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Ryan Dorsey represents Baltimore City’s 3rd Council District. He works to strengthen communities and make them safer and more accessible for all, increase government accountability and transparency, and ensure that Baltimore is an affordable, attractive and inclusive place for all who choose to live here.


Legislative Work

Since being sworn in on December 8, 2016 Councilman Dorsey has successfully introduced and passed significant legislation to bring both immediate and long-term benefits to Baltimore and the 3rd District.

Bills Passed Into Law


  • 18-0285 Playing in the Street - Repeals the prohibition that outlaws playing in the street. 

  • 19-0378 Ethics Board Administration and Staff - Strengthens the independence and investigative ability of the Ethics Board by making the Inspector General and the Inspector General's Office, the Executive Director and staff to the Board.​


  • 18-0308 HOME Act - Source of Income - Prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of source of income.

  • 19-0457 Elected Officials - Financial Disclosure - Requires elected officials who own businesses to disclose the sources of income for those businesses. This closes a loophole that allows businesses to serve as a pass-through to hide business dealings that would constitute a conflict of interest for the elected official.

  • 19-0377 Whistleblower Rights and Responsibilities - Protects City employees against retaliation for making disclosures of misconduct or other improper action within City government.​

  • 19-0376 Financial Disclosures - Improves the process of identifying which City employees are required to file annual financial disclosures, the process for ensuring filing, and adding disclosure of board memberships as a section of the disclosure form.

  • 19-0366 Commercial Parking Facilities - Requires, as a condition of their operating license, that commercial parking facilities be able to provide all customers a receipt at the time of payment.

  • 19-0238 Hamilton Urban Renewal - Ends the prohibition of second-hand stores within the Hamilton Urban Renewal Plan. These few blocks of Harford Road had previous been made the only place in the city to prohibit second-hand stores (not to be confused with pawn shops), but this bill removed that prohibition. This will allow for a greater diversity of businesses, and increased viability in the Hamilton Business District

  • 19-0430 Repeal of the Northwood Commons Planned Unit Development, to allow redevelopment to go forward.

  • 19-0444 Complete Streets- Extended Deadlines - Mayor Pugh's administration and then DOT Director Pourciau failed to meet the implementation requirements of of Baltimore's Complete Streets law. (See 17-0102, above.) This bill extends those deadlines to allow DOT's new leadership a proper opportunity to implement.


  • 17-0102 Complete Streets - Ordinance to bring comprehensive reform to the Department of Transportation. This law, now recognized as a national model of best practices in the creation of such policies, mandates safer and more inclusive design, equitable community engagement, prioritization of investments through an equity framework, and comprehensive annual reporting.

See also,

  • 18-0199 Inspector General’s Office - Charter Amendment Resolution codified best practices to strengthen and make more independent the OIG. This brought the question to the ballot in the 2018 general election where it was supported by 79% of voters.

  • 18-0259 More Modern Fire Code - Removed outdated code provisions that were prohibiting safer street design, allowing for more sustainable urban design.

  • 18-0275 Towing Unidentifiable Vehicles - Allows for immediate towing of vehicles missing license plates and where the VIN is missing or obstructed. This bill addresses a practice common among unregistered and unlawfully-operating businesses and chop shops and is related to instances of auto theft.



  • 17-0027 Protecting Bus Lanes and Stops to Improve Transit - Increased fines for parking in bus stops, helping to keep them clear and accessible for riders and busses to operate safely and as intended.

  • 17-0081 Rezoning 5717 & 5723 Harford Rd - Long-vacant properties were rezoned by ordinance to a new designation that better supports neighborhood revitalization in the Harford Road corridor



  • 20-0504 Charter Amendment - City Council Composition - Increases to number of Council districts to 15, eliminates the Council President from an at-large elected position to an election among the 15 council members. This appeared as a question to voters on the November 2018 election ballot. 79% of voters voted in support.

  • 19-0478 Curb Cuts - Restoration - Establishes a process for the City of Baltimore to restore unneeded, unused, or otherwise abandoned curb cuts.

  • 19-0339 Hazardous Drainage - Prohibits the discharging of liquid into the public right of way during freezing temperatures.

  • 18-0286 Speed Limits - Sets safer default speed limits on city streets.

  • 18-0188 Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADU's) - Allows for ADU's under the zoning code.


Failed End-of-Term:

  • 20-0559 Commercial Parking Facilities - Increasing the annual licensing fee for commercial parking facilities and indexing future rates to inflation.

  • 20-0561 Zoning Code - Fossil Fuel Infrastructure - Eliminates parking minimums, establishes marking maximums, prohibits turning parks into parking lots, stops permitting new gas stations.


Councilman Dorsey has passed resolutions calling for Maryland’s education funding formula to integrate funding for pre-K to 12 arts, supporting state action to prohibit source of income discrimination, and condemning the xenophobic and racist rhetoric of Donald Trump.



