2018 MLAW Legislative Agenda – Final Report

Click here to download a PDF copy of the report: 2018 MLAW Agenda Final Report

HB 1/SB 2 • Family Law – Child Conceived Without Consent – Termination of Parental Rights (Rape Survivor Family Protection Act)
Primary Sponsors: Delegate Kathleen Dumais, Senator Brian Feldman
This legislation creates a legal process for rape victims to terminate the parental rights of rapists when a child is conceived as result of rape. Victims will be required to meet a clear and convincing standard of evidence. This is the same standard used for other termination of parental rights cases.
PASSED AND SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR ON FEBRUARY 13, 2018 (2018 Md. Laws, Chap. 3 and 4)

HB 301/SB 270 • Courts – Evidence of Sexually Assaultive Behavior – Admissibility (Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2018)
Primary Sponsors: Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, Senator Jim Brochin
This legislation enables prosecutors to introduce evidence of a defendant’s sex crimes and allegations of sex crimes against different victims, in addition to introducing this type of evidence in cases with the same victim (as established by the MD Judiciary). This legislation requires a thorough judicial review before the evidence can be used.
PASSED

HB 1303/SB 491 • Family Law – Domestic Violence – Permanent Protective Orders
Primary Sponsors: Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, Senator Delores Kelley
This legislation expands the circumstances under which a court is required to issue a permanent protective order by deleting the list of crimes for which the respondent must be convicted, sentenced and serve at least one year of the sentence and replacing the list of crimes with the words “any crime.” With this modification, a victim will not be limited to the specific crimes listed in the current law but will be able to petition for a final permanent protective order if the respondent has been convicted of any crime where the person eligible for relief has been the victim of a crime committed by the respondent.
PASSED 

HB 787/SB 629 • Correctional Facilities – Pregnant Inmates – Medical Care (Healthcare Services for Pregnant Inmates)
Primary Sponsors: Delegate Kathleen Dumais, Senator Delores Kelley
This legislation requires all state, local, and private detention and corrections facilities to have written policies regarding reproductive healthcare services for adult and juvenile pregnant inmates (including pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling, prenatal care, prenatal testing and counseling, access to abortion care, miscarriage management, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and adoption). These written policies will be provided to all adult and juvenile inmates and detainees with positive pregnancy test results.
PASSED

HB 1267/SB 869 • Criminal Procedure – Motion to Vacate Judgment – Human Trafficking (Expansion of Maryland’s Vacating Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking)
Primary Sponsors: Delegate Kathleen Dumais, Senator Susan Lee
The proposed change in the law would have expanded legal relief for survivors who experience criminalization tied to their trafficking victimization by applying Maryland’s current vacatur law explicitly to survivors of labor trafficking – not just sex trafficking – as well as expanding the number of crimes eligible for vacatur – not just convictions for prostitution.
No vote in House Judiciary or Senate Judicial Proceedings Committees.

HB 1109 • State Government – Discrimination in Employment – Pregnancy and Childbirth (Discrimination in Employment – Conditions)
Primary Sponsor: Delegate Maricé Morales
The legislation clarified that employers would be required to give reasonable accommodations to all pregnant employees with a medical need for an accommodation, not just employees who need accommodations as a result of pregnancy complications, and it would have ensured that a pregnant employee would not be forced to take paid or unpaid leave when a reasonable accommodation would have allowed her to continue to work and support her family.
No vote in House Judiciary Committee.

HB 512/SB 377 • Labor and Employment-Pay Scales and Wage History Information (Salary History and Information Disclosure)
Primary Sponsors: Delegate Karen Young, Senator Susan Lee
This legislation would have prevented employers from requiring past salary information as a condition of employment. Basing salary offers on past employment continues a discriminatory cycle and has no relevancy to the current position. Salary offers should be based in current position requirements as well as the skills and experience of the candidate.
Passed House with amendments; no vote in Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

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Job-Protected Leave
This legislation would have required firms with 15-49 employees to provide six weeks of job protected unpaid leave for qualifying employees. For employees needing leave for their serious illness or a family member’s serious illness, or a military deployment, they would receive 6 weeks of unpaid leave and maintain existing health benefits. Upon returning from their leave, their employer would have been required to restore them to the same position or an equivalent position.
Withdrawn.

MLAW’s Reception and Presentation of the 2018 Agenda – A Great Evening in Annapolis!

