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Maryland lawmakers reprimand delegate for bullying

Delegate Jay Jalisi absent during rebuke
Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-28 07:37:09-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — His seat remained empty for a third day, no votes to be registered next to his name.

Delegate Jay Jalisi (D-Baltimore County) did not show up to face the music from his peers, but it didn't keep them from sounding off on his deplorable behavior towards his staff and others.

"I move the adoption to pass Simple Resolution 2, adopting the report of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics and ordering the reprimand of Delegate Jay Jalisi," announced Del. Sandy Rosenberg (D-Baltimore City).

In closed sessions, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics conducted 38 interviews, took sworn testimony from 18 people and 17 additional witnesses, outlining five years worth of verbal abuse in toxic encounters with Jalisi.

While the Baltimore County delegate has issued a statement claiming he's "the target of a nasty smear campaign and a sham investigation", allegations suggest otherwise, including a recent account of a person who claims he called this "stupid" and "incompetent"---even demanding that the victim of his bullying keep repeating the phrase "I am incompetent".

Faced with a member who ignored the house speaker’s call to seek out anger management and workplace civility training, delegates took action against one of their own---with 136 of them voting unanimously to formally reprimand him.

"I believe the Ethics Committee did a very full investigation,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Harford & Baltimore Counties), “It is never taken lightly. Reprimanding a legislator is a very difficult decision and is done only judiciously. It's unfortunate we had to take that action today, but it was the right thing to do."

Jalisi had never apologized for, or acknowledged, any of the bullying, and unless he participates in programs to address his misbehavior before next year's legislative session, he stands to lose his committee assignments.