As Chair of the Transportation Committee, Councilman Dorsey has held oversight hearings of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, addressing longstanding management and operational deficiencies and a path to improvement. These include sidewalk replacement and street resurfacing, ADA compliance, staffing and operational challenges, and community engagement and the development and implementation of new laws and plans. While the City does not own or operate the MTA bus system, and historically Baltimore City DOT have had an uncooperative and somewhat adversarial relationship, Councilman Dorsey has been able to bring these two agencies - State and local - together to highlight opportunities for collaboration and better collective outcomes for Baltimore and the region.

Councilman Dorsey has written various policy memos on transportation matters, including a 3-5 year plan for Baltimore.

Pursuant to the passage of Councilman Dorsey's Complete Streets ordinance, Baltimore is developing a manual.

Public Safety:

From December of 2017 through May of 2019, Councilman Dorsey served as  Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee. Councilman Dorsey has been outspoken in his work to uncover mismanagement and poor practices within the Baltimore Police Department. He was the lone vote opposing the appointment of Darryl DeSousa to be Police Commissioner, citing an unwillingness to answer key questions during the confirmation process. (DeSousa resigned from the position less than four months later, after federal indictment.)

Trespass Towing Board:

Councilman Dorsey represents the City Council on the trespass towing board. This seven-member board includes representatives from BPD, DOT, Finance, City Council, the trespass towing industry, the property management industry, and the public at large. It oversees licensing and regulation of trespass towing – contracted private towing companies towing from private property.

When Councilman Dorsey was appointed to serve on this board in December of 2016, it had longstanding vacancies in the positions representing property management and the general public, and the same industry representative had been serving for nine years. Councilman Dorsey saw to it that these three positions were filled with new members, and that the industry representative was selected democratically by the representatives of every trespass towing company doing business in Baltimore.

When Councilman Dorsey joined the board, trespass towers were being permitted to charge owners of vehicles up to $450 per vehicle towed. An owner who showed up while their vehicle was being lifted onto a tow truck could charge a $225 “drop fee”, to have their vehicle released on the spot. In 2019, Councilman Dorsey lead the effort and succeeded in lowering the maximum to $350 and a $175 drop fee.

In his role on the trespass towing board, Councilman Dorsey has learned considerably about a range of towing matters and laws, well beyond trespass towing. Putting that knowledge to good use, Councilman Dorsey has written and passed related laws that benefit Baltimore residents and visitors. These include defining “unidentifiable vehicles” and allowing for their immediate towing from public streets (passed into law), amending the Commercial Parking Facilities law (passed into law), and drafting a comprehensive rewrite of the trespass and accident towing laws of the City (still in committee).


Councilman Dorsey serves as a member of the Land Use, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Legislative Investigations committees, and on the Sustainability Commission.

The Arts

Since 2018, Councilman Dorsey's Artist/District program has awarded $24,000 in arts grants to 3rd District residents. Made possible through the fiscal sponsorship of the Baltimore City Foundation, and Councilman Dorsey's private fundraising efforts, Artist/District annually awards four $3000 grants to visual, musical and literary artists residing in the 3rd District. 


Learn more at

The State

Each year Councilman Dorsey goes to Annapolis during the legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly, working to support State partners bringing improvements to Baltimore City. He maintains strong relationships with State Delegates and Senators, using his day-to-day experience to inform state legislation that affects the 3rd District and Baltimore as a whole. In 2018 Councilman Dorsey worked with Chairman McIntosh to direct $400,000 to right-of-way improvements to the Hamilton Business District. During the 2018 session Sen. Bill Ferguson and Del. Bilal Ali introduced a bill at his request, to make home ownership more possible for low-income Baltimore City employees. It was reintroduced by Del Stephanie Smith and passed in 2019. Five new bills were introduced at his request in 2019. Because of his leadership in Baltimore on transportation, consumer advocacy, and other issues, progressive leaders from across Maryland ask that he testify to support their bills.

Constituent Service

In his first three years in office, Councilman Dorsey and staff helped resolve more than 1,000 constituent service cases. Councilman Dorsey has worked with communities and residents on countless projects, including traffic calming and roadway improvements, vacant homes and code enforcement, cleaning and greening, business development, water bills, tax sale prevention, infrastructure maintenance and contractor accountability, information sharing, navigation of processes and resource access, hardship assistance, non-profit partnerships, and more. He has maintained his campaign promise to hold town hall meetings open to all, to work with community associations, regularly attending their meetings and bringing their elected leaders together for his Assembly of Neighborhoods.

About Councilman Dorsey

Councilman Dorsey is a lifelong resident of Baltimore’s 3rd District. Raised in the Belair-Edison and Mayfield neighborhoods, he attended St. Francis of Assisi and graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Before running for office, Councilman Dorsey worked as a project manager in a small business that was founded in Baltimore in 1930, and has been in his family for three generations. He is an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. Featured in Sports Illustrated (click here and scroll to #49).

Life is a work in progress. This page will be updated accordingly.

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