Maryland voters will decide the outcome of seven ballot questions in November.


Question 1 — All Maryland voters will decide whether the judges in Prince George’s County who oversee estate and will disputes must be admitted to the Maryland Bar. Baltimore City and Montgomery and Harford counties currently require this.

Supporters say the measure will professionalize the so-called “Orphan’s Court” which oversees estate disputes.

Opponents are concerned that the change will lead to a statewide requirement that Orphan’s Court judges be attorneys, which they believe is unnecessary.

 

Question 2 - All Maryland voters will decide whether the judges in Baltimore County who oversee estate and will disputes must be admitted to the Maryland Bar. Baltimore City and Montgomery and Harford counties currently require this.

Supporters say the measure will professionalize the so-called “Orphan’s Court” which oversees estate disputes.

Opponents are concerned that the change will lead to a statewide requirement that Orphan’s Court judges be attorneys, which they believe is unnecessary.

 

Question 3 — Voters will decide if the Maryland Constitution should be changed so that a lawmaker, such as a mayor, county council person or state legislator, would be suspended from office immediately after being found guilty of a felony or crime of moral turpitude. Currently an official must step down only after sentencing — which can be many months later. Lawmakers who plead guilty of such crimes would be immediately removed from office.

The change was prompted in part by controversy surrounding Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson, who flushed a check for $100,000 when federal agents came to her home. After pleading guilty to a corruption charge, a loophole allowed her to continue in office until sentencing, drawing a salary.

A similar circumstance arose after a jury found former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon guilty of theft in December 2010. She remained in office until early February 2011, when she resigned as part of a plea deal.

The suggested change to the state Constitution passed both the House and Senate unanimously.
 

Question 4 — Voters will determine whether to uphold a state law that would allow some illegal immigrants to pay lower, in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities. To qualify, a student would have to attend three years at a Maryland high school and graduate from it (or earn a GED.) Also, the student’s parents would have to show they’ve filed state tax returns during those three years. The law is known as the Dream Act.

Supporters say it is unfair to deny children the opportunities that come with higher education because of sins their parents committed in coming to the country illegally. They say the requirements are strict and only a few hundred immigrants would qualify each year.

Opponents say the change would reward law-breaking behavior and would draw more illegal immigrants to the state. They also balk at the $3.5 million annual price tag, saying the state should not extend new services while cutting other programs.

 

Question 5 — Voters will decide whether to uphold the state law that redrew the boundaries of Maryland’s eight congressional districts. Judges have said the map is gerrymandered, but legal.

Supporters say the map meets legal requirements. They note that Maryland is an odd shaped state, which they say makes it difficult to draw districts that are more standard.