Dear Speaker of the House of Delegates...

Here is the actual letter sent by Sue Kullen, President of the Women Legislators of Maryland to Michael Busch, the Speaker of Maryland's House of Delegates, this past spring, discussing the House Judiciary Committee. Why should a letter like this have to be written? If you've followed the behavior of some on the House Judiciary Committee, much which is documented in posts on this blog, one has to wonder why these offenders should be allowed to continue in their positions. Think seriously about letting them continue working for YOU if they are your delegate.

Not all on the House Judiciary Committee are problematic...there are a few very good delegates on the committee. Start with the list of delegates that voted to kill HB 700 listed on the right is the pompous behavior of some of these people that keep Maryland a dangerous place for women and children. Baltimore leads the nation in the number of rape cases deemed "unfounded," many before even being investigated. Maryland is the only state in the United States that does not allow protective orders based upon the preponderance of the evidence, but only on "clear and convincing" evidence. Not very comforting to many families who have lost loved ones because protective orders were denied. The macho culture of some on the Committee (yes, even from some female delegates) have sought to seemingly bully those who come and try to change things for the better for the women and children of Maryland.

March 11, 2010

The Honorable Michael E. Busch

Speaker of the House of Delegates

State House

Annapolis, Maryland

Speaker Busch,

The Women Legislators of Maryland met recently and discussed issues and negative publicity surfacing from the ongoing actions and perceived culture of the Judiciary Committee. We are a self policing body so individual legislators in our caucus will continue to talk to our colleagues on Judiciary to personally address issues of concern. However, the combination of recent issues has ramped up our concern so we are writing to you to ask for your assistance in the matter.

We are concerned for the House body that the Judiciary Committee continues to be seen as disrespectful to some citizens who come before their committee to share their perspectives on proposed legislation. We shared stories involving disrespect of law enforcement officers from around the State, victims, advocates, and fellow colleagues. The questions from certain members of the Judiciary Committee appear to be more of a ‘cross-examining-gotcha style’ rather than respectful, information gathering questions. This is not to say that probing questions should not be asked. But the tone and style of some members of the Committee have been called sarcastic, rude and insulting, which is inappropriate. There were also questions about time management in the committee that can be perceived as a lack of respect shown to members of the public who wait for hours - sometimes unnecessarily. Obviously, we recognize that it is not always possible to accommodate the schedule of all witnesses given the number of bills being heard on any given day. But, this is a concern that was raised by several members of our Caucus.

The behavior of a few members of this body reflects badly on the entire body of the House of Delegates. We want to be seen as nothing less than respectful to the public.

We would appreciate anything that you can do.


Sue Kullen

President, Women Legislators of Maryland

cc. Chairman Joseph Vallario

Members of the Women’s Caucus