We oppose all racism, racial injustice and discrimination, and we condemn the racist violence and hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that has significantly increased over the last year. We stand in solidarity with our AAPI community in opposing all forms of bias, harassment, discrimination, and violence that have been targeted toward them.
Please Join Us for our Virtual 2021 Legislative Wrap Up Happy Hour Monday, May 24th @ 5pm on Zoom The 2021 session of the Maryland General Assembly ended last month and we are thrilled to report that 4 of the 7 bills on MLAW’s 2021 Legislative Agenda were PASSED!
Please join us on Monday, May 24th @ 5pm for our virtual 2021 Legislative Wrap Up Happy Hour which will take place on Zoom. We invite you to grab your favorite beverage to toast our 2021 successes! We will report on the each of the bills from the 2021 Agenda, explain which ones passed or failed, and let you know what’s next for this legislation. The 2021 Legislative Wrap Up is free for everyone, but you must register through Zoom. Click HERE to register. After registering, you will receive a Zoom link for the event.
BILLS THAT PASSED
SB 505/HB 277 ▪ Criminal Law – First Degree Child Abuse – Continuing Course of Conduct
Establishes as first-degree child abuse three or more acts that constitute second-degree child abuse committed as a continuing course of conduct.
PASSED. Sent to Governor.
SB 427/HB 205 ▪ Public Schools – Provision of Menstrual Hygiene Products – Requirements
Will require each county board of education to ensure that each public middle and high school provide, at no charge to students, menstrual hygiene products via dispensers in the restrooms at the school. It will require a public middle or high school to install menstrual hygiene product dispensers in at least two women’s restrooms by October 1, 2022 and in all women’s restrooms by August 1, 2025. It will require the state to reimburse a county board for the costs of purchasing and installing menstrual hygiene product dispensers.
PASSED. Sent to Governor.
SB 172/HB 463 ▪ Maryland Health Equity Resource Act
Establishes a Pathways to Health Equity Program in the Community Health Resources Commission to provide the foundation and guidance for a permanent Health Equity Resource Community program. It requires the Program to provide grant funding to reduce health disparities, improve health outcomes, improve access to primary care, promote primary and secondary prevention services, and reduce health care costs. It requires the Commission to establish Health Equity Resource Communities to target State resources to certain areas for certain purposes.
PASSED. Sent to Governor.
SB 486/HB 581 ▪ Labor and Employment – Employment Standards During an Emergency (Maryland Essential Worker Protections Act)
Requires each essential employer to take certain actions related to occupational safety and health during an emergency. It provides that an essential worker has the right to refuse to perform a certain task as provided under certain provisions of law, and it requires essential employers to take certain steps to minimize the risk of transmission of an infectious disease. It also requires essential employers to report certain test results to the Maryland Department of Health and requires the Department to categorize and the publish the results.
PASSED. Sent to Governor.
BILLS THAT DID NOT PASS
SB 57/HB 748 ▪ Family Law – Custody and Visitation
Would codify the best interest of the child factor in child custody cases to ensure consideration of allegations of child abuse or domestic violence.
Passed both chambers with amendments but did not cross back over. Referred to Rules Committee.
SB 211/HB 375 ▪ Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment (The Time to Care Act of 2021)
Establishes a family and medical leave insurance fund to provide partial wage replacement for employees to care for a new child, a family member’s serious health condition, their own health condition, or a family member’s military deployment.
No votes in committees.
SB 250/HB147 ▪ Criminal Law – Sexual Crimes – Repeal of Spousal Defense (Love is No Defense Act to Sexual Crimes)
Repeals allowing marriage as a defense to sex crimes.
Passed House. Amended in Judicial Proceedings Committee, which significantly weakened the bill. Conference Committee failed to produce an acceptable bill.
SUCCESSFUL VETO OVERRIDES (FROM 2020)
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.
SB 684/HB 801 ▪ 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.
MLAW Board member Linda Mahoney passed away unexpectedly on March 8. She served on the MLAW Board for fourteen years and was an active member, promoting and supporting legislation that impacted women and families. Linda was an extraordinary advocate for women’s issues and a statewide leader for women’s equality. She was always ready to do the hard work that advocacy requires and held leadership positions in numerous Maryland organizations. Among her many commitments, she was a past president of the Maryland National Organization for Women and a past member of the planning committee for the annual Women’s Legislative Briefing in Montgomery County. She worked actively for the election of numerous candidates for the Maryland House and Senate as well as the United States Congress and was widely admired and respected for her effective efforts and support. Linda leaves an enduring legacy of commitment and achievement. Her passion and intelligence will be missed by all those who knew her as an advocate and who counted her as a friend.
