A bill updating Baltimore County's deficient ethics laws could be introduced in the County Council as soon as next week.
"We know what we want to do," Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond said Wednesday. "We might as well go ahead and do it."
Almond said a bill is being drafted to deal with a number of shortcomings in county ethics laws. State law passed in 2010 requires each local government to annually certify to the state Ethics Commission that the local ethics laws are at least equal to state requirements.
The council passed a bill introduced by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz last November, but the state Ethics Commission officials sent a letter in February to the county identifying six areas of conflict between state and county laws.
One of those areas of conflict is the acceptance of sporting event tickets by elected officials—a practice that "has not been allowed under state law for many years."
Kamenetz and Council members Almond, Cathy Bevins, David Marks, John Olszewski Sr. and Tom Quirk all reported receiving tickets to sporting events or other trips in 2011 from developers and others in their most recent ethics disclosure filings.
Councilman Todd Huff, a Timonium Republican, acknowledged in an interview with Patch that he accepted tickets to the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas from a developer who also owns a shopping center that rents space to Huff's family tire business. The developer also donated $3,000 to Huff's 2010 campaign.
Huff did not disclose the Super Bowl ticket or tickets to another Baltimore Ravens game given to him by another developer on his ethics disclosure forms. He has also declined to provide details about two other games he attended in 2011.
"It will be good for us to take care of it as soon as possible," Almond said of the effort to update the law.
Almond said she has had no conversations with Kamenetz about the executive's plans to update the law.
"I always thought it was up to us to do something about this," Almond said.
The chairwoman said the bill could be ready for introduction as soon as the Council's May 24 meeting but no later than its June 4 meeting—either date would put the bill on track for a final vote on July 2.