Shocker: Vallarrio’s House Judiciary Committee is Rude
From Today’s Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore’s top law enforcement officials accused a key House of Delegates committee yesterday of disrespecting them and killing a slate of bills that they thought would help control crime in the city.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and top police officials have long grumbled that the House Judiciary Committee is too dominated by defense attorneys, and yesterday those frustrations bubbled to the surface in a meeting of the city’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said city officials were “treated pretty rudely” during the most recent legislative session, and City Solicitor George A. Nilson suggested maintaining and sharing a log of House Judiciary Committee members’ voting records on bills proposed by law enforcement officials. He also suggested appealing to House Speaker Michael E. Busch to change the committee’s makeup.
And the Sun is just now discovering this? Wow they picked up on this about as fast as the Kudner Farms land deal and the Hilltop scandal. Perhaps they were too busy editing their editorial/O’Malley press release from last Sunday.
The frustration this year appears to stem from a shouting match Jessamy and delegates from Cecil County and Western Maryland got into over Dixon’s proposal to require people who have lost their guns to report the disappearance.
According to Delegate Curt Anderson of Baltimore city :
“A delegate from Western Maryland said, ‘We all know that Baltimore City is the murder capital of the United States. Most of this stuff is going on in Baltimore City. Why should we have to be under the same laws in Hagerstown?”
I’m not going to debate the merits or demerits of Baltimore city’s proposals. However, as impolitic as the Western Maryland delegate’s comments may have been–and we need to remember they may not be accurate given the shifty nature of the source— they are not too far off the mark, even with Commissioner Bealefeld’s recent success.
Until Jessamy and the rest of the Baltimore criminal justice establishment can change the system from the revolving door that it is into something that actually dispenses justice; then they should expect to continue to receive blunt expressions of reality from the representatives of state taxpayers outside Baltimore, who disproportionately fund city operations.
The open secret in Annapolis is that nothing gets out of Joe Vallarrio’s desk drawer that he, the tort lobby, or the Democratic leadership don’t want out of committee. It literally took an O’Reilly Factor camera crew to get Jessica’s Law out of his committee. I can personally attest to Vallarrio’s outright callousness, among other committee members to the testimony of my wife and other survivors of child sexual abuse on behalf of Jessica’s Law.
If you thought advocating for stricter penalties against child predators before the House Judiciary Committee was tough, heaven forbid you are an opponent of illegal immigration. Testifying before Vallarrio’s committee for that cause earns you accusations of racism from Delegate Victor Ramirez, who labels policy positions opposite his, as “preaching hate.”
One thing is for sure, the makeup of the House Judiciary Committee needs to be changed, just don’t expect Mike Busch to do it.