Last year, Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment to require that, for the city of Baltimore only, Orphans’ Court judges be attorneys (HB 417 of 2010). The effort to expand the use of attorney-judges has resulted in four additional bills introduced this year.
HB 930 and HB 1165 would require Orphans’ Court judges in Baltimore County (which is different and distinct from the independent city of Baltimore) be attorneys. Interestingly, while HB 930 is in the House Judiciary Committee, while HB 1165 is in the House Rules Committee.
On the Senate side, SB 832, which was limited to Baltimore County only, was withdrawn by its sponsor on March 21. Instead, SB 281, which includes Baltimore and Prince George’s counties was approved unanimously by the Senate on March 8 and is set for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee March 30.