This story was updated on Sept. 27, 2012.
On at least one thing Montgomery County Democrats and Republicans agree, both parties support repealing effects bargaining for the county police union.
However the parties hold opposing view on Question A, a question that would allow Montgomery County more flexibility for hiring individuals with disabilities.
At a meeting of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee on Tuesday, the party set its positions on 10 of the 11 ballot questions county voters will decide Nov. 6, according to a release from the party. Voters will also be asked to vote on the retention of Judge Stuart Berger to the Court of Special Appeals, which the GOP did not set a position on.
Republicans chose to support Question B to repeal effects bargaining, the same position taken a week early by the Democratic Central Committee.
Voting yes on Question B would uphold a 2011 law that eliminated the right of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 to bargain the effects of management decisions that do not involve salaries, benefits or working conditions. In Montgomery County, the FOP is the only public employees union that has the right to effects bargaining.
GOP support for Question B is not surprising, said Lanny Davis, an attorney hired by FOP.
The nine “so-called progressive” Democrats on the County Council who unanimously passed the measure and the wide margin of Democratic precinct leaders who supported it was surprising, he said.
While Question B has the support of the county’s political machines, it does not have support from other unions, Davis said, hinting at forthcoming union announcements.
“I think this is going to come down to our message to voters,” he said. “We will see what voters say.”
The FOP pushed to have the law’s fate decided by a popular vote, collecting nearly 40,000 signatures, which were affirmed by Maryland highest court this summer.
While Republicans and Democrats both support Question B, the GOP will oppose a county charter amendment enabling the council to draft legislation allowing the direct hire of qualified individuals with severe mental and physical disabilities. Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg proposed the amendment and the Democratic party supported it.
Andrews said he is optimistic that enough voters, including Republicans, will support his amendment on Nov. 6.
“There are a lot of independently minded people in Montgomery County who look at issues individually and make up their minds,” he said.
Among the statewide issues that voters will decide in November, the county Republican party opposes marriage equality, gambling expansion, the Dream Act and the congressional redistricting map that was drawn and widely supported by Maryland Democrats.
The party supports a state constitutional amendment on the suspension or removal elected officials convicted of crimes.
It will remain neutral on allowing alcohol in Damascus and questions on the qualifications for orphan court judges in Prince George's and Baltimore counties.