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Baltimore votes for term limits, control of city's police department

Baltimore votes for term limits, control of city's police department
Baltimore votes for term limits, control of city's police department 02:09

BALTIMORE – Voters approved all 11 ballot questions in Baltimore City by wide margins Tuesday, including the creation of term limits for city elected officials and a measure to bring Baltimore Police into city control.

Question K, creating term limits for the mayor, comptroller, city council president, and council members, passed with more than 70 percent of the vote.

"The term limits, on its face, seems like it's effective," Morgan State political science professor Robyn Scates said. "It sounds good on paper."

Scates says it would limit effective, popular officials from continuing to serve, but they could run for other offices. It would also create opportunities for younger community leaders to serve.

"I hope it does open the door for more blood to come in," Scates said.

Term limits go into effect in 2024, so the soonest an elected official would leave office due to the new law is 2032.

City Council voted 9-2 Monday night, on the eve of the Question K vote, to advance a bill that would reduce the number of years to qualify an elected official for a pension from twelve years to eight. The measure needs to pass final reading and be signed by the mayor to become law.

Question H brings Baltimore City Police back under "local control." The department is technically a state agency with various degrees of state oversight.

"That'll allow local council people, for instance, to shape policy around discipline and oversight," Dayvon Love of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle said Tuesday night.

Experts hope it will increase accountability and accessibility for residents to have concerns heard.

"I believe it will be an opportunity for the city to show what they got regarding how we're going to continue the efforts many people ran their campaigns on," Morgan State professor Dr. Natasha C. Pratt-Harris said. "It allows the city to be independent from state control regarding the police department."

Full control will transfer to Baltimore City January 1, 2023.

"The middle man is kind of removed from that part of the process and there is this feel the people's voices may more likely be included as it relates to what they need or expect from the police department," Dr. Pratt-Harris said.

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