The Sun’s extensive coverage in recent weeks of an inappropriate relationship engaged in by 7th District congressional candidate Kweise Mfume over 15 years ago contrasts sharply with the most underreported story of the 2019 General Assembly: The action taken last April by fellow candidate, state Sen. Jill Carter, that killed H.B. 687, a bill that would have removed the statute of limitations on civil suits filed by victims of child sexual abuse (“Bill to lift limits on child sex abuse lawsuits in Maryland fails,” April 3, 2019).
Senator Carter, who campaigns as a progressive Democrat, sided with four of the most conservative Republicans in the Maryland Senate and cast the deciding vote against the bill in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Her vote deadlocked the committee at five votes in favor and five against. The deadlock prevented the bill from going before the full senate for approval; it takes a majority vote in favor of a bill by the committee to advance it to a vote by the entire senate.
The bill had breezed through the House of Delegates on a 135-3 vote, with only three Republicans voting against it. If Ms. Carter had voted in favor of the bill in committee it would have been approved by the committee on a 6-4 vote and undoubtedly voted into law by the full Senate.
The bill enjoyed widespread support among groups combating child sexual abuse. Needless to say, those supporters were stunned that the bill, strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, was killed by one of the senate’s most vocal advocates for social justice. Ms. Carter’s explanation: Her concern for the rights of the alleged abusers (“Progressive groups hope to rally voters to put state Sen. Jill P. Carter of Baltimore in Congress,” Jan. 29).
[Published as a letter to the editor by the Baltimore Sun on January 30, 2020, but not posted to my blog until August 25, 2020. The date of posting that appears above was backdated to place all posts in the order in which they were written.]