Here we stand, less than four days before Monday's County Council legislative hearing and (maybe) a vote on CB9-2017, and co-sponsors Jen Terrasa and Calvin Ball have brought: the amendments! Three, to be exact. And you can find them all right here! And you can read my breakdown and opinion below.
Amendment 1 would strike lines 6 through 11 of the bill (the references to the national political climate), adding to line 15 additional things the county does not tolerate, and striking lines 17 and 18, which refers to making Howard County a "sanctuary county."
Amendment 2 looks at the actual legislative language, rather than the whereas clauses. It adds language that refers to existing written agreements, and that would allow county employees to talk with immigration officials in the event of circumstances of gang activity or other public safety concerns.
Amendment 3 is a rewrite of the bill that is only authored by Councilman Ball. Councilmember Terrasa's name appears on the first two amendments.
Now, what do I think?
I think, that although it are the co-sponsors who are offering these amendments, that the two councilmembers whose opinions on this bill aren't widely known-- Mary Kay Sigaty and Jon Weinstein-- have their fingerprints all over this. These amendments were certainly in large measure submitted in order to win their votes-- if they're not both won already-- and ensure a 4-1 veto-proof majority.
Second, I think these amendments were submitted with some of the more valid concerns expressed during public testimony in mind. Such as the references to the national political climate. And, amendment 2 provides clarity with respect to the issues regarding public safety and the enactment of this legislation. I don't think this was altogether clear from the public testimony that I heard, read and saw-- and that was a lot.
Third, amendment #3 presents an interesting alternative. My take is that it captures much of the same intent of the original bill, and in a much more generic, less objectionable to some, manner than even amending the original bill with amendments 1 and 2 would achieve.
My preference? Amendment #3 would be acceptable. My first preference would be the original bill as written. But I can get behind enacting the original bill, plus amendments 1 and 2, with enthusiasm. I believe the amendments satisfy many of the concerns and complaints expressed throughout the consideration process of this bill, while also retaining meaning.
What do you think?
Let's be careful out there.
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