2023 Legislative Agenda Final Report


HB705/SB798Declaration of Rights – Rights to Reproductive Freedom

Sponsors:  House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Senate President Bill Ferguson

This legislation authorizes a ballot measure (constitutional amendment) to enshrine the fundamental right to reproductive freedom in Maryland Constitution, including decisions related to preventing, continuing, or terminating a pregnancy.

HB808/SB859 – Reproductive Health Protection Act

Sponsors:  Delegates Nicole Williams and Terri Hill, Senator Will Smith

This legislation creates protection for pregnant individuals seeking abortion care as well as health care providers, support organizations, and volunteers from civil, criminal and administrative liability.

HB477/SB341– Public Senior Higher Education Institutions – Reproductive Health Services Plans – Requirements

Sponsors:  Delegates Ariana Kelly and Stephanie Smith, Senator Brian Feldman

Under this legislation, public 4-year colleges and universities will be required to provide 24-hour access to over-the-counter contraception (emergency contraception and medicated abortion) on campus through student health centers, retail outlets on campus, and/or vending machines; provide or refer a full range of reproductive services; and, submit a plan.  [This bill does not cover private colleges and universities or high schools]

HB4/SB129 – Criminal Law – Sexual Crimes – Repeal of Spousal Defense

Sponsors:  Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield, Senators Ariana Kelly and Pam Beidle

This legislation repeals the current statute that makes marriage a defense to some sex crimes.  Currently, spouses can be prosecuted for any sex crime only ifthey have a limited divorce, and some sex crimes if they have been separated for 3 months or have a written separation agreement.  This legislation repeals the prohibition on prosecuting a person for rape or certain sexual offenses against the person’s legal spouse at the time of the alleged rape or sexual offense.  Marriage will no longer be a defense against rape or sexual crimes.

HB297/SB292 – Criminal Law – Victims of Child Sex Trafficking and Human Trafficking – Safe Harbor and Service Response

Sponsors: Delegate Sandy Bartlett, Senator Jeff Waldstreicher

This legislation provides a safe harbor for child victims of sex trafficking and prevent prosecution for acts committed as a result of their trafficking, including prostitution and other related offenses.  It would prevent the criminalizing of children and divert youth into services (now available statewide).

HB495/SB350 – Early Childhood Development – Child Care Scholarship Program – Alterations

Sponsors:  Delegate Jared Solomon, Senator Nancy King

This legislation, as amended, prohibits the State Department of Education from increasing the copayment levels, reducing the reimbursement rates, reducing the income eligibility requirements, or implementing an enrollment freeze for the Child Care Scholarship Program in effect as of January 1, 2023, unless certain conditions are met. 

HB3/SB185 – The Maryland State Police Gun Center – Firearms Surrendered Under Final Protective Orders

Sponsors: Delegate Sandy Bartlett, Senator Pam Beidle

This legislation expands the role of Maryland State Police Gun Center (which tracks firearm crimes in Maryland) to include collecting and tracking data on guns surrendered under a final protective order (required in federal and state law).  It requires local law enforcement agencies to report to the Gun Center.


HB___/SB___ – Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act (CCEJ)

This bill would have charged fossil fuel companies (heat and gas) a fee for damages and use the revenue from the fee to create two funds:  1) protect low- and moderate-income households and businesses; 2) help county and municipal governments to develop local Climate Action Plans (including clean energy infrastructure).

This bill was WITHDRAWN this year.  It will be reintroduced next year.

Join Us at Our 2023 Legislative Briefing!

MLAW’s Annual Legislative Briefing will be held online on Wednesday, February 1st at 5pm. Please join us as we announce our 2023 Legislative Agenda. Hear from legislators and advocates who will present each of the bills on the 2023 Agenda and explain how they will impact Maryland women and families. You will hear what you can do to help pass these bills and become involved in the legislative process. Your voice in Annapolis is needed

This year’s briefing will be virtual and hosted on Zoom. There is no charge to attend the briefing, but you must register in order to receive the link to the briefing.  

We invite you or your organization to co-sponsor the briefing. Your sponsorship supports our legislative efforts in Annapolis. Sponsorship includes your logo displayed in the published Agenda, on our website and our Facebook page, and recognition during the online briefing. Click here to co-sponsor (sponsor option is located in “Tickets”). 

Questions? Contact us at mdlegagenda4women@yahoo.com. We hope to see you at the virtual briefing on February 1st!

Thank you 2023 Briefing Sponsors!

