Call for Legislative Proposals for the 2022 Agenda

MLAW will host its annual Fall Agenda Conference Turning Crisis Into Opportunity: Building a Stronger Care Infrastructure online via Zoom on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

MLAW is encouraging organizations (lead groups) and legislators to submit legislative proposals for consider at the conference. Selected legislation will comprise our 2022 Legislative Agenda.  Legislation must meet the following criteria: 
*Addresses an issue related to women’s health, women’s personal safety at home, in public, in school, and in the workplace; the ability to achieve and maintain economic independence; or freedom from discrimination in Maryland’s economic, educational, judicial, political, and social system;
*Can be addressed through the legislation in the Maryland General Assembly;
*Has a reasonable chance to move successfully through the legislative process;
*Has at least one legislative sponsor Has an identifiable, sustainable lead group that can shepherd the bill. The lead group must be a Maryland-based group or a national group with a strong on-the-ground presence in Maryland and have issue-area expertise and/or a track record of supporting legislation/advocacy in areas related to this proposal.  

All proposals MUST be submitted no later than Monday, November 1st. Because we are hosting a virtual conference this year, we need information well in advance of the event.   

To submit a proposal, complete this online form. Please note that all information must be entered at one time into this Google form. You cannot save it and come back later to finish. A helpful tip is to type out your narrative answers in a Word document and paste them into the form. If you have submitted a proposal in the past, we have added a few questions and changes this year. To view a sample of how the information you provide will be presented at our conference, please view our 2021 Agenda document.   For questions or help, contact Jessica at mdlegagenda4women@yahoo.com.

MLAW Statement Against Anti-Asian Hate

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.

Virtual 2021 Legislative Wrap Up Happy Hour

       

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.

2021 MLAW Legislative Agenda – Final Report

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.
VETO OVERRIDEN

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.
VETO OVERRIDEN

Click here to download a PDF version of our Final Report.

Linda Mahoney

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.  

Thank You, Briefing Sponsors!

MLAW thanks the following organizations for co-sponsoring our upcoming Legislative Briefing:

Would you like to co-sponsor the briefing? Click here to sign up!

Join Us at our 2021 Legislative Briefing

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.   

Sign on to Support the 2021 Agenda

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.

MLAW Announces our 2021 Agenda

Download the 2021 MLAW Legislative 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 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: