Bill Expanding The Definition Of A Family Member Before General Assembly

Another measure would require seizure training in public and private schools.


Annapolis, Md (KM) The definition of a family member would change if the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act is passed.

The legislation sponsored by Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr (D) would not just define family members as blood relatives. But it would also include a legal ward of an employee, a legal ward of an employee’s spouse, or the legal guardian of an employee’s spouse.

Kerr says this would allow individuals who are responsible for a non-blood relative to get time off from work to take care  of those people when they get sick. “We have a family in my district who care for an 81-year-old intellectually limited male whose not a family member. And they had some difficulty getting time off from work to care for him when he got cancer,” he says.

The family was given legal guardianship of this man by the courts, but could not use the Family Member Medical Leave Act to take time off from work to take care of this man following his cancer surgery, Kerr says..

A hearing was held on this bill on Tuesday before the House Economic Matters Committee.

Seizure Act

Kerr is also sponsoring Brynleigh’s Act, which would require public and private school systems to have at least two school employees who are trained in recognizing the symptoms of an epileptic seizure, and know how to administer first aid.

“Between 25,000 to 40,000 kids  are going to have their first seizure this year, and there’s a high likelihood that it will happen during the school day. And it’s really frightening for everyone involved,” he says. “And just a little bit of training and awareness can make this situation much less frightening for everyone.”

Kerr says this training is free and available on line to school employees from the Epilepsy Foundation. “Every year, they have mandatory professional development and this would be just a short on line course  that we would like them to take so they know what to do in case someone has a seizure,” he says.

A hearing on this bill  was held last week before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Kerr says the legislation is named for Brynleigh whose from Adamstown and has epilepsy due to brain tumors.



By Kevin McManus