Governor’s Vetoes Overridden
In the past week, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override the vetoes of the following bills passed in 2020 that UULM-MD considered priority measures. Thanks to all of our members who responded to our calls for action and contacted their Senators and Delegates to support the vetoes! Please contact your lawmakers again and thank those who voted to override.
You can find out how your representative voted by clicking on the links to the House and Senate Votes.
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry - Maryland
Must See TV!!
Due to the pandemic, all of our lobbying will be of the virtual variety. However, you can still watch the committee hearings, which will be broadcast on YouTube. If you would like to watch the livestream you need to subscribe to the Committe You Tube Channel on the Committee Home Page on https://mgaleg.maryland.gov. Or you can click on the links below to access the archives.
Our priority bills, the Climate Solutions Now Act and the Transit Safety and Investment Act are receiving a lot of attention.
The Climate Solutions Now Act (HB 583/SB 414) prospects for getting out of the Senate look good. However, this is not the time to be complacent! If your Senator is on either the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee (see members) or the Budget and Taxation Committee (see members) now is a good time for them to hear from you! Committee votes could come earlythis week. Please note that we sent out a targeted action earlier this week, you should have received an email if your Senator is on either Committee.
The big lift for the Climate Solutions Now Act comes in the House, with a joint hearing in the Environment and Transportation Committee and the Economic Matters Committee on 2/11/21.
The Transit Safety and Investment Act (HB 114 / SB 199) had a successful hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on 2/3/21. Prospects for passage to the full House are good.
In other bills that we are following the Consideration of Labor and Climate Act (SB 83) was given a favorable report with amendments in the Senate Finance Committee. This act requires the Public Service Commission to consider the impact of any decision on Labor and Climate.
CCAN's Climate Action Week is February 22-25, kicking off with a virtual rally on February 22nd at 5:00 PM. Grassroots events will be in the evenings of Feb 22-25, depending on where you live. The focus will be on The Climate Solutions Now Act, the Transit Safety & Investment Act, the Community Choice Energy - Pilot Act and the Consideration of Labor and Climate. Please consider attending.
Today, Monday, February 15th from 12:30 to 1:30 pm, our partner MAJR will be having Virtual Lobbying Training.
They will offer updates on MAJR priority bills, suggest "talking points" to urge their support by legislators and staff, and answer your personal questions. You can call your legislators's offices the same afternoon!
All our returning bills from the 2020 session will have had their hearings completed. None have been called for committee vote. So IF YOU HAVE A SENATOR OR DELEGATE serving on the House Judiciary or Senate Judicial Proceedings Comm. please contact them soon and ask them for a supporting vote for: (see uulmmd.org for issues details)
1. HB 3 / SB 202 - Lifers with Parole - Removes the Governor from signing off for those with life sentence to have parole 2. HB 445 / SB 671 - Citations - police officer may use a citation ticket in place of arrest for minor -non-violent offences. - Senate bill willl be heard on Feb. 25th. 3. HB 131 - Step-Down Program - Prohibits anyone from being released directly from prison to the community until after 6 month transition program is implemented. 4. HB 83/SB 397 - Correctional Education - Recognizes long term educational accomplishments by awarding a block of diminutions credits which help reduce the length of sentence.
Police Accountability Bills:
HB 151 – Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights - Repeal HB 670 – Police Reform and Accountability Act of 2021 HB 139 – Law Enforcement Officers - Use of Force
This year, UULM-MD is supporting HB 375 / SB 211 the “Time to Care” Act to create a family and medical leave insurance program to provide paid leave. The bill will be heard the House Economic Matters Committee this Wednesday, February 17th at 1:30 pm. The Senate Finance Committee heard the bill on January 28th
It is existing federal law (FLMA 1993) that employers must provide job-protected, unpaid leave for family and medical reasons. However, employees in lower paid jobs cannot afford to take unpaid leave. Ironically, it is most often the best paid workers whose employers provide paid leave as a benefit. This bill will provide the economic basis for all Marylanders to tend to their individual and family health needs through paid leave from work. In short, it provides time to care.
The bill provides for:
- Up to 12 weeks of paid leave for family and medical reasons
- Payments are 90% of pay for most workers and 50% for top 1/3 of earners.
- Employers and employees jointly contribute to the insurance program
This bill recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person, provides equity and justice in human relations, and reflects the interdependence of all existence of which we are a part.
This week the Senate and House voted to override the two Gun Violence Bills from last year:
- Long gun background checks (HB 4 / SB 208) –
- Funding for the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, including the Baltimore Safe Streets Program - SB 708
Priority Bills: Both of our priority bills have been introduced in both houses. Last week the Senate Bill HB 200 / SB 479- Access to Firearms - Storage Requirements bill, was heard in Committee on Feb. 11th. The bill is also known as as Jaelynn’s Law, in memory of a young grl who was killed at her high school by her ex-boyfriend who took the gun from his parents’ home. However, the bill would also help prevent suicides. According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, in 82% of youth suicides, the victim gained access to the firearm from a family member. It’s important to note suicide rates among children of color are skyrocketing. Research shows that the suicide rate is two times higher for black elementary school aged children compared with white children of the same age group. This bill would address this frightening trend.
