Judges Report + more
Maryland Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, who is the head of Maryland’s highest court, delivered her State of the Judiciary Address to a joint session of the Maryland General Assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, in Annapolis.
The report was positive.
The Maryland Judiciary has produced self-help videos for citizens to learn more about the law and the court system. You can access that here:
Wednesday, Delegate Nic Kipke and I also introduced a bill to allow media and cameras in the courtroom during the sentencing of a criminal trial. Of the three branches of government, the judiciary is the least understood by the public. It is time that we open that up to build trust with the public so they know what is going on in the judiciary.
Under our proposal, news organizations would be able to request permission to have a camera in court at least 24 hours ahead of a criminal sentencing.
The judge in the case would then decide whether to allow cameras. The judge could limit the number of cameras allowed and require the media outlets to share their footage. The judge also could set limits on what can be recorded and broadcast, such as not filming a victim impact statement at the victim’s request.
We need transparency in all three branches of government.
Help for Seniors
The Maryland Department of Aging has an Ombudsman Program for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state, and national levels that will improve residents’ care and quality of life.
Ombudsman can be volunteers or paid employees that are independent of any conflict of interest with a long-term care facility. Services are free and confidential.
What does the word “Ombudsman” mean?
The term ombudsman (om-budz-man) is Scandinavian in origin. In the United States, it has come to mean “advocate”.
This is a free program that is staffed by paid workers and volunteers across our state.
Navigating health care, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and other issues are hard for seniors and their families. This is a program that can be helpful. For more information, click here:
School Start - After Labor Day
In response to the outcry from parents, teachers, and students, Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order to have all public schools start their school year after Labor Day. The response has been extremely positive across our state.
The special interest education labor union has decided to do their best to overturn this policy.
Thursday, February 7, the Baltimore Sun published a letter I sent in supporting the After Labor Day Start. Be sure to contact your own legislators to let them know you views on this important issue. You can find that information here:
As a small government conservative, I have consistently advocated for greater local control. However, local control can be corrupted and that is exactly what happened to most local school boards and the process in which they created their school calendars. This is why Governor Hogan’s executive order to start school after Labor Day was a good and necessary action.
To the never-ending annoyance of various Democratic legislators, a post Labor Day school start remains incredibly popular. We all know school calendars had gotten completely out of control. Take Anne Arundel County for example; prior to the executive order, they had 13 extra full days off, in addition to the numerous state mandated days off. Some of these days made sense, others like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the day for the teacher’s union conference in Ocean City, made zero sense. Instead of being aligned with the best interest of students, the calendars were aligned with the demands of the teacher’s union political leadership.
Not too long ago, Maryland public schools started after Labor Day. What changed? The number of required school days didn’t change, neither did the required number of educational hours. What changed is that the teachers union through their complete dominance over the Maryland Democratic Party slowly forced the school year to expand with largely superfluous full and half days off.
In response to the executive order, school systems have consolidated their calendars. Keeping kids in school during the school year is obviously the better system. It is much more difficult for working parents to find childcare for random days off during the school year than a predictable schedule right up to Labor Day. This is only common sense.
Make no mistake, this is a political power struggle and the teacher’s union doesn’t have the best interest of our children in mind, and neither do the legislators they control who are actively trying to undo the governor’s executive order.
Standing up to powerful and well-funded special interests and the people who do their bidding is why I ran for office and I am calling on my like-minded colleagues to do the same.