27788379_1594036247312295_4985306985475741188_oLast night, MLAW members, legislators and advocates from around the state gathered in Annapolis for an evening of food and sisterhood at our annual Legislative Reception and Briefing.

At the event, our 2018 Agenda was officially announced and presented to the legislature and attendees.  A copy of our 2018 Agenda Document can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here: MLAW 2018 Document

Nearly 200 participants enjoyed learning about the initiatives that MLAW will support this session, meeting with legislators and constituents and networking over delicious food.  Photos from the event are published on our Facebook page.  Please check them out and feel free to tag and share!

MLAW wishes to thank everyone who made this evening a success including Senator Roger Manno who sponsored our meeting space and Karen Wilder Events for her amazing catering.

Please make sure to follow us on Facebook and sign up for our legislative alerts so that you can take action on the bills that make up the 2018 Agenda.

 

Sign On to Support MLAW’s Agenda

In November, leaders of state-wide organizations and advocates addressing issues of concern to women of Maryland participated in a conference to identify potential legislative initiatives for the 2018 Maryland General Assembly.   Those initiatives then constituted a ballot which members of MLAW considered.  Members were asked to vote on the top initiatives for the MLAW Legislative Agenda 2018.

The MLAW Board of Directors reviewed the results of the balloting and identified issues that will comprise the 2018 MLAW Legislative Agenda.  The issues selected are listed below and described in more detail on our website.

HB1/SB2 Rape Survivor Family Protection Act

HB301/SB270 Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act

SB491/HB1303 Final Permanent Protective Orders

SB869/HB1267 Motion to Vacate Judgment – Human Trafficking

SB629/HB787 Pregnant Inmates – Medical Care

HB1109 Discrimination in Employment – Conditions

HB512/SB377 Pay Scales and Wage History Information

* Job-Protected Leave

The most powerful advocacy tool for the Agenda is your signature as a supporter.  Organizations and individuals are invited to sign on as a supporter of the 2018 Agenda.  We also encourage you to invite your friends and colleagues to sign on.  A list of supporters will be attached to the document before it is distributed to legislators and the public, as well as included on our website. The document will be released at our Legislative Reception and Briefing and will be distributed to all legislators.

Cooperative action is the basis upon which MLAW operates.  One voice is important but the collective voices of many impacts public policy and enables advocates and legislators to demonstrate concern and support for women’s issues.  Make your voice count for women and their families in the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly. 

To add your name to the list of supporters, complete this simple online form or simply email your name exactly as it should appear to mdlegagenda4women@yahoo.com.  If you would like to add multiple names of friends or colleagues who give you permission to add their names, please email them as well.  Spread the word and ask others to support this agenda.

 

MLAW’s 2018 Agenda is Set!

In November, leaders of state-wide organizations and advocates addressing issues of concern to women of Maryland participated in a conference to identify potential legislative initiatives for the 2018 Maryland General Assembly.   Those initiatives then constituted a ballot which members of MLAW considered.  Members were asked to identify what they believed were the top initiatives for the MLAW Legislative Agenda 2018.

The MLAW Board of Directors reviewed the results of the balloting and identified issues that will comprise the MLAW Legislative Agenda 2018.  The eight bills selected are listed below. 

Rape Survivor Family Protection Act (HB1/SB2)

Five percent (5%) of rape victims of reproductive age (age 12-45) became pregnant as a result of rape, with the majority of pregnancies in adolescents.   The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act would create a legal process for rape victims to terminate the parental rights of rapists when a child is conceived as result of rape. Victims would be required to meet a clear and convincing standard of evidence. This is the same standard used for other termination of parental rights cases – no more, no less.

Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act (HB301/SB270)

Maryland law strictly limits introduction of evidence of other sex crimes in sex assault and child molestation trials, making it extremely difficult to rebut false consent defenses or allegations that a child victim is lying. This legislation will enable prosecutors to introduce evidence of a defendant’s sex crimes and allegations of sex crimes against different victims, in addition to introducing this type of evidence in cases with the same victim (as established by the MD Judiciary). This legislation requires a thorough judicial review before the evidence can be used. The State must file a motion to introduce the evidence at least 90 days before trial. The Court must hold a closed door hearing to determine the admissibility of the evidence allowing the defense to challenge evidence’s admissibility. The Court must find that the evidence meets clear and convincing evidence standard. The Court may also consider factors related to similarities between evidence the State wishes to admit and the trial offense.

