including, but not limited to, the comprehensive renovation or rehabilitation of any land or property, or any rights or interests therein hereinbefore mentioned, in the City of Baltimore, and the disposition of land and property for such purposes; the elimination of unhealthful, unsanitary, or unsafe conditions, lessening density, eliminating obsolete or other uses detrimental to the public welfare or otherwise removing or preventing the spread of blight or deterioration in the City of Baltimore; the creation of healthy, sanitary, and safe, and green conditions in the City of Baltimore; and authorizing loans and grants therefore; making loans and grants to various projects and programs related to growing businesses in the City; attracting and retaining jobs; providing homeownership incentives and home repair assistance; authorizing loans and grants to various projects and programs related to improving cultural life and promotion of tourism in Baltimore City and the lending or granting of funds to any person or other legal entity to be used for or in connection with the rehabilitation, renovation, redevelopment, improvement or construction of buildings and structures to be used or occupied for residential or commercial purposes; and for doing any and all things necessary, proper or expedient in connection therewith.

Bond Issue 
Recreation and Parks and Public Facilities 

Ordinance No. 18-147 to authorize the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore to borrow up to $65,000,000 to be used for the acquisition and development of property buildings owned and controlled by the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, the Enoch Pratt Library and public park or recreation land, property, buildings, structures or facilities; for the construction, erection, renovation, alteration, reconstruction, installation, improvement and repair of buildings, structures, or facilities to be or now being used by or in connection with the operations, function and activities of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, public parks and recreational programs; for the acquisition and installation of trees, for tree planting programs and for the equipping of any and all existing and new buildings, structures, and facilities authorized to be constructed, renovated, altered or improved by this Ordinance; and for doing any and all things necessary, proper or expedient in connection therewith.

Charter Amendment 
Inalienability of the Sewer and Water Systems

Resolution No. 18-13 is for the purpose of declaring the inalienability of the City’s sewer system and water-supply system and for excepting the sewer and water-supply systems, their operations and uses, from the Charter provisions otherwise authorizing the grant of franchises or rights relating to the operation or use of public property or places.

Charter Amendment 
Office of the Inspector General 

Resolution No. 18-08 is for the purpose of creating an independent Office of the Inspector General headed by an Inspector General. The law would establish the process for appointing and terminating the Inspector General and would establish the powers and duties of the Office of the Inspector General. The law would provide for the funding of the Office of the Inspector General, grant the Inspector General the power to issue subpoenas and require the Office of the Inspector General to issue an annual public report. The law provides for certain administrative procedures and establishes procedures to transition the existing Office of the Inspector General in the Law Department into the newly created independent Office of the Inspector General.

Charter Amendment 
Department of Legislative Reference

Resolution No. 18-11 is for the purpose of authorizing the replacement of the Board of Legislative Reference with an ad hoc board appointed by the Mayor, the President of the City Council, and the Comptroller and providing for the newly restructured ad hoc Board of Legislative Reference to make recommendations regarding the hiring of a Director of Legislative Reference. The law would also remove the Civil Service status of the Director of Legislative Reference making the Director’s status the same as other department heads. The Director will be removable for any reason. The Mayor and the President of the City Council are required to jointly appoint and remove the Director of Legislative Reference.

Charter Amendment 
Fair Election Fund

Resolution No. 18-09 is for the purpose of authorizing the establishment of a continuing, nonlapsing Fair Election Fund, to be used exclusively to administer a public financing option for political campaigns for Baltimore City elected offices. The law would authorize the Mayor and City Council to dedicate revenue to the Fair Election Fund by ordinance and provide for oversight, governance, and administration of the Fair Election Fund by ordinance. The law would also establish a Fair Election Fund Commission to administer the Fund. 

Charter Amendment 
Equity Assistance Fund

Resolution No. 18-14 is for the purpose of authorizing the establishment of a continuing, nonlapsing Equity Assistance Fund, to be used exclusively to assist efforts that reduce inequity based on race, gender, or economic status in Baltimore. The law would authorize the Mayor and City Council to appropriate money in the annual Ordinance of Estimates to the Equity Assistance Fund and authorize the Mayor and City Council to dedicate revenue to the Equity Assitance Fund by ordinance. 

Baltimore County:

Baltimore County voters have more than a dozen questions on the ballot, many related to borrowing money for various programs and projects.

Charter Amendment 
Bill 13-18
County Charter - Technical Changes

40 sections of the Baltimore County Charter are amended or repealed to make technical changes including: correcting cross references to the State Code; updating the names of departments and offices in the administrative services, providing gender-neutral language, transferring certain provisions within the Charter, repealing obsolete language, repealing references to an agency that no longer exists, and adding provisions to update duties of departments and offices in the administrative services.

Charter Amendment
Bill 14-18
County Charter - The Administrative Services

Sections 508, 522, 533, 540, 541 and 542 of the Baltimore County Charter are amended to: repeal an obsolete provision requiring the County Attorney to keep the journal of the County Council, repeal a provision about the removal of the Director of Planning, repeal obsolete provisions requiring the County Executive to be a member of two boards, repeal an obsolete reference to the County Home, and repeal obsolete provisions about the removal of the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief.

Charter Amendment
Bill 15-18
County Charter - Legislative Procedure 

Section 308 of the Baltimore County Charter is amended to: repeal an obsolete provision authorizing the expeditious passage of bills in certain cases and increase from 40 days to 65 days the number of days a bill may be considered before its automatic expiration after introduction in the County Council.

