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Protective order bill clears House with unanimous vote


ANNAPOLIS — A bill that would make it easier for abuse victims to obtain protective orders cleared the House of Delegates with a unanimous vote on Thursday.

In a news conference after the vote, Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery, vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said legislators want to balance victims’ rights with due process. But Maryland is the only state where victims must provide clear and convincing evidence of abuse to get long-term protective orders, Dumais said.

This bill would lower the burden of proof to a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it’s more likely than not that a protective order is warranted.

It is the same standard followed in medical malpractice, child custody and personal injury cases, Dumais said.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration requested this bill.