Benjamin S. Barnes

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Benjamin S. Barnes
Benjamin S. Barnes (2007).jpg
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the 21st district
Assumed office
January 10, 2007
Preceded by Paulene Menes
Personal details
Born (1975-03-30) March 30, 1975 (age 41)
Peoria, Illinois, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Married
Children 1 son
Residence College Park, Maryland, U.S.
Occupation attorney

Benjamin S. Barnes (born March 30, 1975) is an American politician who represents District 21 in the Maryland House of Delegates.[1] First elected in 2006, Barnes was reelected in 2010 and 2014.[2]


Ben grew up in Prince George's County and graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in 1993 and then attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he got his B.A. in economics & political science in 1998. Barnes later graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law with a J.D. in 2003 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2004.[3] Ben served as a political and legislative advisor to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. He is currently an attorney with the firm Hall, Butler, Macleay, Barnes & Maloney, based in Bowie, MD.

In the legislature[edit]

Delegate Barnes was a member of the House Judiciary Committee and its civil law subcommittee, and currently serves in the House Economic Matters Committee. He is also a member of the Special task force on Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Deputy Majority Whip.

Legislative notes[edit]

  • voted for the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007 (HB359)[4]
  • voted in favor of the Tax Reform Act of 2007(HB2)[5]
  • primary sponsor for Access to Public Records - Permissible Denials - Public Institutions of Higher Education in 2007 (HB289)[6]
  • primary sponsor for Maryland House Bill #1055 (HB1055) that would permit Gay Marriage in the State of Maryland[7]
  • primary sponsor for legislaton removing guns from domestic abusers[citation needed]
  • primary sponsor of Legislation giving judges the authority to order domestic abusers to wear GPS units alerting victims and police if the abusers comes around the victim[citation needed]

Lieutenant Governor's response to vote against HB 700[edit]

In response to certain criticisms of Ben Barnes, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown wrote a letter to the Laurel Leader (a local newspaper in Laurel, Maryland) defending Barnes' record on domestic violence legislation. Here is a paragraph from that letter:

"Del. Ben Barnes has been a strong champion and advocate on behalf of victims of domestic abuse. A simple review of his legislative record clearly shows his commitment to rooting out such violence. Too many Marylanders personally know what domestic violence looks like and Governor O'Malley and I will continue to work with members of the General Assembly, like Delegate Barnes, stakeholders, advocates and public safety professionals to end domestic violence in our communities."[8]

Brown is also the O'Malley-Brown administration's point person on domestic violence policy issues.

Vote against HB 700[edit]

During the recently completed 2010 legislative session, Barnes was among more than a dozen representatives who voted down HB700. The bill would have made it easier for domestic violence victims to get protective orders.[9] Women's groups throughout Maryland protested the decision. Maryland HB 700 sought to alter the standard of proof for issuing a final protective order from clear and convincing evidence to a preponderance of the evidence.

If the bill had passed, a judge could have found, from the preponderance of the evidence, that the alleged abuse occurred. The judge could then have granted a final protective order for relief from abuse to any eligible person. With this, Maryland continues to be the only state in the US to require this standard for issuance of protective orders.[10]


Barnes, along with his fellow District 21 Delegates, voted for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in 2007 (HB6)[11]

In the Democratic Party[edit]

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barnes was elected and served as a pledged delegate for Hillary Clinton to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.[12][13][14]