There are 100 ways to kill a bill but only one way to pass one.
The old saw could come back to frustrate supporters of school board reform after the chairwoman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee told Patch the bill appears doomed.
"I don't like the bill and neither does the committee," said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who represents Baltimore City.
The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, creates a partially elected school board with one member elected from each of the county's current council districts. The board would also include four other members appointed at large by the governor. The elections and appointments would be done on a staggered basis beginning in 2014.
The bill has the support of the county Senate delegation.
Conway cited concerns about a lack of diversity that would come as a result of the bill.
"Baltimore County only has one black councilman on the council and based on the population it should have more," Conway said, adding that the school board is more diverse because of appointments made by the governor.
"The governor has the sensitivity to make those appointments," said Conway.
Conway added that the tradition of local courtesy—approving bills that affect only one jurisdiction if legislators from that area want the bill—doesn't guarantee passage.
She pointed to a bill to change the laws governing closing times on some liquor stores in Baltimore City.
"That was a Baltimore City bill," said Conway. "That was local courtesy and it died. Local bills die in committee all the time."
"It's about whether it's a bad bill," said Conway. "If it's a bad bill, it's a bad bill."
The Senate version is significantly different from the House version which includes a fully elected school board of nine members. Zirkin's bill originally mirrored the House bill, sponsored by Del. Steve Lafferty.
The House bill passed earlier this week and is on its way to the Senate and Conway's committee.
Conway made note of the differences.
"If they're so together on this why are the bills different?" Conway asked.
Zirkin amended the bill last month, saying that Conway's committee and the full Senate would not support a fully elected board.
"He's absolutely correct about that," Conway said as she walked away.