Maryland NOW’s Legislative Priorities for 2018
Sandy Bell, Maryland NOW Action Vice-President
Maryland NOW works with other women’s organizations in the state on women’s rights legislation through the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW).
A summary of the bills in this year’s agenda can be viewed at https://mdlegagendaforwomen.org/2018/05/01/2018-mlaw-legislative-agenda-final-report/
The legislation listed below are additional bills introduced during the legislative session and are ones on which Maryland NOW also worked. Maryland NOW worked on the legislation below in conjunction with other women’s organizations.
HB328/SB121/CH501: Family Law – Domestic Violence – Definition of Abuse
Sponsors: Delegate Dumais, Senator Zirkin
This law would expand the definition of “abuse” as it applies to petitions for domestic violence protective orders to include “misuse of telephone facilities and equipment, electronic communication or interactive computer service, revenge porn, and visual surveillance.” This bill simply aligns the domestic violence protective order definition of abuse with the peace order definition.
PASSED and approved by the Governor – Chapter 501
SB1010/HB1597: Labor and Employment – Sexual Harassment – Contractual Waivers and Reporting Requirements. Also known as #Me Too Maryland
Sponsor: Senator Zucker, Delegate Valderrama
The purpose of this bill is to provide that a provision in certain employment contracts, policies, or agreements that waive certain rights or remedies to a claim of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation is null and void as being against the public policy of the State; prohibiting an employer from taking adverse actions against certain employees; providing that employers are liable for attorney’s fees; requiring certain employers to submit a report to the Commission on Civil Rights on or before a certain date each year; requiring the Commission to publish and make accessible to the public on the Commission’s website the reports; defining certain terms generally relating to sexual harassment in the workplace.
PASSED Enrolled and approved by the Governor – Chapter 739
SB965/HB1152: Family Law – Age of Majority – Jurisdiction of Court
Sponsors: Senator Lee, Delegate Hill
This bill would allow child support to continue past the age of 18. An equity court would retain jurisdiction for the purpose of awarding child support, in accordance with the child support guidelines, for a child who has attained the age of 18 and who is enrolled in secondary school; providing that an equity court shall retain jurisdiction for the purpose of awarding support for a young adult who has attained the age of 18 and who is not enrolled in secondary school; etc.
Unfavorable Report by Judicial Proceedings, withdrawn; and Unfavorable report by Judiciary
HB664/SB543: Labor and Employment – Payment of the Minimum Wage Required (Fight for Fifteen)
This bill would gradually increase the minimum wage – based on the annual growth in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area – to $15 per hour by 2023; beginning July 1, 2026, the bill would also prohibit an employer from including the tip credit amount as part of the wage of certain employees.
No movement in either chamber past hearings.
HB797/SB598: Correctional Services – Inmates – Menstrual Hygiene Products
Sponsors: Delegates Queen & Dumais, Senators Lee & Kelley
This bill requires all corrections facilities in the state of Maryland to provide menstrual hygiene products to inmates free of charge and in the quantities they need.
PASSED and approved by the Governor Chapter 254 & 255
SB170/HB388: Criminal Procedure – Violation of Conditions of Release
Sponsors: Senator Lee, Delegate A. Miller
This bill expands the list of charges that someone being charged with a crime is prohibited from engaging in during the pretrial or posttrial release. The change specifically addresses actions against a victim who is a minor, and prohibits contact, harassment, or abuse of the alleged victim or going in or near the alleged victim’s residence or place of employment.
PASSED and approved by the Governor Chapter 427 & 428