Testimony in Support of HB028 – Public Schools, Provision of Menstrual Hygiene Products

February 6, 2020

HB0208 – Public Schools – Provision of Menstrual Hygiene Products
January 30, 2020

Maryland NOW believes in the ability of students to have access to education without having to suffer from anxiety or stigma due to natural biological processes, therefore we submit this written testimony today in support of HB0208, introduced by Delegate Kirill Reznik.

In 2019, approximately 43% of Maryland public school students were enrolled for free or reduced-price meals, indicating that these families are struggling to afford basic necessities, including menstrual hygiene products for the students who have achieved menses.

The lack of access to menstrual products can result in many adverse effects for students, including medical issues if products are used longer than recommended, as well as embarrassment or feelings of shame if period leaks occur during school hours. Because of this, many girls would rather miss classes than attend school if they do not have access to adequate menstrual supplies. Educational opportunities are being impacted all because students are unable to afford the supplies that they need while on their period, and students of color from low-income families are disproportionately impacted.

Without shame or fear associated with lack of menstrual hygiene supplies, Maryland students will have more opportunity to be successful in school, and be one step closer to lessening the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic status. Maryland NOW respectfully asks you to vote yes on HB0208 and bring menstrual equity to Maryland public schools.

Jennierose D’Elia-Dufour
(p): 201-303-1015
Council Member, Maryland National Organization for Women
President, Montgomery County National Organization for Women

Testimony in Support of SB040 – Sales & Use Tax, Diaper Exemption

SB040 – Sales and Use Tax – Diapers – Exemption
January 8, 2020

Maryland NOW believes in economic justice and equity for all, therefore we submit this written testimony today in support of SB040, introduced by Senator Clarence Lam.

Like adult diapers and menstrual products, infant/children’s diapers are a medical necessity and should be considered as such in terms of taxation. Currently, the state of Maryland is one of two states that only considers adult diapers a medical necessity, and therefore tax exempt, while not offering sales tax relief on children’s diapers.

Children require at least 50 diaper changes a week, or 200 diaper changes per month, depending on the age of the child. When parents cannot afford the cost of diapers, they may delay changing their children’s diapers, which can result in diaper rash, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections. Severe diaper rash can also lead to open sores, which leaves the child vulnerable to more serious infections, such as staph and strep.

Another consideration is that 76% of Maryland children live in households where both parents work. Many daycare providers require parents to provide disposable diapers for their children; so even if parents are utilizing re-usable, cloth diapers at home, they must purchase disposable diapers for daycare. If parents are unable to afford diapers, this may prevent a parent from returning from work, impacting the overall family income level, and could contribute to a cycle of poverty. Parents experiencing diaper need are also at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress – which is detrimental to the parents and children.

By exempting infant/children’s diapers from sales tax, families would be able to purchase more diapers for less and the state would be taking one step further to even the playing field and help reduce the financial burden to women in the state of Maryland. Maryland NOW respectfully asks you to promote economic justice for Maryland women by voting yes on SB040.

Jennierose D’Elia-Dufour
(p): 201-303-1015
Council Member, Maryland National Organization for Women
President, Montgomery County National Organization for Women

2018 Maryland NOW Legislative Report

October 24, 2018

Maryland NOW’s Legislative Priorities for 2018

Final Report

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


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

2018 MD NOW PAC Endorsements

October 22, 2018

Maryland NOW Endorses Ben JealousMaryland NOW Endorses Ben Jealous

2018 Maryland NOW PAC Endorsements

Ben Jealous and Susie Turnbull – Governor and Lt. Governor

Brian Frosh – Attorney General

Maryland State Senate

Ron Young (District 3) Frederick County

Katherine Klausmeier (District 8) Baltimore County

Katie Fry Hester (District 9) Howard County

Delores G. Kelley (District 10) Baltimore County

Clarence Lam (District 12) Howard County

Sarah K. Elfreth (District 30) Anne Arundel County

Holly Wright (District 37) Talbot County

Bill Ferguson (District 46) Baltimore City

Maryland State House

Karen Lewis Young (District 3A) Frederick County

Carol L. Krimm (District 3A) Frederick County

Lois Jarman (District 4) Frederick County

Ysela Bravo (District 4) Frederick County

Darrin R. Smith (District 4) Frederick County

Emily Shank (District 5) Carroll County

Natalie Ziegler (District 9A) Howard County

Jay Jalisi (District 10) Baltimore County

Adrienne A. Jones (District 10) Baltimore County

Dana Stein (District 11) Baltimore County

Shelly Hettleman (District 11) Baltimore County

Eric Ebersole (District 12) Baltimore County

Jessica Feldmark (District 12) Howard County

Shane Pendergrass (District 13) Howard County

Joseline Peña-Melnyk (District 21) Prince George’s County

Erek L. Barron (District 24) Prince George’s County

Kris Valderrama (District 26) Prince George’s County

Jason T. Fowler (District 27C) Calvert County

Edith Patterson (District 28) Charles County

Julia Nichols (District 29C) St. Mary’s County

Karen Patricia Simpson (District 31B) Anne Arundel County

Sandy Bartlett (District 32) Anne Arundel County

Tracie Cramer Hovermale (District 33) Anne Arundel County

Pam Luby (District 33) Anne Arundel County

Heather Bagnall (District 33) Anne Arundel County

Ronnie Teitler Davis (District 35B) Harford County

Dan O’Hare (District 37B) Wicomico County

Melissa Wells (District 40) Baltimore City

Samuel I. Rosenberg (District 41) Baltimore City

Sachin Hebbar (District 42B) Baltimore County

Pat Young (District 44B) Baltimore County

Brooke Lierman (District 46) Baltimore City

For Montgomery County NOW PAC endorsements please see:

