Reznik Report from District 39 – Are you familiar with the ballot questions?

October 19, 2022

There are 20 days until the General Election on November 8th I wanted to send out an email letting you know about the ballot questions you will see when you go to vote.

There are five (5) Statewide ballot questions, which, if passed, will all modify the State Constitution, and one (1) County Charter question.

Here is a description and how I am voting.

Question 1: Changes the name of Maryland’s Appellate Courts
Currently, Maryland State Appellate Courts are called the Court of Special Appeals (Intermediary Court) and Court of Appeals (Maryland’s Highest Court). Though traditional, this has proven confusing at times for people involved in litigation at those levels.

Under this Question, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals will be changed to the Appellate Court of Maryland and the Maryland Court of Appeals will be changed to the Supreme Court of Maryland. Also, the names of the judges sitting on our highest court will change from Judges to Justices.

I will be voting “Yes” on this question.

Question 2: Clarifies residency requirements for Senators and Delegates
This is a relatively minor change, but it requires that individuals running for the position of State Senator or State Delegate both reside in AND maintain as their primary place of abode within the District they are running for at least 6 months prior to the Election in which they are running.

This is mostly clarify and I will be voting “Yes” on this question.

Question 3: Minimal requirements for a jury trial
This question raises the threshold to a right to a jury trial in civil cases from $15,000 to $25,000. In cases under the new limit, a judge will continue to serve as both the trier of fact and law.

I will be voting “Yes” on this question.

Question 4: Legalization of recreational cannabis
This is the question people have heard the most about.

A yes vote would permit an individual who is at least 21 years old to use and possess cannabis recreationally, as compared to medical cannabis, which is already legal. This provision is subject to future licensing and taxation legislation by the Maryland General Assembly. This past year, we did pass an initial implementation bill that addresses some aspects of recreational cannabis including home grow, expunging prior records related to cannabis, and what levels of possession would be permissible. However, I also suspect we will revisit the implementation law for additional requirements and regulation.

I will be voting “Yes” on this question.

Question 5: Repeal of Howard County’s Orphans Courts
This question does not directly affect Montgomery County, but it is a requirement for all of Maryland to vote on it. Montgomery County, along with Harford County, have already repealed our orphans courts (better known as probate courts) long ago and folded into our Circuit Courts.

Orphans Court judges are elected and maintain no requirement to be lawyers or have any legal training. I believe that this is a legal institution whose time has passed and needs to be eliminated so that trained and educated judges can resolve matters of probate.

I will be voting “Yes” on this question.

Montgomery County Question A: Removal of County Attorney
This question clarifies who and how the Montgomery County Attorney (NOT the elected State’s Attorney) can be removed. Under this question either the County Executive, with affirmative approval of the County Council, or the County Council, with affirmative approval of the County Executive, can remove the County Attorney.

In other words, the County Attorney cannot be removed unless the County Executive and the majority of the County Council agree.

I will be voting “Yes” on this question.

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