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Best week, worst week: Kamenetz gets veto to stick; Democrats lament redistricting effort

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz got some good news this week after vetoing a development bill, but his fellow Democrats statewide took one on the chin as Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced a commission that could lead to an amendment in the state Constitution changing the way the state draws congressional districts.

On Wednesday, government affairs writer Bryan P. Sears reported that Kamenetz will veto a bill altering the county’s planned unit development law because he believes it violates county ethics laws. The bill, which was passed unanimously by the seven-member council earlier this week, would alter the definition of community benefit to allow developers to make cash donations to nonprofit, county or state entities.

Currently, the law as drafted in 2010 by Kamenetz when he was a member of the council defined community benefit as capital projects that would be open to public use. Then on Thursday, Councilwoman Cathy Bevins said she believes there are not enough votes on the seven-member council to override the county executive and Kamenetz’s veto would stand.

Meanwhile, Democrats statewide can’t be too happy with Hogan addressing the redistricting issue, a part of his platform in this year’s State of the State address.

Sears reported Thursday that the announcement met with praise from groups such as the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Maryland who have championed the creation of an independent commission for several years. Both groups will have members on the commission. Bills over the better part of a decade seeking to reform the process have met with no success in Annapolis. Legislative leaders say real reform is needed at the national level and called on Congress to address the issue.

Sears also said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat, was concerned that commission as created by Hogan would result in a pre-ordained outcome and said some politics was involved in the effort.