Bill would eliminate children's veto powerChildren should...


March 05, 1995

Bill would eliminate children's veto power

Children should not be able to quash the Juvenile Services informal adjustment process simply by refusing to attend a meeting, Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

The Taylorsville Republican has submitted a bill that would not require consent by a child accused of an infraction if a Juvenile Services intake officer sets up a meeting between parties involved rather than formally charging the youngster.

Informal adjustments are most often used to address misdemeanors or to get disruptive students into treatment programs, Mr. Ferguson said.

"This removes that veto power from the child," he said. "It allows the parent to have proper authority over the child."

For example, an intake officer might decide that instead of charging a child who broke a window, it would be better to meet with the parents and the person whose window was broken to arrange restitution.

Under current law, if the child refuses to attend the meeting, it cannot take place.

Informal adjustments also are used to get disruptive students into treatment programs, he said.

Worcester County's Board of Education supported the bill.

"We feel very strongly that parents should have and exert control over their children," Willie C. Jackson, Worcester County's supervisor of pupil personnel, said in a written statement.

Bill would relieve council of debt liability

Del. Richard N. Dixon's bill to clarify that the current Baltimore Metropolitan Council is not responsible for the debts of its predecessor passed the House of Delegates Thursday by a 136-0 vote.

There are 141 members in the House of Delegates.

The bill arose out of a disagreement between the council and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, which claimed that the group owes the agency about $650,000 to help make up a shortfall in contributions to the system from before 1992.

The council, which was formed from the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments in 1992, says the legislation that created it absolved the nonprofit group of such debts.

The council -- which covers Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and Baltimore City -- is a regional planning group that shares information to solve common problems and puts out joint bids for some services.

Each of the jurisdictions financially supports the council when they pay for specific services. The council receives no state funds.

House OKs bill on HMO reimbursements

A proposal that would require bankrupt health maintenance organizations to pay claims of health care providers immediately after reimbursing members passed the House of Delegates Thursday by a 138-0 vote.

"The next in line should be the health care providers who are caught with unpaid bills," said Del. Donald B. Elliott, the New Windsor Republican who submitted the bill.

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