A Brief History of Prince George's County Term Limits
In 1992, Prince George’s County voters approved a citizen-driven initiative to limit the County Council and Executive to two terms in office. The citizens spent six months collecting over 15,000 signatures to place the term limit issue (“Question C”) on the ballot. The County government put up a big fight against term limits, some of it in violation of State election law, but Question C passed by a modest margin.
Since then, elected politicians have repeatedly sought to overturn term limits, and voters have repeatedly upheld it each time.
In 2000, then State Delegate Rushern Baker led a movement for outright repeal of the 1992 Charter Amendment to save the Council jobs of the seven members elected in 1994 when most Council seats became vacant. The voters rejected Baker’s proposal overwhelmingly.
In 2004, Council member Tom Hendershot and County Executive Jack Johnson led a Charter Amendment movement (Question H) to add 2 At-Large Seats, similar to Question D today. Hendershot, a former school board member, wanted to extend his tenure in a County government job, and Johnson wanted to undermine the County Council majority that had formed and was blocking his cronyism. The voters rejected Question H proposal overwhelmingly.
Just two years ago, the County Council proposed Question J, seeking to extend their terms another four years (from a limit of two terms to three terms). The Council got special interests to fund $142,000 to convince voters to support Question J. But, even with that influx of campaign cash, the voters rejected the Council again.
Now, once again, Council has decided to ignore and circumvent The Will of the People and seek another option to extend their jobs on the Council. Question D will be the the FOURTH attempt to repeal or circumvent Term Limits – this time adding two new At-Large Seats that term limited Council members can run for in 2018.