MLAW thanks the following organizations for co-sponsoring our upcoming Legislative Briefing:
- AAUW – Anne Arundel County Branch
- AAUW Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chapter
- AAUW Maryland
- Baltimore County Commission for Women
- Business and Professional Women of Maryland
- Calvert County Commission for Women
- DABS, llc
- Debra Nixon, President NC100BW-PGC
- Delegate Heather Bagnall
- Delegate J. Sandy Bartlett
- Erin Prangley
- Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
- Friends for Denise Mitchell
- Health Care for All/Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative
- Human Capital Focus, LLC (Dr. Rhonda Jones)
- League of Women Voters Howard County
- Linda Mahoney
- Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)
- Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
- Maryland NOW
- Montgomery County Commission for Women
- NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland
- National Council of 100 Black Women – Prince George’s County Chapter
- North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter (NACAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated
- Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- Stella’s Girls, Inc.
- Teresa S. Woorman
- The Hatcher Group
- Top Ladies of Distinction – Prince George’s County Chapter
- Women’s Law Center of Maryland
- Zonta Club of Annapolis
Would you like to co-sponsor the briefing? Click here to sign up!
Last week we selected the bills which will make up our 2021 Legislative Agenda. On January 28th, we invite you to join us at our virtual Legislative Briefing as we officially announce our 2021 Agenda.
Join us to hear from legislators and advocates who will present each of the bills on the 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-sponsoring the briefing. Your sponsorship supports our legislative efforts in Annapolis. Sponsorship includes your logo displayed in the published Agenda and on our website and Facebook page, and recognition during the online briefing. Click here to co-sponsor.
Finally, we remind you to add your name to the list of supporters of the 2021 Agenda. 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. To sign on as a supporter, complete this simple online form.
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 2021 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 2021 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.
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 2021 Maryland General Assembly. Fourteen 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 2021 Legislative Agenda.
The MLAW Board of Directors reviewed the results of the balloting and affirmed the bills that will comprise the 2021 MLAW Legislative Agenda. The issues selected are listed below and described in more detail on our website.
The seven bills are:
- Family Law – Custody and Visitation (Best Interest of the Child Factors When there is Child Abuse or Domestic Violence)
- Criminal Law – First Degree Child Abuse – Continuing Course of Child Abuse
- Criminal Law – Repeal of Spousal Defense (Love is No Defense to Sexual Crimes)
- Public Schools – Provision of Menstrual Hygiene Products – Requirement
- Maryland Health Equity Resource Act
- Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment (Time to Care Act)
- Maryland Essential Worker Protection Act
When we began planning for our fall conference in early 2020, we had no idea it would turn out the way it did. In the spring, we realized that we would need to host a virtual conference this year instead of the in person event that we have been doing for over 25 years. We were worried. We asked ourselves questions like “Will people attend a virtual conference?” and “Will our supporters continue to sponsor the event without the in-person networking and glossy program booklet?” and “Are folks willing to sit in from of a computer for four hours on a Saturday without the promise of coffee and bagels?” On Saturday, you all answered those questions with a resounding “YES!”
Saturday’s conference was not only our first successful virtual conference, but we had our largest crowd yet, with over 300 attendees from all over the state and even as far away as Arizona! The event was supported by the most sponsors ever – 43 in all! And most importantly, we were able to meet with all of you, albeit not in person, to come together for the common purpose of enhancing the lives of women and families in Maryland through legislative advocacy.
Thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, presented, and helped in any and every way! Special thanks go out to:
- Delegate Carol Krimm for providing the welcome message and kicking off the conference
- Our exceptional panelists who provided thoughtful insight into the issues facing Maryland women and communities of color during the COVID pandemic: Professor Celeste Davis, Professor Leigh Goodmark and Iman Freeman.
- All of the advocates and legislators who presented and explained their legislative proposals for the 2021 legislative session.
We would like to hear from you and your thoughts on the conference. Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey. Your comments will help us plan an even better event next year.
We are in the process of sending 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 2021 Agenda; in fact, we will select only 6-8 from the 14 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 at https://mdlegagendaforwomen.org/join-mlaw/ along with a paypal link for credit cards.
To read about the issues that were presented at the conference, you can view the detailed information here:
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. To join our email list, simply send an email to us at email@example.com and ask to be added.
Thank you to our conference sponsors. Without them, the conference would not be possible. We hope you were able to view our sponsor slideshow during the conference but it you missed it, you may view it here:
Bill and Diana Conway
Compassion and Choices
Maryland Commission for Women
Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland
Planned Parenthood of Maryland
University System of Maryland’s Women Forum
Delegate Nicole A. Williams
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority – Prince George’s County Alumnae Chapter
Elizabeth Fran Johnson
Leni Preston, Independent Consumer Voice of Health Policy
National Women’s Law Center
Prince George’s County Commission for Women
Whitfield Legal/Lynette A. Whitfield Attorney at Law
Women’s Law Center of Maryland
Business and Professional Women of Maryland
Calvert County Commission for Women
Christol Salon and Spa
Delegate Bonnie Cullison
Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield
Delegate Michele Guyton
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Maryland Health Care for All
Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
Melissa Curtin Coaching + Consulting
Montgomery County Commission for Women
National Coalition of 100 Black Women Prince George’s County
National Council for Negro Women – Montgomery County Maryland Section
Senator Pamela Beidle
Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc – Prince George’s Chapter
Zonta Club of Mid-Maryland