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Saturday, June 19, 2010


Maryland Legislation Helps Families

On May 20, 2010, Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB309 and HB659 popularly known as Loretta’s Law the new law is entitled the Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act. The new law repeals some portions of our current law and adds new language modeled after the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Applying the African proverb, “It Takes A Village” to this law’s journey through the Maryland General Assembly gives new meaning to the saying because it is not being used to describe raising children, instead it is being used to describe the process used to pass a law that helps to protect the elderly and disabled from abuse.

Each year that Loretta’s Law was introduced and defeated in the General Assembly, the “village” grew and worked together to come back in the next legislative session. The “village” learned the value of building coalitions, listening to opposing views and most importantly of compromising. So in the end, the law that was passed was not the pristine law that was originally proposed but does reflects the desire to hold agents accountable for their actions; provide a statutory form power of attorney and allow principles and interested persons access to the Maryland court system.

Led by Senator Delores Kelley and Delegate Kathleen Dumais, groups as diverse as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, United Seniors of Maryland, AARP, the Maryland Bankers Association, and the Prince George’s County Aging Advisory Committee joined with distinquished law professors, the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, and the Elder Law and Estates and Trusts sections of the Maryland State Bar Association to provide written and oral testimony as well as expert testimony. Perhaps the proverb, “it takes a village” is not turned on its head when applied to Loretta’s Law. Instead, it demonstrates that adult children raised by a village will make every effort to care for the elderly in the village.