Decision To Delay Vote On Truancy Bill Sparks Some Strong Emotions During Frederick County Delegation Meeting

A vote is expected to take place this coming Friday.

Frederick, Md (KM) It got a little testy at last Friday’s Frederick County Legislative Delegation Meeting. A majority of lawmakers agreed to hold off a final vote on a  bill to set up truancy reduction court to help slow the number of public school students who do not attend classes. Some lawmakers wanted to know about the cost.

The sponsor of the legislation, State Senator Karen Lewis Young, was not too happy that a vote was postponed until the next meeting. “I’m disappointed. I really am. All who  who block this: shame on you, and shame on those who are enabling this. .You’re not hurting me.   You’re hurting young people who need help,” she said.

Delegation Chair Jesse Pippy said “We’re holding a bill for you as well. We’re holding the card bill because you have questions as a courtesy to you,” he said.

“No, go ahead and vote it,” replied Senator Lewis Young.

If this truancy  bill is approved by the Delegation, it will go before the General Assembly for hearings and  a vote. Then it goes to the Governor for his signature.

The legislation would bring a truancy reduction court to Frederick County.  Such courts are designed to improve school attendance, supporters say, and have a positive affect on the young people and their families in their attitudes about education.   A court appointed case manager would determine the reasons for the student’s absences, navigate through school requirements, facilitate community and steer  students and their families to services.

These courts have been operating in Wicomico, Dorchester and Somerset Counties on the Lower Eastern Shore.

During Friday’s meeting, lawmakers were told that the money for this court would come from the judiciary’s  budget, and some grants.

Senator Lewis Young said a lot of information about this court is readily available. “Joanie Brubaker has been diligent about suppling information,” Lewis Young said. “There are pages, volumes answering all of your questions..

Joanie Brubaker is a court magistrate in Frederick County who was recently named a Circuit Court Judge.

Delegate Pippy noted that Senator Lewis Young has asked that a bill allowing the use of credits cards for some gambling activities which benefit local fire companies be put on hold. “The point is you have some questions, and we want you to have an opportunity to get those questions answered,”: he said. “It would be decent of you to give the courtesy to your colleagues that have questions about the other bill, respectively.”

Pippy said the truancy bill is not dead. “The truancy bill was not voted down. We’re just getting more information just like the other bill,” he said.

By Kevin McManus