Celebration of Choice 2011

August 2, 2011

Celebration of Choice1_2Celebration of Choice1_2

Some of our Maryland NOW participants include State President Linda Mahoney, Linda Smith – State Executive VP, Jeannette Feldner and Edith Miller, State Councilmembers, Mike Hersh, Montgomery County NOW Action VP, and John Klupsak (Hagerstown) and Merri Sullivan (Frederick).

The Washington Post covered the Summer Celebration of Choice Kick-Off Walk in Germantown near Dr. Carhart’s clinic.
Kari Rinker is the president of KA NOW and blogged about it, reflecting on the experience in Kansas and Dr. Tiller.

Cade case leads many to question the system

October 20, 2005

by Erin Henk
Staff Writer

The case of Clinton resident Yvette Cade, who was set on fire by her husband after a protective order against him was lifted despite her objections, has led some to question the integrity of a judicial system, which is supposed to protect victims of domestic violence.

‘‘I think a court should be happy to give victims of domestic violence every bit of protection they can instead of thinking they’re scamming the system,” said Dorothy Lennig, legal clinic director for House of Ruth, a domestic violence shelter based in Baltimore where Cade allegedly sought help.

Cade had requested a protective order be placed against her estranged husband Roger Hargrave in July, but it was later rescinded against her wishes on Sept. 19 by District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo. Weeks later, Hargrave entered the T-Mobile store in Clinton where Cade worked, doused her with gasoline, and set her on fire. She is now hospitalized and going through several surgeries for her third-degree burns. Hargrave is being held in the Prince George’s County Detention Center without bail for an attempted murder charge.

Cade’s cousin Michael Haynesworth described Cade’s three-year marriage to Hargrave as ‘‘one of almost complete terror,” during which Cade tried to protect herself and her 12-year-old daughter.

Haynesworth said that after she left the courthouse that day in September, Cade may have had lost some faith in the system. ‘‘When she came to court in September, she was appalled,” said Haynesworth. ‘‘She felt like crap … like he just rolled her over. Just no regard.”

Since the incident at the T-Mobile store, Thurman Rhodes, the administrative judge for the court, has temporarily barred Palumbo from hearing domestic violence cases until early December.

The court hearing on Sept. 19 was supposed to have modified the protective order, not dismissed it, said Ron Snyder, spokesman for the Court Information Office for the Maryland Judiciary. Hargrave said he wanted him and Cade to go to counseling but Hargrave did not show up to court that day.

‘‘The petition for modification should have been dismissed, that day,” said Snyder. ‘‘There was a communication error between the judge and the clerk that led to [the protective order] being dismissed,” said Snyder. Palumbo reinstated the order on Oct. 17. It will be carried out until July, as was originally intended.

Haynesworth argues that even if it was an error, Palumbo should have taken responsibility for it.

‘‘When she stated that he was violating the protective order, (the judge) should have put out a warrant for his arrest,” said Haynesworth.

Palumbo has not commented on the case because he is prevented by the judicial code of conduct, said Snyder. According to Steve Lemmey of the Judicial Disability Committee, no public disciplinary actions have been taken against Palumbo.

‘‘I think it’s outrageous,” said Lennig. ‘‘There was clear and convincing evidence, and the abuser didn’t show up in court that day to argue that the order be rescinded.”

Lennig said that she’s never actually heard of a protective order being rescinded when the parties involved are still separated.

Cade’s family plans to take action.

‘‘We may file a complaint, but I want to see what kind of character [Palumbo] has. He knows this is out in the media … but he should be able to say, regardless of who’s responsible, ‘I’m sorry that this has happened,’” said Haynesworth. ‘‘We need to do something about how our judges are treating women in . … It’s greater than Judge Palumbo … and from what I’m hearing, it’s greater than the District Court.”

Cade’s family plans to send a direct letter to Palumbo’s supervisor Thurman Rhodes, letting him know that before they plan to file a grievance, they’d like a direct response from Palumbo. They also plan to eventually establish a foundation that will offer protection for battered women.

‘That’s the real tragedy of it all – that she wasn’t awarded the consideration she deserved,” said Denise McCain, executive director or the Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County. McCain says that her crisis center often warns domestic violence victims that the demeanor of the court will not always be favorable towards them.

‘‘In some ways we’re going backwards, really,” she said.

She also said that domestic violence victims who go to court often run into obstacles if they are not completely prepared or they have a less than perfect record. However, in this case, said McCain, that did not seem to be an issue for Cade.

One positive thing, said McCain, is that this particular case may prompt domestic violence victims to seek the support of shelters and proper legal counsel ‘‘in order to get the attention they deserve,” she said.

E-mail Erin Henk at

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