Baltimore City Term Limits…Yes, Really
New Baltimore City Council Introduces New Bill Imposing Term Limits
Baltimore City Councilmen Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer (5th District) and Bill Henry (4th District) sponsor a bill to impose 3 four-year term limit for Baltimore City Mayor, Comptroller, President of City Council and City Councilmen.
Baltimore City Council Bill 17-005 was introduced at a Baltimore City Council meeting on January 9th which would limit the number of consecutive terms a person could serve as Mayor, Comptroller, City Council President, and Members of the City Council to three four-year terms. The bill was initially sponsored by freshman Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer who represents Baltimore City’s 5th City Council district (Northwest Baltimore). A previous term limit bill, introduced by Councilman Bill Henry (who also is co-sponsoring 17-005) died in subcommittee in 2015.
Bill 17-005 is a city charter amendment and would need voter approval on the 2018 ballot to take effect in 2020.
During the introduction of the bill, Councilman Schleifer cited the will of his constituents saying that they expressed to him the desire to continue the sense of optimism that the “newly invigorated” Baltimore City Council now had since electing several new junior members. I find this ironic since the councilman previously representing the City’s 5th district, Rochelle “Rikki” Spector had been representing that district since 1977. I wonder if she would have been re-elected had she chosen to run in 2016.
During his comments, Councilmen Schleifer quoted long-term Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke in saying that the new bill introduced “limits for unlimited opportunity.” Councilwoman Clarke also signed on as a sponsor for the bill. Irony alert: Councilwoman Clarke is currently the longest serving member of the Baltimore City Council and was elected in 1975.
In 2016, several long-term Baltimore City council members decided not to seek re-election. Eight new councilmen were elected to the 14-member city council this past November.
If the bill goes into effect in 2020, it would prevent four of the current city council members from seeking re-election and also prevent Comptroller Joan Pratt from seeking re-election in 2020. Comptroller Pratt is currently serving her sixth term as Comptroller.