Written by: Olivia Sanchez
Source: Baltimore Sun – https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/ac-cn-council-recap-20200104-20200109-44vug73ehbfmxkmrerphaygpo4-story.html
A little more than a year ago, the Anne Arundel County Council was an all-male, Republican majority council. But then the 2018 “blue wave” swept the country, and it flipped. Now a Democratic majority, the council is made up of five women and two men, and it’s led by two women for the first time in nearly two decades.
As the council gets to work in their first meetings of 2020, The Capital analyzed the work they did in 2019.
The council — now made up of one veteran and six freshmen — heard 97 bills and 52 resolutions. They passed 80 of those bills, including a controversial budget that increased income and property taxes, two fair housing bills, and the strongest forest conservation bill in the state.
The majority of bills came at the direction of County Executive Steuart Pittman, who can write legislation and have it introduced by the council chair on Pittman’s behalf. A review of the legislation saw Councilman Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, lead with all five of his introduced bills passing. Democrats like Councilwoman Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, D-Annapolis, were able to pass a couple of their bills, while only the Republican to pass more than one bill was Councilwoman Amanda Fiedler, D-Arnold, who passed three bills.
Debates on development and environmental issues that accompanied the forest conservation bill kept the council in session into the wee hours of the night on more than one occasion, but Councilwoman Allison Pickard said they grew from it.
“That process brought us together,” she said. “Having almost all of us being new, we’ve had some growing pains, but I think we’re moving in a really good direction.”
Fiedler said that even when members of the council disagree, their confrontations are respectful and professional. She said she appreciates the dialogue.