Maryland Women’s Legislative 2014 Playbook

Soooooo much going on in my life right now I almost forgot to tell y’all about the Women’s Legislative Briefing I went to a couple of weeks ago in Montgomery County (for those of you who don’t live in Maryland that’s about 45 minutes away from Howard County. Stay tuned. I’m going to sound off about that later.)

Every year the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women has a fall agenda conference. It is during that time that they invite advocacy and women’s groups to present legislative initiatives for consideration. What they present must

  • be a women’s issue
  • be able to be addressed through the legislative process
  • have an identifiable, sustainable lead group that agrees to shepherd the legislation
  • have a sponsor
  • have a reasonable expectation of success

MLAW Membership votes by ballot on the presentations that met the criteria and VOILA!!! The official agenda is set. Pretty cool, huh? I think so.

So I promised myself that I would inform my lovely followers about the agenda in case you’re interested, or you know someone who is interested, or you just love to hear me babble on and on about politics, or you’re just deranged and confused. 🙂 Here’s the list with as much info as I could muster about each legislation.

The Legislator Line Up

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From left to right starting with the top row: Senator Catherine Pugh (D), Ariana Kelly (D), Mary Washington (D), Kathleen Dumais (D), Jennie Forehand (D), Brian E Frosch (D), Luke H. Clippinger (D), Jamin Raskin (D), Christopher Shank (R).

The Lucky Seven

Here’s a list of the seven bills being proposed to become laws.

Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women 2014

 1. Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act (SB 753)

Synopsis: This legislation would enable workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick and safe days from their employer.

Committees: Senate Finance and House Economic Matters

Lead Sponsor: Senator Catherine Pugh

Background: Have you ever been forced to choose between work and being sick? Many women are forced to either go to work sick, send a sick child to school or take a sick day without pay.  With so many women taking the role as primary caretaker in the household, this situation is problematic. This legislation will require employers to allow workers to earn a certain number of sick and safe days. Employees would begin accruing hours from the start of employment but would not be able to use the time until the end of their probationary period. The “safe time” component requires employers to allow women who have been victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault to use their sick leave to care for their health, seek legal protection, or seek new housing.

 2. Parental Leave for Birth or Adoption of a Child (SB 737)

Synopsis: Provide six (6) weeks of job-protected leave to employees of companies with 15-49.

Committee: House of Economic Matters

Lead Sponsor: Delegate Ariana Kelly (She’s also an advocate for children and adults with Autism. My kinda gal!!)

Background: Currently the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid job protection for companies with 50+ employees. If you work for a company that has less than 50 employees, there is no protection for you.This bill provides specific employees a total of six work weeks of parental leave in a 12-month period under specific circumstances. It’s unpaid leave but the employer has the option to make it paid leave. The employee has to provide written notification of the intention to take parental leave.

 3. Correctional Services-Pregnant Detainees and Inmates-Restraint Restrictions (HB 829)

Synopsis: The medical professional who is in charge of an inmate’s care is the person who determines when the inmate can return to the correctional facility. Restraints during labor and delivery should not be used unless deemed necessary by the attending physician. The security officer of the correctional facility will make and maintain specified written findings.

Committee: House Judiciary

Lead Sponsor: Delegate Mary Washington

Background: Pregnant prisoners are currently shackled during transport, labor, and delivery of their children. In some cases restraints that cover the midsection are used.

UBW’s commentary: What kinda fraggle naggle BULL is this? If you have ever delivered a baby from your uterus you know that restraint is the last thing you would ever want to be subjected to during delivery. Clearly a man created this rule. Idiots!!

 4. Family Law-Domestic Violence-Permanent Final Protective Orders (HB 309, SB 334)

Synopsis: Current law enables victims of domestic violence to obtain a permanent final protective order in two limited circumstances the respondent must have been convicted of certain enumerated crimes that led to the issuance of the original protective order and the respondent must have served a term of imprisonment of at least five years. This bill changes the eligibility requirements for a permanent final protective order in two ways. First, the bill adds the crime of second-degree assault to the list of enumerated crimes, a significant change because many perpetrators of domestic violence are convicted of second-degree assault. Second, the bill does not require the convicted defendant of the enumerated crimes to actually serve a term of imprisonment of five years, only to be sentenced to a term of five years.

Committees: House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings

Lead Sponsor: Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Senator Jennie Forehand

5. Family Law- Peace Orders and Protective Orders- Burden of Proof (SB 333)

Synopsis: This bill changes the burden of proof for those who seek final protective orders and final peace orders. The current burden of proof requires the petitioner to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that abuse, as defined in the protective order statute and peace order statute, has occurred. This bill changes the burden of proof to require the petitioner seeking relief in these two civil proceedings to prove the occurrence of abuse by “a preponderance of the evidence.

Committees: Senate Judicial Proceedings and House Judiciary

Lead Sponsors: Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Luke Clippinger

 6. Rape Survivor Family Protection Act (Akin’s Law) (SB 411)

Synopsis: A bill to terminate the parental rights of rapists when a child is conceived as a result of rape.

Committees: House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings

Lead Sponsor: Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Background: Akin’s Law would give rape victims a process to terminate 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 higher, no lower.

7. Domestic Violence- Persons Eligible for Relief (SB41)

Synopsis: A bill to allow victims of dating and sexual violence to seek protective orders.

Committees: House Judiciary/Senate Judicial Proceedings

Lead Sponsors: Senator Chris Shank and Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Background: Protective Orders and Peace Orders are civil orders to protect individuals against future violence and harassment. This bill would move sexual assault out of the Peace Order statute and the Protective Order statute. This will provide these victim/survivors with heightened protection, address the majority of dating violence cases, and create a better systemic response.

This has to be a record for blog lengths for me. WHEW!!!!! But it’s worth it. Now if you want to see how these bills will play out in Annapolis, you can follow them with apps/websites like openstates.org or icitizen.com. If you want to sign on to support this agenda, click here.

For more information, go to http://mdlegagendaforwomen.org/

Have a great day y’all and ROCK ON!!!

#HoCoPolitics

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