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Bill to allow Orphans' Court judge to also practice law gains support; General Assembly approval is expected


Howard County's state legislative delegation voted yesterday to support legislation that would allow Sherae M. McNeal to keep her job as a private attorney while acting as a Howard County Orphans' Court judge.

All three Republican senators voted in favor of the bill, sponsored by Del. Frank S. Turner, a Democrat. Among delegates, the vote was split along party lines, with five Democrats voting in favor and three Republicans voting against the measure, Turner said.

"This will allow anybody in the future who practices law and [is] an attorney to also serve as a judge in the Orphans' Court," said Turner, who once served on the Orphans' Court.

McNeal won her seat in November but didn't learn until December that Orphans' Court judges, who earn $6,000 in annual salary, cannot practice law on the side.

Howard has three Orphans' Court judges who handle such estate matters as determining the authenticity of wills and resolving family disputes over assets.

The bill is expected to easily pass in the General Assembly because it was endorsed by the local delegation.

It would take effect July 1, Turner said.

Pub Date: 2/18/99

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