Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has announced the introduction of state legislation to reform campaign finance rules in Anne Arundel County. Senate Bill 710 was introduced at the request of the county executive and will prohibit campaign donations to county council and county executive candidates by developers with applications pending before the county.
“As I traveled across the county last year, people told me they felt like the deck was stacked against them on land use issues,” said Pittman. “I want to restore people’s trust in the public process. In my administration, we want land use decisions to be fair, open and transparent. I believe if you have a zoning application open before the county, then you should keep your checkbook closed.”
Supporters of the bill say it’s necessary to counter the influence of land developers on rezoning applications and other important land use decisions. They also say this legislation protects developers, public officials and communities from the “pay-to-play” practices that lead to bad public policy and mistrust in government.
Along with the introduction of the bill, Pittman announced that he will form a task force to explore public financing options and other campaign reforms for the county. Jennifer Bevan-Dangel will serve as chair of the task force. Bevan-Dangel is an Anne Arundel resident who helped establish the first public financing programs in Montgomery and Howard counties.