Category Archives: Elections

Question 2: Should jury trials be allowed only in civil cases when the amount in question is more than $15,000, instead of more than $10,000, the current minimum?

Question 2: Should jury trials be allowed only in civil cases when the amount in question is more than $15,000, instead of more than $10,000, the current minimum?

As you will see it on the ballot

Question 2
Constitutional Amendment
(Senate Bill 119, Chapter 480 of the 2010 Legislative Session)
Trial by Jury

Authorizing the enactment of legislation to limit the right to a jury trial in a civil proceeding to those proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000.

(Amending Maryland Declaration of Rights – Articles 5(a) and 23)

Under Articles 5 and 23 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, a party in a civil proceeding has a right to a jury trial where the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000. In cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed this threshold amount, a judge, rather than a jury, determines the verdict. The constitutional amendment would increase the amount-in-controversy limitation by providing that a party may not demand a jury trial in a civil proceeding unless the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000, excluding attorney’s fees if attorney’s fees are recoverable in the proceeding.

Arguments “for” increasing the threshold jury level to $15,000 in civil cases: Jury trials cost tax payers money and should be limited to issues with a threshold level of damages. The current level of $10,000 is too low.Jury trials should be available to individuals at the 10,000 level.

Arguments “against” increasing the threshold jury level to $15,000 in civil cases:

Extra Information:  the current level of $10,000 has been in effect since 2006. Not a lot of debate articles on this amendment but here is one point of view: http://www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com/2010/04/another_new_maryland_law_jury.html

Question 3: Should Baltimore City’s orphans’ court judges be required to be lawyers?

Question 3: Should Baltimore City’s orphans’ court judges be required to be lawyers?

As you will see it on the ballot:

Question 3
Constitutional Amendment
(House Bill 417, Chapter 481 of the 2010 Legislative Session)
Qualifications for Baltimore City Orphans’ Court Judges

Requires judges of the Orphans’ Court in Baltimore City to be members in good standing of the Maryland Bar who are admitted to practice law in Maryland.

(Amending Article IV, Section 40 of the Maryland Constitution)

Under the Maryland Constitution, the voters of each county and Baltimore City elect three judges to the Orphans’ Court of their respective jurisdictions, with the exception of Montgomery and Harford counties, where circuit court judges sit as the Orphans’ Court. The judges must be citizens of the State and residents, for the preceding 12 months, in the city or county in which they are elected. The constitutional amendment would add an additional eligibility requirement for judges of the Orphans’ Court in Baltimore City, requiring them to be members in good standing of the Maryland Bar who are admitted to practice law in Maryland.

Arguments “for” requiring orphans’ court judges to be Maryland lawyers first:

Judges should have a basic standard of expertise in law.  Requiring that judges be a member of the bar provides that. 


Arguments “against” requiring orphans’ court judges to be Maryland lawyers first:

People with financial backgrounds are just as qualified to deal with probate issues as lawyers. The state’s other Orphans’ Court judges, who preside in 21 of the 23 Maryland counties, still would not have to be lawyers if the amendment passes.  It would only apply to Baltimore City.

Extra Information:  Even though the orphans’ court question pertains only to Baltimore City, it’s up for statewide vote because it proposes a change to the state constitution, according to Jared DeMarinis, the Maryland State Board of Elections’ director of candidacy and campaign finance. As a side note Montgomery County.

Montgomery County is one of two in Maryland that does not have a separate Orphan’s Court per se.  Here Circuit court judges preside over Orphans’ Court cases. Circuit court judges also deal with other types of cases and are required to have law degrees and be a member of the Maryland bar.

THE BIG BALLOT QUESTIONS

Friends — hope this is useful!

THE BIG BALLOT QUESTIONS

Here’s a quick rundown of the FOUR questions you will see on your election ballot if you vote in Bethesda.  Question A is specific to Montgomery County Ballots. Questions 1-3 are statewide.  We’ve included a copy of the initiative as you will see it on the ballot along with a brief summary of the arguments “for” and “against”— as best we can decipher them and, we’ve included a few extra facts that might be handy.  Feel free to add your own comments.

The Four Questions Are:

Maryland Elections 2010: THE BIG BALLOT QUESTIONS

Friends — hope this is useful!

THE BIG BALLOT QUESTIONS

Here’s a quick rundown of the FOUR questions you will see on your election ballot if you vote in Bethesda.  Question A is specific to Montgomery County Ballots. Questions 1-3 are statewide.  We’ve included a copy of the initiative as you will see it on the ballot along with a brief summary of the arguments “for” and “against”— as best we can decipher them and, we’ve included a few extra facts that might be handy.  Feel free to add your own comments.

The Four Questions Are:

Question 2: Should jury trials be allowed only in civil cases when the amount in question is more than $15,000, instead of more than $10,000, the current minimum?

Question 2: Should jury trials be allowed only in civil cases when the amount in question is more than $15,000, instead of more than $10,000, the current minimum?