The House Bill will be heard in Committee on March 1.
HB 638 / SB 624- Public Safety - Untraceable and Undetectable Firearms attempts to regulate the manufacture of untraceable and undetectable firearms by requiring a serial number and background check. The Senate will hear the bill on Wednesday, February 17th and the House will be on March 1st, as well.
Maryland Health Equity Resource Act (HERC)—HB 463 / SB 172 --Please contact your Senator and Delegate/s and urge support of HB 463 or SB 172. The House Health and Government Operations Committee heard HB 463 on Feb. 2nd, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee heard SB 172 bill on Jan 27th. UULM-MD provided testimony in favor of these bills. The bills need a favorable vote from the Committees before they can be voted on by the Senate or House.
This proposed legislation would create and fund services to underserved areas of the state. It is modeled on 2012-2016 Health Enterprise Zones Pilot Program which increased access to health resources, improved residents’ health, reduced hospital admissions, and created cost savings. Funding stopped in 2016. This program will address the poor health outcomes that contribute to racial, ethnic, disability, and geographic health inequities which have been evident in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate passed an amendment to Gov Hogan’s stimulus package that includes $14M for the first year for HERC. However, we urge legislators to consider permanent funding especially the one cent on a dollar increase on the alcohol tax which is included in the two original bills.
OVERIDE VETO ON (2020) SB 669/HB 1095—Prescription Drug Affordability Board and Fund- The House voted on 2/11/21 to override the Governor’s 2020 veto by 95-38. The Senate previously overrode the veto by 30-15. The legislation will provide a permanent funding source for the Board. The board will work finding solutions to address rising drug costs. Please thank your Senator and Delegates for their affirmative votes.
Hearings are scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee on March 3, 2021 for HB 16 (Dignity Not Detention) and HB 304 (Maryland Trust Act). UULM-MD members are encouraged to submit written testimony. For your convenience, UULM-MD will submit it for you. Send testimony to us at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than February 28. If you prefer to submit it personally, you must have a free MyMGA account and must submit it digitally 48 hours before the hearing. Please email us if you have any questions about submitting testimony.
HB 23 - Dignity Not Detention will ban any new contracts or renewals of existing contracts with detention facilities operated wholly or in part with private corporations to detain immigrants, will terminate existing county agreements with ICE to detain immigrants, and will require public notice of any zoning changes intended to construct immigrant detention facilities
HB 304 - the Maryland Trust Act will limit state and local police partnership with ICE and prevent police from inquiring about immigration status, detaining on behalf of ICE and notifying and transferring immigrants to ICE. The intention is to protect immigrants from coercion and encourage community members to call on police safely. The bill also requires the MD Attorney General to establish policies and guidance regarding ICE enforcement on the premises of schools, courthouses, and more particularly during the pandemic, hospitals.
For more information visit https://www.uulmmd.org/im-2021-session
You can find sample testimony on Jim's Channing Justice website.
Thank you for your continued support and advocacy.
Create Your Personal Message to Elected Officials
Below is a sample outline where you can write notes for your meeting with your elected officials. It’s amazing how many times we can forget to mention the major points we had thought about a few hours before. Taking time to meet with them can have a significant impact especially if you tell your story as to why the legislation is important to you and not feel you must be an expert on the issue and the specific legislation.
Briefly introduce yourself and tell where you are from (particularly if you are a constituent), a little about yourself, including the school you attend, the job you hold, and/or the group you represent.
Briefly convey what issue and bill number you would like to discuss. If time allows, explain why the issue is important to you and/or how it affects you. Try to tell a story, as opposed to listing facts and figures.
Briefly explain how your UU faith supports your position on this issue. Mention specific UU principles if applicable. Most legislators think of people of faith representing different views than UUs have about many subjects.
Ask how the legislator feels about the issue, whether s/he can support your position, and what his /her concerns may be. It is critical to not criticize them for their position or get upset with them if they have differing views. You could provide them background information to support your position.
Thank the legislator for current or past support, if applicable, and for his/her time.
Task Force Calendars
Each Task Force has it's own task force calendar, which will show when bills are up for committee or votes, lobby days, and our partner's events.
Please email your task force leader if you know of an event that we should add.
Upcoming Hearings – Week of February 15, 2021
Key (Priority Bills in Bold)
Tuesday, February 16- Testimony Submitted 2/12/21
House Economic Matters Committee – 1:30 p.m.
HB 375 - Labor and Employment - Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program - Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2021)
Wednesday, February 17- Testimony to be Submitted on 2/15,
Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee - 1:00 p.m.
SB 624 – Senator Lee - Public Safety - Untraceable and Undetectable Firearms
Thursday, February 18- Testimony to be Submitted on 2/16
House Economic Matters Committee – 1:30 p.m.
HB 768 – Montgomery County Delegation - Montgomery County - Community Choice Energy - Pilot Program MC 17-21