Cecil County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
In accordance with Section 202 of this Charter, the Council may enact public local laws for the peace, good government, health, safety or welfare of the County. It may repeal and amend the local laws for the County heretofore enacted by the General Assembly as provided by law.
Except during the month of November in the year in which Council members are elected, the Council may enact legislation on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, and on any additional days the Council may determine necessary. When the first or third Tuesday is a legal holiday, the next succeeding Tuesday shall be a day for the enactment of legislation. In no event shall the Council sit for more than 45 days in a calendar year for the purpose of enacting legislation.
(a) 
Three Council members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of legislative business.
(b) 
Legislative sessions shall be open to the public, advertised in advance, with such notice to include using electronic media such as the County website, and shall comply with all requirements for open meetings provided by law.
(c) 
The Council shall provide for the keeping of a journal, which shall be open to public inspection during normal business hours. Copies of the minutes of legislative sessions shall be posted within 24 hours after approval on a bulletin board maintained in a public place by the government and shall appear on the County website or otherwise be published using electronic media.
(d) 
Voting on legislation shall be by roll call, except on procedural motions. The ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal.
(e) 
The Council may adopt and publish additional rules of legislative procedure that may be desirable and not in conflict with this Charter.
(a) 
The Council may enact no law except by written bill.
(b) 
A bill shall embrace one subject. The subject shall be described in its title. No law may be enacted, revised, or amended by reference to its title alone. The duty of the Council shall be to enact the same format and arrangement of words as the legislation would read when it becomes law.
(c) 
A bill may be introduced by one or more Council members at a legislative session. A bill and each copy of the bill shall bear the name or names of the Council member(s) introducing the bill and the date of introduction.
(d) 
On the date a bill is introduced, the Council shall either reject the bill by an affirmative vote of at least four Council members or the President of the Council shall schedule a public hearing on the bill. Within 72 hours of its introduction, a copy of the bill, with notice of the date, time, and place of the public hearing, shall be placed on an official bulletin board maintained in a public place by the government and shall appear on the County website or otherwise be published using electronic media. Before a public hearing on a bill, the title and a fair summary of the bill and the date, time, and place of the public hearing shall be published at least once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the County. If the Council determines that no such newspaper exists in the County, the Council shall use whatever media it deems most suited to satisfy the public notice requirements of this subsection. The President of the Council may schedule more than one public hearing on a bill, provided the publication and notice requirements of this subsection are met for each hearing.
(e) 
After a public hearing, the Council may enact a bill into law, with or without amendment, by an affirmative vote of at least three Council members. In the event a bill is amended before enactment, and the amendment or amendments constitute a change of substance, the bill, as amended, shall not be enacted into law until the bill meets the public hearing, notice, and publication requirements of a newly introduced bill.
(f) 
A bill not enacted within 65 days of introduction is void. A bill not enacted prior to the month of November in any year in which Council members are elected to office is void.
(a) 
A law may be enacted under this section in the event of an emergency, as that term is defined in Section 104 of this Charter. The emergency law shall not create or abolish an office; grant a franchise or special privilege; create a vested right or interest; or change the compensation, term, or duty of any officer.
(b) 
A law enacted under this section shall be plainly designated as an emergency law and shall describe the nature of the emergency. On the date a bill is introduced, the President of the Council shall schedule a public hearing as soon as possible under the circumstances, but with reasonable notice. A copy of the bill and notice of the date, time, and place of the public hearing shall be posted as soon as reasonably possible, under the circumstances, on the official bulletin board maintained by the government and on the County website or otherwise published using electronic media, if circumstances allow such publication.
(c) 
After a public hearing, an emergency bill may be enacted into law by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Council members present. The emergency law shall terminate no later than six months after the date of enactment.
(d) 
To the extent the requirements of this section conflict with the requirements of Section 304, the requirements of this section apply.
(a) 
Except as otherwise provided in this section, within 10 business days after the passage of any legislation, the Council shall deliver the legislation to the Executive for approval or veto. If the Executive takes no action to approve or veto the legislation within 10 business days after receipt, it shall be deemed approved as if the Executive had approved it.
(b) 
If the Executive approves the legislation, it shall take effect as provided in this Charter.
(c) 
If the Executive vetoes the legislation, the Executive shall return it to the Council together with reasons for the veto stated in writing. Not later than the next legislative session immediately following the receipt of the vetoed legislation, the Council may override the veto by the affirmative vote of four members of the Council.
(d) 
The Executive shall not veto the annual budget and appropriation law.
An emergency law shall take effect on the date of enactment. The Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance shall take effect on the first day of the fiscal year to which it applies. All other laws shall take effect 60 calendar days after enactment, except in the event a law provides for a later effective date or is referred to the voters under Section 308 of this Charter.
(a) 
Except for the following, a law, or part of a law, enacted pursuant to this Charter may be referred to the voters for approval upon the filing of a petition signed by 10% of the registered voters of the County:
(1) 
A law imposing a tax;
(2) 
A law appropriating funds for current expenses to maintain the government;
(3) 
A law prescribing residency districts.
(b) 
A petition to refer a law, or portion of a law, to the voters of the County may consist of several papers, but each paper shall contain the full and accurate text of the law, or part of the law, that is subject to the petition. There shall be attached to each paper of signatures filed with a petition an affidavit of the person procuring those signatures. The affidavit shall state that the signatures were affixed in the person's presence and that, based upon the person's best knowledge and belief, every signature on the paper is genuine and bona fide and that the signers are registered voters of the County at the address set opposite or below their names.
(c) 
No later than 59 days following the date a law is enacted, a petition to refer the law, or portion of law, to the voters under this section may be filed with the Board of Supervisors of Elections for the County.
(d) 
Whenever a petition complying with all the provisions of law and this Charter is filed, the referred law, or the referred portion of law, shall not take effect until 30 days after approval by a majority of voters.
(e) 
A law, or portion of law, shall be submitted to the voters pursuant to this section voting either at: (1) the next general election for members of the United States Congress; or (2) a special election called by the Council, which shall be held not less than 30 days and not more than 90 days following the filing of a valid petition pursuant to this section. A special election is prohibited whenever members of the United States Congress are to be elected at a general election within 180 days of the filing of a valid petition under this section.
(f) 
A law enacted as an emergency law shall remain in force from the date the law becomes effective, notwithstanding the filing of a petition for referendum, but the law, or portion of the law, shall stand repealed immediately after rejection by a majority of voters voting on the law or portion of law.
The Council shall cause a fair summary of all laws enacted, amended, or repealed under this Charter to be published promptly at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the County and on the County website or otherwise be published using electronic media.
At intervals not greater than every 10 years, the Council shall cause all local laws of the County which are of general application and continuing force in the County to be codified. The codification shall be known as "The Code of Cecil County, Maryland." The publication shall contain an index and appropriate notes, citations, annotations, and appendices as the Council determines.