Harford County Elected School Board Receives a Favorable Vote by the House Ways and Means Committee Yesterday, Successfully Passes the House Floor on Second Reader Today
On Thursday, March 26, 2009, the House Ways and Means Committee voted and passed House Bill 639 entitled Harford County – Board of Education – Selection of Members.
The Senate’s version of the bill, Senate Bill 629, received a favorable report with an amendment by the Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on Friday, March 13, 2009, before it passed the Senate Floor with 46-0 vote on Tuesday, March 17, 2009.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted and approved, by a majority vote, House Bill 639 as amended to the Senate’s approved version.
Harford County Delegation Chairman, Delegate J.B. Jennings (R-District 7), who filed the bill, stated, “This is an historic moment in many respects, particularly for Harford County and for the Harford County Public School System. For the past two (2) General Sessions, this bill has met with resistance; however, the Delegation and I remained optimistic knowing that this year marked the first time this legislation has ever received a unanimous favorable vote by all eight (8) members of the Delegation.”
Delegate Wayne Norman, Vice-Chairman, (R-District 35A) said, “Before my appointment to the Harford County Delegation, I was a strong advocate of an elected school board. A fundamental part of a democratic society is having your voice heard on issues as well as having a vote for those who represent you on such issues.”
Delegate Dan Riley (D-District 34) opined, “This bill, or a similar bill, was introduced by the Harford County Delegation in prior years under several delegation chairs. The bill did not get approved. For some, the legislation was used as a “political hot potato” or a “political wedge”. There were attempts made by some people to make it a political or partisan issue or try to divide the Delegation for their own perceived gain. When changes were made to the delegation leadership, the political nonsense ended and the bill passed.”
Delegate Mary-Dulany James (D-District 34) commented, “This year no one saw the House School Board Bill until after Delegate Jennings became the Chairman of the Delegation. Delegate Jennings worked with all of the members of the Delegation and all the stakeholders to draft a well thought out transition from the appointed board to a blended board addressing nearly everyone’s concerns and “interests”.”
With the approval by the House Ways and Means Committee, the House voted and approved the bill on second reader this afternoon, and is now being printed for final passage.