As you will see it on the ballot

Question 2
Constitutional Amendment
(Senate Bill 119, Chapter 480 of the 2010 Legislative Session)
Trial by Jury

Authorizing the enactment of legislation to limit the right to a jury trial in a civil proceeding to those proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000.

(Amending Maryland Declaration of Rights – Articles 5(a) and 23)

Under Articles 5 and 23 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, a party in a civil proceeding has a right to a jury trial where the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000. In cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed this threshold amount, a judge, rather than a jury, determines the verdict. The constitutional amendment would increase the amount-in-controversy limitation by providing that a party may not demand a jury trial in a civil proceeding unless the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000, excluding attorney’s fees if attorney’s fees are recoverable in the proceeding.

Arguments “for” increasing the threshold jury level to $15,000 in civil cases: Jury trials cost tax payers money and should be limited to issues with a threshold level of damages. The current level of $10,000 is too low.

Arguments “against” increasing the threshold jury level to $15,000 in civil cases: Jury trials should be available to individuals at the 10,000 level.

Extra Information:  the current level of $10,000 has been in effect since 2006. Not a lot of debate articles on this amendment but here is one point of view: http://www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com/2010/04/another_new_maryland_law_jury.html

Question 1: Should Maryland have a convention to change its constitution?

Statewide Questions

Question 1: Should Maryland have a convention to change its constitution? 

As you will see it on the ballot:

Question 1
Constitutional Amendment Question as you will see it on the ballot:

(Senate Bill 26, Chapter 9 of the 2010 Legislative Session)
Maryland Constitutional Convention

Should a constitutional convention be called for the purpose of changing the Maryland Constitution?

Under Article XIV, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution the General Assembly is required to ask the voters every 20 years whether a constitutional convention should be called for the purpose of altering the Maryland Constitution.

Arguments “for” a Constitutional Convention: The constitution should be modernized. There are issues not currently addressed by the constitution that Maryland may want to address. Two issues that would require an amendment: Marriage definition; The addition of term limits.

Arguments “against” a Constitutional Convention: No need and it would cost money. If there is a convention it would be open ended. Any section could be changed as the entire constitution would be up for meddling in one shot. Better to have issues brought up for referendum one at a time as it will be more contained.

Extra Information: A vote for a constitutional convention would be a vote for launching a process to revise the state constitution. Maryland state lawmakers are only required to put the option of a constitutional convention question on the ballot once every 20 years. Washington Post had a fun article on the topic back in July and an interactive link to allow folks to try their hand at amending the existing constitution: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2010/07/how_would_you_change_the_maryl.html?sid=ST2010070501348

Question A: Should there be an ambulance fee in Montgomery County?

Montgomery County Question:

Question A: Should there be an ambulance fee in Montgomery County?

As you will see it on the ballot:

Question A

Referendum on Law Enacted by the County Council
Emergency Medical Services Transport Fee

Shall the Act to require the collection of an emergency medical services transport (ambulance) fee from: (1) County residents to the extent of the resident’s insurance coverage; and (2) non-County residents subject to a hardship waiver become law?

Arguments “for” an ambulance fee: The county needs the revenue that this amendment would generate. Other counties report that they have not seen a marked decline the use of 911 as a result of ambulance fees.

Arguments “against” an ambulance fee: The fee would discourage some from calling 911; For “core government functions – police, fire, rescue – there should be no barriers”.  Once the fee is in place the incentive to increase it or do away with limiting protections will increase.

Extra information: “hardship waiver” would cover those earning three times the federal poverty guideline or less. That’s $32,490 for an individual, or $66,150 for a family of four. (according to a Washington post article on the issue: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/21/AR2010102106801_2.html )

Maryland Elections 2010: THE BIG BALLOT QUESTIONS

Friends — hope you find this useful for Tuesday’s election!!

THE BIG BALLOT QUESTIONS

Here’s a quick rundown of the FOUR questions you will see on your election ballot if you vote in Bethesda.  Question A is specific to Montgomery County Ballots. Questions 1-3 are statewide.  We’ve included a copy of the initiative as you will see it on the ballot along with a brief summary of the arguments “for” and “against”— as best we can decipher them and, we’ve included a few extra facts that might be handy.  Feel free to add your own comments.

The Four Questions Are:

  • Question A: Should there be an ambulance fee in Montgomery County?
  • Question 1: Should Maryland have a convention to change its constitution?
  • Question 2: Should jury trials be allowed only in civil cases when the amount in question is more than $15,000, instead of more than $10,000, the current minimum?
  • Question 3: Should Baltimore City’s orphans’ court judges be required to be lawyers?

Did you Vote?

Thanks to all the people who make voting happen!

Thanks to all the people who make voting happen. These are the two delightful ladies that met us this morning. But there are many others who took the time to be trained and then got up early today or will be working late tonight to make sure we get to vote.  THANKS from Bethesda Actually!