Saturday, March 19, 2011

FIELD NOTES ~ By Delegate Mike McDermott

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

By Delegate Mike McDermott

March 14th-18th, 2011

On Monday evening prior to session, there was a significant union rally on the Lawyer’s Mall which greeted us as we moved toward the State House. It was all about the Governor’s budget and their dislike for what has been proposed by the O’Malley Administration. I found it interesting that the governor actually came out and took the stage to speak to the crowd and proclaimed, “I don’t like the budget either!!!” Of course, the crowd was happy about this proclamation. So, I guess it may be true for democratic governor’s in can have your cake and eat it too!

On Tuesday morning, the session was brief and we only voted on one bill:

HB-209: Vote 139-0 On Third Reader in Favor. Authorizing the purchase of agricultural land preservation easements if the land meets specified requirements and is subject to specified regulations governing the use of the land; clarifying that specified provisions of the Act do not exempt a landowner from complying with specified local laws or State or local requirements; prohibiting land subject to agricultural easement from being used for specified purposes; allowing a landowner to reserve up to three 1-acre lots to construct single-family residential dwellings, etc.

On Tuesday afternoon, I met with a sub committee to review the Child Neglect statute being championed by Lt. Governor Brown. We made many recommendations for changing the bill and hope to have it ready for committee soon.

On Tuesday, the following bills were heard in the Judicary Committee

HB-1174: Would give more power to the Division of Parole and Probation when it comes to reimposing sentences for violations of parole or probation. It would allow for lesser sentences on minor offenses and should reduce some prison costs.

HB-899: Would provide police powers to a unit within the Division of which deal specifically with the apprehension of offenders on Warrant Retake Orders. Currently, officers are not able to arrest for violations which occur in the process of their warrant service or other related actions.

HB-677: Would make it a crime in Maryland for any municipality or government to grant “sanctuary status” to illegal aliens. It would require the state to enforce federal laws addressing illegal immigration. It was argued clearly on both sides, but it is clear that Maryland is fast becoming a sanctuary for illegal immigrants due to our lax enforcement policies and the current lack of enforcement by authorities from ICE.

HB-724: Would increase the statute of limitations for 4th Degree Sex Offense from one year to three. This bill will probably be amended to allow for extended limitations in the case where a victim is a juvenile.

HB-898: Would not allow for Bondsmen to fail to collect the full amount of their bond premium through various finance arrangements made with bonding companies. It does not allow for these companies to finance bonds, merely have an arrangement for collecting payment over time.

HB-1207: Would allow local government entities to prohibit the sale of drug paraphernalia to a minor. It allows for the revocation of business licenses, etc by the local authorities for violations. It is believed that this type of tie in would impact the sale of drug paraphernalia items to minors locally. Based on questions asked, the bill may create confusion across county or municipal boundaries.

HB-1075: Would repeal the Death Penalty in Maryland. This bill seeks to respond to the finding of the Maryland Commission on Capitol Punishment completed in 2008 which recommended abolishing the death penalty in Maryland in favor of Life in Prison.

HB-1074: Would provide an exemption for any Division of Correction employee or other related service employee to exempt themselves from participating in the process of a state execution. This is a no brainer, though, in all fairness, we simply do not exercise the death penalty in Maryland.

HB-804: Would require the MVA to place a certain notation on the driver’s license and state issued ID’s of convicted sex offenders. It is said this may aid law enforcement officers in identifying potential bad guys who may be involved in an abduction when stopped for another violation.

HB-1128: Would alter the definition of sexual contact to include any penetration by any part of the body or object. The current law does not make provision for penetration by other parts of the human body. Some recent cases have made this an issue that needs to be addressed according to some state’s attorney’s who testified in favor of the bill.

On Wednesday, the following bills were heard in the Judiciary Committee:

HB-1277: Would set the policy of the State so as to encourage the use of special needs trusts or supplemental needs trusts by individuals with disabilities of all ages to preserve funds in order to provide for the needs of the individuals not met by public benefits and to enhance their quality of life. The bill encourages self reliance on the part of those with disabilities.

HB-1296: Would allow for the electronic transmission of Eviction related documents. This is currently being done manually by the Clerks and Sheriff’s Office personnel. This would save time and certainly speed up the process by which these papers are transferred and eventually served.

