Friday, February 21, 2014

Senator Jamie Raskin is Confused by His Own Bill

Senator Jamie Raskin has proposed a bill in the Maryland Senate that will change Maryland law to permit young teachers and coaches, aged 21-24, to have sexual contact with teenage students.  The current Person in Position of Authority - Sexual Offenses with a Minor law defines a person of authority as someone who is "at least 21 years old."  

Yet, Senator Raskin keeps using the example of a 20 year old coach as a reason for the new, even larger, loophole that he wants inserted into Maryland law.

Senator Raskin, have your read your own bill? Have you read Maryland law?

From today's Gazette story on Senator Raskin's bill we once again see the Senator using an example that has nothing to do with current law or his bill. 

...However, some lawmakers think prosecuting a 20-year-old coach in a relationship with a 17-year-old student, for example, is too harsh, Raskin said.
“A 20-year-old assistant track coach in a relationship with a 17-year-old student could still be grounds for firing or making sure that person never works in a school again,” Raskin said. “The question is when we should send that person to jail.”
His bill would prohibit sexual contact between a person of authority and a minor who is at least seven years younger...


  1. MACO opposes HB 157, a good government bill that would increase transparency and accountability by mandating agenda in advance of meetings (although we get meeting notice, sometimes we don't know what is going to happen as the Open Meetings Act is currently written. Please ask HGO Chairman Hammen to advance this welcome and reasonable bill by bringing it to a favorable vote: See

  2. To be logical or not to be ethical that is the question.

  3. Actually, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), and not MACO, opposes both HB 157 (Open Meetings Act - Advance Notice of Meeting - Agenda), which was heard before the HGO Committee on 01/29/13, and SB 847 (the cross-filed/companion bill), which was heard before the EHEA Committee on 02/20/14. Many groups support these bills including the ACLU, MD Nurses Association, MD League of Women Voters, MD Women's Coalition, and Sierra Club. Please take the time to urge the HGO & EHEA Committee chairs, Delegate Hammen & Senator Carter Conway, to advance HB 157 & SB 847, respectively, to a favorable vote in the interest of increased transparency & accountability. We need truly open meetings. Pasted below is the testimony for HB 157 from the MABE website. The testimony for SB 847 has not yet been posted.

    BILL: House Bill 157
    TITLE: Open Meetings Act – Advance Notice of Meeting – Agenda
    DATE: January 29, 2014
    COMMITTEE: Health and Government Operations Committee
    CONTACT: John R. Woolums, Esq.

    The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), representing all of the state's boards
    of education, opposes House Bill 157. The bill would impose an unnecessarily rigid requirement
    on public bodies, including boards of education, to produce detailed agendas in advance of not
    only open but also closed meetings.

    Currently, the Open Meetings Act allows boards of education to meet in closed session under
    limited and specific circumstances. Those circumstances involve confidential matters which, if
    made public, could inhibit the ability of the board to properly conduct its business. For example,
    current law allows a board of education to discuss personnel matters in closed session, as well
    as land acquisition, the parameters for collective bargaining, sensitive public security matters
    concerning student safety, contract negotiations, litigation strategies, and several other
    confidential matters necessary for the efficient operations of the public schools. The law
    recognizes that, if these discussions were to be made in open session, it would severely hamper
    the board’s ability to meet the needs of the public and to fulfill its obligations.

    The Open Meetings Act represents a comprehensive and carefully crafted balance between the
    board’s ability to conduct its business and the right of the public to know about it. For example,
    prior to closing a session, the board must publicly state the purpose of the closed meeting, must
    vote in open session to close the meeting, and must maintain minutes of the closed meeting. In
    addition, the minutes of the next open session must include a description of the topics discussed
    and actions taken in the closed session. In this way, the public is informed about the closed
    session, but at the same time the board is allowed to conduct its sensitive business in a
    confidential manner.

    House Bill 157 would unwisely disturb the balance struck in the Open Meetings Act by impeding
    the transition from open to closed meetings through a new requirement that a detailed agenda
    be produced in advance.

    For this reason, MABE requests an unfavorable report on House Bill 157.

  4. Replies
    1. MABE's (24 member boards of education including Montogomery) opposition to HB 157 & SB 847 (OMA - Advance Notice of Meeting - Agenda) is alarming. F. Scott Fitzgeral said that one should be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

  5. It's a classic example of a zero-sum game.


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