2020 General Assembly Wrap Up

Click here to download a PDF of the 2020 Report: MLAW 2020 Legislative Agenda Final Report

BILLS THAT PASSED

HB 4/SB 208 ▪ Public Safety – Rifles and Shotguns – Sales, Rentals, and Transfers This legislation closes a loophole in Maryland law to require a background check on all gun sales (including unlicensed sellers online or at gun shows). This bill would keep rifles and shotguns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories, including domestic abusers, convicted felons, and subjects of red flag laws. PASSED – VETOED by Governor

HB 123/SB 217 ▪ Labor and Employment – Wage History and Wage Range  This legislation prohibits employers from seeking and relying on job applicants’ salary history and requiring employers to provide the salary range for a position upon the applicant’s request. It would ensure that women and people of color aren’t forced to carry lower earnings and pay discrimination with them from job to job. PASSED – sent to Governor

HB 233/SB 212 ▪ Criminal Law – Assault in the First Degree – Strangulation This legislation classifies intentional strangulation as Assault in the First Degree. Non-fatal strangulation is one of the most significant risk factors for femicide. Prior non-fatal strangulation is associated with a 6-fold increase in attempted homicide and a 7-fold increase in completed homicide. PASSED – sent to Governor

HB 242/SB 206 ▪ Criminal Procedure – Motion to Vacate Judgment – Human Trafficking (True Freedom Act of 2020)  This legislation allows survivors of human trafficking to remove crimes other than prostitution from their criminal records, increasing the ability of these survivors to access employment and stable housing as well as heal from the trauma of their trafficking experience. Under current law, only prostitution convictions were eligible for vacatur, even though survivors are often forced to commit other crimes. PASSED – sent to Governor

HB 246/SB 231 ▪ Sexual Solicitation of a Minor – Solicitation Through Parent, Guardian, or Custodian – Prohibition and Penalties  This legislation expands the definition of sexual solicitation of a minor to include the solicitation of the parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a minor, or a hypothetical minor. This legislation closes a loophole to deter and prosecute the attempted sexual solicitation of a minor. PASSED – sent to Governor 

HB 248/SB 210 ▪ Protective Orders – Relief Eligibility – Rape and Sexual Offenses This legislation clarifies that a victim of a rape or sexual offense, or attempted rape or sexual offense is eligible for a protective order rather than a peace order. Despite a change in the law in 2015 moving dating relationships from the peace order to the protective order, some judges did not believe that a victim qualified, even though there was sexual contact, because the parties were not in a “relationship.” This legislation ensures that victims are eligible for the more extensive protections of a protective order. PASSED – sent to Governor  

HB 608/SB 682 ▪ Correctional Services – Prerelease Unit for Women – Requirement to Operate

SB 684 ▪ Correctional Services – Prerelease Unit for Women – Facilities and Services (Gender-Responsive Prerelease Act) This legislation establishes a pre-release center for women with re-entry services such as family reunification, employment, housing, and addictions counseling. While there are many pre-release centers for incarcerated men, there are ZERO pre-release centers for women in Maryland. No action was taken on HB 608/SB 682. However, SB 684 ▪ Correctional Services – Prerelease Unit for Women – Facilities and Services (Gender-Responsive Prerelease Act) PASSED. It authorizes the operation of a separate prerelease facility for female inmates.  VETOED BY GOVERNOR.

BILLS THAT DID NOT PASS

HB 590/SB 230 ▪ Criminal Law – Sexual Crimes – Repeal Spousal Defense  This bill would have repealed the law allowing marriage as a defense to sex crimes. Currently spouses can only be prosecuted for any sex crime if they have a limited divorce, have lived separated and apart for three months or have a written separation agreement, or if rape involved actual force or threat of force. For other sex crimes, marriage is a complete defense. Passed House, sent to Senate. No action in Senate

HB 839/SB 539 ▪ Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment This bill would have established a family and medical leave insurance fund to provide partial wage replacement for employees who take leave to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, their own serious health condition, or a family member’s military deployment. It would have allowed employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave under certain circumstances. This program mirrors those in 8 other states and D.C. as well as building on MD law that established a parental leave benefit for state employees in 2018. No action