On Thursday morning, the following bills were presented for Third Reader:

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #18

HB 86

Third Reading Passed (104-33)

HB 110

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 263

Third Reading Passed (136-0)

HB 435

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 463

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 481

Third Reading Passed (137-3)

HB 486

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 507

Third Reading Passed (94-46)

HB 522

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 581

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #19

HB 621

Third Reading Passed (137-2)

HB 630

Third Reading Passed (135-5)

HB 634

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 667

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 674

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 679

Third Reading Passed (103-35)

HB 727

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 729

Third Reading Passed (108-32)

HB 749

Third Reading Passed (119-20)

HB 833

Third Reading Passed (130-3)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #20

HB 837

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 849

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 864

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 877

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 913

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 972

Third Reading Passed (130-10)

HB 994

Third Reading Passed (122-9)

HB 1017

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 1018

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 1025

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 1088

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

On Thursday afternoon, the Judiciary Committee heard the following bills:

HB-1118: Requiring the juvenile court, in specified child in need of assistance hearings, to send written findings to specified individuals and agencies if the court finds that specified reasonable efforts were made but that a specified condition exists. Bills like this are generally procedural applications which may slightly modify one aspect of an existing law.

HB-1190: Seeks to expand a pilot program dealing with children in need of supervision to Cecil County and Prince Georges County. The program has been used successfully to divert children from the juvenile delinquency system. They wish to see it work in a more rural county. The bill carries a fiscal note of $250,000.00 and this may be a stumbling block.

HB-790: Seeks to create a crime of Home Invasion and see it classified as a violent crime. There was testimony that these crimes are often being treated as property crimes instead of violent offenses. We heard from several victims of home invasions.

HB-1305: Would expand the notification that a school receives when a student is arrested for certain offenses. It would add the charges of drug distribution to the offenses reported to certain school officials. This makes a lot of sense.

HB-825: Would provide a method for a juvenile defendant who has been waived to adult court to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals. This may create some unnecessary delays in criminal trials for a very low number of instances annually in Maryland. I think it may need further review before implementation.

On Friday, the following bills were voted on during the morning session:

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #21

HB 124

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 128

Third Reading Passed (118-22)

HB 245

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 268

Third Reading Passed (138-1)

HB 279

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 376

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 417

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 466

Third Reading Passed (127-11)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #22

HB 476

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 506

Third Reading Passed (136-2)

HB 535

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 637

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 643

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 944

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 1093

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #23

HB 38

Third Reading Passed (108-30)

HB 188

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 195

Third Reading Passed (102-36)

HB 203

Third Reading Passed (133-4)

HB 286

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 413

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 453

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #24

HB 456

Third Reading Passed (130-8)

HB 468

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 479

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 482

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 542

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 543

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 545

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 590

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #25

HB 596

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 597

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 600

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 741

Motion Special Order until 3/22 (Delegate Feldman) Adopted

HB 752

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 793

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

HB 888

Third Reading Passed (140-0)

Third Reading Calendar (House Bills) #26

HB 940

Third Reading Passed (133-6)

HB 953

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 973

Third Reading Passed (137-0)

HB 996

Third Reading Passed (139-0)

HB 1028

Third Reading Passed (125-14)

HB 1095

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

HB 1119

Third Reading Passed (138-0)

On Friday afternoon, the Judiciary Committee voted on the following bills:

Favorable: HB-921, HB-1072, HB-1118, HB-1174

Unfavorable: HB-835, H-872, HB-1037,


Anonymous said...

Is this a McDermott web site?

Anonymous said...

jmmb posts this 9:21 so we have an idea what is going on in Annapolis. Those of us represented by Del McDermott appreciate the fact that he takes the time to give us updates and that PPE posts them.

Anonymous said...

YAWN, we did not like him and please do not bore us when he is stealing money from the worcester county citizens and working with the sheriffs office. PLEASE let him fade away before you loose loyal readers

jmmb said...

Sorry 7:26PM, but the majority of the readers here are very interested in what goes on in Annapolis every week.

Besides, I like him! Alot of people do.

Anonymous said...

Whether you like him or not.. Where the heck else can you hear this much information about what our state government is doing?

Anonymous said...

7:26 I do not find what legislation being considered/passed/or failed in my state one bit boring.
Who cares if he works for the sheriff's department anyway. Almost all of the MD state senators and delegates have other jobs. Their duties in Annapolis are only for a few months. I find Del McDermott's experience with the sheriff's department quite beneficial to his appointment with the judiciary committee.