Thank you to the following organizations and individuals for supporting our 2023 Legislative Briefing:

AAUW Maryland
Anne Arundel County NOW
Black Women for Positive Change, Baltimore Chapter
Charles County Commission for Women
Child Justice
Clinton African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Faith & Social Justice Ministry
DABS Consulting, LLC
Delegate Nicole Williams
Diana Philip
Emerge Maryland
For All Seasons
Ginger Robinson, JD
If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice at University of Baltimore School of Law
Judith Vaughn Prather
Karen Ware
Lisae C Jordan
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Maryland Commission for Women
Maryland Family Network
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
Maryland NOW
Melissa Curtin Coaching
Montgomery County Commission for Women
Montgomery County NOW
Planned Parenthood of Maryland
Prince George’s County Alumni Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc Social Action Committee
ProChoice Maryland
Stella’s Girls, Incorporated
Tahira Mussarat Hussain
Turnaround Inc.
Wandra Ashley-Williams
Women’s Equity Center and Action Network (WE CAN)
Women’s Law Center of Maryland
Zonta Club of Annapolis
Zonta Club of Mid-Maryland

MLAW Sets Our 2023 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 2023 Maryland General Assembly. Fifteen bills were presented at the conference for consideration. A ballot was sent to MLAW members who voted on the top priorities which will make up our official 2023 Legislative Agenda.   As we prepare for the start of the 2023 session of the Maryland General Assembly, we are thrilled to announce the bills that will comprise MLAW’s 2023 Legislative Agenda. The issues selected are listed below and described in more detail here. The eight bills selected are: One of the most powerful advocacy tools for the Agenda is your signature as a supporter. Organizations and individuals are invited to sign on as a supporter of the 2023 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 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 2023 session of the Maryland General Assembly. To add your name to the list of supporters, complete this simple online form. 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. You do not need to be a member of MLAW to add your name.  

Thank You for Attending MLAW’s Fall Conference! Wrap Up and Next Steps

Thank you!  Many thanks for attending MLAW’s Fall Agenda Conference on Saturday. It was so great to see you all in person after two years of Zoom. It was truly a busy, yet productive day and we are excited that so many of you joined us.  We would like to know what you thought of the conference so please take a minute to complete a short survey

Photos from the event are posted on our Facebook page with more being added.  You can view them in our 2022 Conference Album.  Please feel free to tag yourself or friends and share on your wall. 

Thank you to the advocates and legislators who presented their legislative proposals for the upcoming 2023 session of the Maryland General Assembly. Fifteen bills in all were presented.  Of these bills, 6-8 will make up MLAW’s 2023 Agenda.

Many thanks to our local elected officials who took time from their busy schedules to join our conference: Senator Susan Lee, Delegate Ariana Kelly, Delegate Terri Hill, Delegate Bonnie Cullison, Delegate Sandy Bartlett, Delegate Pam Queen, Delegate Shaneka Henson, Delegate Lesley Lopez, Delegate Nicole Williams, Delegate-Elect Pam Guzzone, and Delegate-elect Karen Simpson.

We are in the process of preparing a ballot to all MLAW members in good standing to vote on the issues that were presented at the conference.  Not all initiatives will be included in the 2023 Agenda; in fact, we will select only 6-8 from the 15 submitted.  Your voice in this process is important!  If you are not a current member of MLAW, please join or renew your membership today so that you can vote on the issues important to you and which you think should comprise the Agenda.  A membership form is on our website. Ballots will be sent on a rolling basis until the voting deadline.

To read about the issues that were presented at the conference, you can view or download the proposal packet on our website.

If you would like to add your name in support of the 2023 Agenda, and have your name listed in our Agenda Document, please complete this very simple form.

Finally, if you are not on our email listserv, please join! We communicate exclusively through email so it is important to be on MLAW’s list.  During the session, you will receive important legislative alerts that require your action.  You will also receive news and information about our events, like our upcoming Legislative Briefing, date TBA.  To join our email list, simply send an email to us at mdlegagenda4women@yahoo.com and ask to be added.

Thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible!  Without them, the conference would not be possible. Download our beautiful program booklet here.

Thank you again for your participation on Saturday. We look forward to working with you during the legislation session to pass the laws that will improve the lives of Maryland’s women and families!

MLAW Board of Directors

Thank You, Fall Conference Sponsors!

Platinum Sponsors
Compassion and Choices
For All Seasons
Maryland Commission for Women
Maryland NOW
Planned Parenthood Maryland

Gold Sponsors
City of College Park
Delegate Pam Queen
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence

Silver Sponsors
AAUW Maryland
Allegany County Women’s Action Coalition
Delegate Heather Bagnall
Delegate Bonnie Cullison
Delegate Nicole Williams
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Potomac Valley Alumnae Chapter
Emerge Maryland
Frederick County Commission for Women
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Montgomery County Commission for Women
Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club
Prince George’s County Commission for Women
Tahira Hussain
Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Prince George’s County Chapter
Women’s Law Center of Maryland

Bronze Sponsors
Baltimore County Commission for Women
Business and Professional Women of Maryland
Calvert County Commission for Women
Christol Hair
Michaele Cohen
Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter
Wendy Frosh
Susan Horst
Elizabeth Joyce
Maryland Health Care for All
Melissa Curtin Coaching + Consulting
Montgomery County NOW
The Old Line Project
Joan Stine
Whitfield Legal
Zonta Club of Annapolis