In theory, local governments make laws in a transparent way that allow citizens to participate. But in practice, some wonder whether the Baltimore County Council is shutting people out of the legislative process, especially when ad hoc amendments are added to bills then passed quickly.

At times, it can be a mad rush to the finish with the public having little idea what last-minute changes are being made to bills.

“It has been confusing,” said Joanne Antoine, the executive director of Common Cause Maryland, a grassroots nonpartisan watchdog organization.

In February, Baltimore County Council voted 5-2 to ban single-use plastic bags. During the public hearing process, there was a flurry amendments added on the fly that were debated in real time and voted up or down without much clarity about what the final bill would be.

It wasn’t pretty.

Anyone watching had a hard time following it, and council members themselves were getting confused by amendments.

Read full article: How the legislative sausage gets made on the Baltimore County Council is being challenged | WYPR