Final Permanent Protective Orders (SB491)

Current law requires that to obtain a final permanent protective order, the respondent must be convicted of certain crimes listed in the statute, sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment for at least 5 years that led to the issuance of the final protective order, and served at least 12 months of the sentence. The proposed legislation deletes the list of crimes for which the respondent must be convicted, sentenced and serve at least one year of the sentence and replaces the list of crimes with the words “any crime.”  With this modification, a victim will not be limited to the specific crimes listed in the current law, but will be able to petition for a final permanent protective order if the respondent has been convicted of any crime where the person eligible for relief has been the victim of a crime committed by the respondent.

Expansion of Maryland’s Vacating Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking are commonly arrested and convicted for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. In response to this injustice, Maryland became the second state in the county to pass a law allowing survivors of sex trafficking to vacate, or, set aside, their prostitution convictions. Since then, anti-trafficking advocates throughout the country have documented that survivors of trafficking are regularly charged with numerous offenses other than prostitution, and that labor trafficking survivors also experience criminalization tied to their victimization. In Maryland, however, access to this innovative form of legal relief remains limited only to survivors of sex trafficking who are convicted of prostitution. The proposed change in law will expand Maryland’s current vacatur law to apply explicitly to survivors of labor trafficking, as well as expand the number of crimes eligible for vacatur. Without these changes, Maryland’s vacatur law will continue to leave a large number of survivors without the legal relief they so desperately need to heal from the trauma of their exploitation and become productive members of their communities.

Healthcare Services for Pregnant Inmates

This bill would require all state, local, and private detention and corrections facilities to have written policies regarding healthcare services for adult and juvenile pregnant inmates. The legislation would leave the authority to determine and write the policies up to the state, county, or private facility, but would require that the policies address specific subjects (this list is still in development and may change): pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling, prenatal care, prenatal testing and counseling, access to abortion care, miscarriage management, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. In addition, it would require all state, local, and private detention and corrections facilities to provide these written policies to all adult and juvenile inmates and detainees with positive pregnancy test results.

Discrimination in Employment – Conditions

The bill clarifies that employers are required to give reasonable accommodations to all pregnant employees with a medical need for an accommodation, not just employees who need accommodations as a result of pregnancy complications, and it ensures that a pregnant employee won’t be forced to take paid or unpaid leave when a reasonable accommodation would allow her to continue to work and support her family.

Salary History and Information Disclosure (HB512/SB377)

Women and minorities are typically isolated in lower paying professions. Therefore, basing salary offers on past employment continues a discriminatory cycle. Also, past employment pay have no relevancy to the current position.  Salary offers should be based in current position requirements as well as the skills and experience of the candidate.  This bill prevent employers from requiring past salary information as a condition of employment.

 Job-Protected Leave

This legislation will require firms with 15-49 employees to provide six weeks of job protected unpaid leave for qualifying employees. For employees needing leave for their serious illness or a family member’s serious illness, or a military deployment, they will receive 6 weeks of unpaid leave and maintain existing health benefits. Upon returning from their leave, their employer must restore them to the same position or an equivalent position.

 

2018 Fall Conference Proposals

At our Fall Agenda Conference, nineteen proposals were presented for consideration for the 2018 Legislative Agenda.  Those issues are as follows.  More information about each proposal can be viewed by downloading the conference packet here.  MLAW 2018 Proposals

Rape Survivor Family Protection Act

Family Life and Human Sexuality Curriculum, Consent

Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act

Final Permanent Protective Order Criminal Violation of Conditions of Release 

Domestic Violence—Education and Definition of Abuse

Hate Crimes—Civil Remedy

Expansion of Maryland’s Vacating Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking

Healthcare Services for Pregnant Inmates Discrimination in Employment —Conditions Related to Pregnancy or Child Birth

Family Law—Age of Majority Jurisdiction

Same Sex Couples—Marital Presumption

Salary History and Information Disclosure

Job-Protected Leave Expanding Maryland’s Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

Women on Corporate Boards (Joint Resolution)

Increasing Maryland’s Competitiveness through Gender Diversity in Board Rooms (Joint Resolution)

The Maryland Cares for Kids Act

Gender Equity in Auto Insurance