Charter Amendment
Bill 16-18
County Charter - The Executive Branch

Sections 402, 403 and 404 of the Baltimore County Charter are amended to: correct obsolete Charter references, provide gender-neutral language, alter the name of a department to reflect the current name, clarify the requirement for the County Executive to appoint or reappoint the heads of departments and offices at the beginning of each term for approval by the County Council, repeal an obsolete requirement that the County Executive serves on the Board of Health, repeal an obsolete provision about the County Executive preparing regulations, repeal an obsolete provision about the County Administrative Officer appointing department and offices heads, and clarify the authority of the County Executive to remove department and office heads.

Charter Amendment
Bill 17-18
County Charter - Exempt Service Employees

Section 505 of the Baltimore County Charter is amended to provide that officers and employees in the exempt service shall have their compensation determined according to a system adopted or amended by the County Council on the recommendation of the County Executive.

Charter Amendment
Bill 19-18
County Charter - Administrative Services - Departments

Sections 307, 402, 504, 525, 526, and 527 of the Baltimore County Charter are amended to modify the functions of the Department of Public Works to provide that it shall be responsible for mobility and for traffic safety and engineering using a variety of transportation options including highways, bike lanes, pedestrian improvements and transit where appropriate.

County Ordinance 
Bill 37-18
School Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $335,517,000 for public school projects, including but not limited to acquisition, construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, repair, maintenance, conversion, and modernization of public school buildings and sites, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter. 

County Ordinance 
Bill 38-18
Agricultural and Rural Land Preservation Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $2,000,000 for agricultural and rural land preservation projects, including but not limited to the purchase of land, development rights and conservation easements, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter.

County Ordinance 
Bill 39-18
Waterway Improvement Program Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $10,000,000 for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, extension, repair and modernization of waterway improvement and stormwater-related projects, including but not limited to shoreline stabilization, shore erosion control, wetland restoration and streambank and riverbank restoration, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter. 

County Ordinance 
Bill 40-18
Parks, Preservation and Greenways Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $4,000,000 for parks, preservation and greenways projects, including but not limited to acquisition of playgrounds, parks and recreational facilities and the construction, improvement, repair and maintenance of playgrounds, parks and community centers, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter. 

County Ordinance
Bill 41-18
Public Works Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $68,384,000 for public works purposes, for the class of projects which includes, among other things, streets and highways, bridges and storm drainage systems, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter.

County Ordinance
Bill 42-18
Community Improvement Project Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $1,000,000 for community improvement projects, including but not limited to construction, renovation, extension, alteration, repair or modernization of street curbs, gutters, water, sewer and other utilities, and sidewalk and pedestrian system improvements to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter.

County Ordinance
Bill 43-18
Operational Buildings Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $47,000,000 for public operational buildings including, but not limited to, general, health, police, fire, recreation, libraries, senior center and detention buildings or facilities and necessary or desirable equipment, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter.

County Ordinance
Bill 44-18
Refuse Disposal Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $8,816,000 for refuse disposal projects, including but not limited to the construction, reconstruction, improvement, acquisition, repair, and modernization of county refuse disposal facilities, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter.

County Ordinance
Bill 45-18
Community College Borrowing

AN ORDINANCE to authorize and empower Baltimore County, Maryland to borrow $15,000,000 for community college projects, including but not limited to the construction, improvement, maintenance, and modernization of buildings and other improvements for the community colleges, to be undertaken pursuant to Sections 705(a) and 718 of the Baltimore County Charter.

Anne Arundel County:

Anne Arundel county voters have three questions to consider, one regarding the posting of zoning changes, one on contract limits, and another on reporting county employee theft to the county auditor.

Charter Amendment 
Legislative Procedure - Notice of Amendment to Comprehensive Zoning Ordinances 

To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to require notice by posting on a subject property pursuant to requirements found in the County Code before amending a comprehensive zoning ordinance to include a zoning change request made to the County Council and not proposed or reviewed by the Office of Planning and Zoning before introduction of the comprehensive zoning ordinance. 

Charter Amendment 
Purchasing Contract Limits 

To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to restrict the County Council’s ability to increase the minimum value of purchases and contracts requiring full competitive bidding from $25,000 to an amount not less than $25,000 and not greater than $50,000 and to require that the award of contracts greater than $5,000 and less than the minimum dollar requirement for full competitive bidding shall be awarded through a simplified competitive process except as otherwise provided by law; and to require that the County Purchasing Agent shall cause to be published on the Anne Arundel County website all awards of contracts through the full and simplified bidding processes for capital improvements, contractual services, professional services, or supplies of $5,000 or greater awarded by the County in accordance with the Anne Arundel County Code.

Charter Amendment 
Legislative Branch - Duties of County Auditor - Reports of Fraud

To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to require that the County Auditor receive a copy of any report related to employee theft or fraud in the County and to permit the County Auditor to inspect the records relating to the report and forward any exception to the findings of the fraud investigation to the County Council and the County Executive. 

Howard County:

Howard County voters only have one question to answer, whether to extend the deadline that a county council bill would expire after being introduced.

Charter Amendment
Deadline for Expiration of Bill

Amending the Howard County Charter to allow the County Council to consider a bill for seventy calendar days after its introduction and to approve, by vote of two-thirds of its members, a maximum of two 35-day extensions of the 70-day deadline. Currently, the County Council may consider a bill for sixty-five days before the bill expires, and the Council may extend the 65-day deadline a maximum of two 30-day periods by a two-thirds vote. The Charter amendment also extends the deadline for expiration of a bill to the next business day if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday on which the Council does not meet, and to the end of a rescheduled legislative session if the legislative session scheduled before expiration of the bill is postponed because of inclemenet weather or emergency conditions.

Carroll County and Harford County ballots don't have any additional questions besides the two state questions.

It's a good idea to read up on the questions before you go as you won't be able to take out your cell phone to do some quick research at the booth, that's not allowed.