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  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

Directions and Map – Fall Conference

Click here to view or download a campus map: MLAW Conference Map

The best way to access Duncan Hall is to take Little Patuxent Parkway from I-95 or Rt. 29 and enter the campus from the north side.  Turn left into Howard Community College and you will encounter a traffic circle.  Go ¾ of the way around the circle, following signs for Lot A.  Park in Lot A, which is the closest and accessible parking.  The building in front of you (south) is Duncan Hall. Enter and Room 100, Kittleman, will be on the ground level.  The campus address is 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044.

Thank you to our Fall Conference Sponsors!

Thank you for your support of the 2017 Fall Agenda Conference!  Download our Program Booklet Here: MLAW_Program 

Michaele Cohen
AAUW Maryland
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
Maryland NOW (National Organization for Women)
Mom’s Rising
National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Baltimore Metropolitan Chapter
Planned Parenthood Maryland
Prince George’s County Commission for Women

Elizabeth Fran Johnson
The Hatcher Group
Maryland Commission for Women
Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
NARAL ProChoice Maryland
National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Prince George’s County
Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc.

Elizabeth Joyce
Joan Stine
Lynette A. Whitfield, Esq.
Anne Arundel County Democratic Women
Business and Professional Women – Maryland
Consumer Health First
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Montgomery County Commission for Women
WISE (Women Indivisible, Strong and Effective)
Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Zonta Club of Mid-Maryland
Zonta Club of Annapolis

Fall Agenda Conference: “Mobilizing the Power of Maryland Women in a Time of Uncertainty”

The MLAW fall conference will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD. **Note the location change!**

The conference will feature a moderated panel: “Mobilizing the Power of Maryland Women in a Time of Uncertainty“, including: Delegate Terri Hill (Maryland House of Delegates), Toni Van Pelt (President, National Organization for Women), Pat Lambert (Executive Alliance/Network 2000) and Luis Larin (United Workers).  Delegate Ariana Kelly, President of the Women Legislators of Maryland, will give opening remarks. Additional speakers TBD.

The highlight of the conference will be the presentation of legislative proposals for the upcoming 2018 legislative session. Join us to learn about the bills that will make up the 2018 Agenda. An optional Grassroots Advocacy 101 workshop will be offered from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.  There is no charge for the this workshop.   A light continental breakfast is included with registration. Optional box lunches for those staying for the Advocacy 101 workshop are available for $10 and require a pre-order.  Click here to download a Registration Form: MLAW Fall Conference 2017 Registration Form or register online at:

Sponsorship opportunities are available and encouraged. Click here to download a Sponsorship Form: 2017 Fall Conference Sponsorship Form

We are also seeking Legislative Proposals for the 2018 Agenda.  Please click here to download a Legislative Proposal Form, which includes the criteria for submitting legislation for consideration: 2017 Fall Conference Proposal Form.  Make sure to save the form to your hard drive before completing it.

Howard Community College, located at 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044 in Columbia, provides a convenient setting for our conference with ample free parking and handicapped accessibility.  The conference will be held in Duncan Hall, Room 100 on the ground floor. Click here for a campus map:


Pay Your Membership Dues or Donate Online!

If you would like to pay your membership dues or make a donation online, you can! MLAW uses Paypal to process credit card transactions. Visit our secure Paypal site to use your credit card to renew your membership, join MLAW, or make a donation.  If you would prefer to have an invoice sent to you with a custom Paypal link, send us an email at

MLAW 2017-18 Membership: Join or Renew Today!

Dear Friend of MLAW:

MLAW is the only statewide coalition of women’s groups and individuals that provides a non-partisan, independent voice for Maryland women and families.  We mobilize networks, groups, and individuals from all over the state to ensure the passage of key legislation. In 2017, two of the seven bills on the MLAW Legislative Agenda PASSED the General Assembly. MLAW support makes a difference!

 This year, we are celebrating 23 years as your voice in Annapolis.

Every year, the Maryland legislature considers hundreds of bills, and every year a high percentage of MLAW-supported bills become law. These laws make a difference for women and families throughout Maryland.  MLAW is an effective, volunteer-run organization that depends entirely on dues and private contributions to do its work. We need your help to continue our work on behalf of Maryland women and families. 

If you are already an MLAW member, please renew your membership today. If you are not a current member, please sign up right away. And please consider an additional donation to support our vital work.

We hold an annual fall conference to develop our MLAW Legislative Agenda and a legislative reception in Annapolis during the legislative session to introduce the Agenda. These events focus legislators’ attention on our issues and raise our visibility throughout the state.  We distribute the annual Legislative Agenda to every Maryland legislator.  In collaboration with our advocacy partners, we submit testimony, advocate for bills, and promote our Agenda through our website, Facebook page, and e-newsletter.

Your membership entitles you to VOTE for the legislative issues that will be included on the MLAW Legislative Agenda.

Your membership and additional contributions fund MLAW’s efforts to maintain a strong voice for women and families in the Maryland legislature. We appreciate your commitment to women’s rights, and we ask for your generous support. Please consider an additional donation to support our advocacy efforts. Please print and complete the  MLAW MEMBERSHIP FORM 2017-18 and mail in your membership and/or donation. You may also join or donate online by visiting our secure paypal site.

Thank you!

Michaele Cohen
President, MLAW Board of Directors