UPDATED (2:09 p.m.)—A bill that would have established reimbursement requirements and perhaps set other penalties for elected officials who misuse police equipment has been pulled by the sponsor because of election year concerns.Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, D-Baltimore, introduced the bill last week but quickly pulled it at the request of her committee chairman, Sen. Brian E. Frosh, D-Montgomery.
“It will not be considered for this year because of the election,” said Gladden, who is vice chairwoman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. “It will be back next year because I like the bill and I think it’s a good idea.”
The text of Senate Bill 863 was not available prior to the interviewing Gladden. It was added shortly after this post was written.
The bill imposes a $15,000 fine for an elected official found guilty of misusing police resources and requires the official to reimburse the agency for the use of the equipment and officers.
With budgets being tighter and demands on law enforcement increasing, Gladden said police “don’t have time for this foolishness.”
What makes the bill politically charged is that it is motivated by an incident involving Del Jon S. Cardin.
When asked if the bill was specifically related to the Baltimore County Democrat, Gladden responded: “Of course we’re talking about Jon Cardin.”
Frosh, who chairs the same committee that Gladden serves on, is running for attorney general this year. Cardin is seeking the same office.
In 2009, Cardin was at the center of a controversy that involved his use of a Baltimore City Police Department helicopter and marine unit as part of his marriage proposal. Ultimately, the delegate apologized. The city calculated the cost for what it said was 15 minutes of time and Cardin wrote a check.
Asked why she didn’t introduce the bill at any other time over the last four years, Gladden said: “I hadn’t thought about it before.”