Sine Die 2022: It’s the end of the 2022 Maryland legislative session!
We made it to Sine Die! What does that mean?
At midnight on Monday, April 11, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned “Sine Die,” which is Latin for adjourning without a [future] day. At midnight, all statewide legislative work concluded.
What did we accomplish? Thanks to your advocacy, JUFJ and our coalition partners had some historic wins in the General Assembly this year! The legislation we helped pass will help further renters’ rights, workers’ rights, and justice system reform in our region. To learn more about each bill, please read below.
What’s next? As we lift up our collective wins, we should also remind ourselves that our work continues until we all achieve liberation. Each win brings us closer to justice in our region, but work still lies ahead. As we celebrate what we won and think through our setbacks, we will be doing so in the spirit of this wisdom from Pirkei Avot 2:21: “It is not on you to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Click here to scroll to the “next steps” section.
The bills listed below were vetoed by the Governor, but the vetoes were overridden and the bills are now law.
Paid Family and Medical Leave:
All Marylanders need time to care for relatives or themselves, especially new parents, people with chronic conditions, families of military personnel, low-income and part-time workers, and self-employed people. But many are unable to take that time because doing so would cause them to lose their job and/or their income. Black and Latinx communities are disproportionately unable to take time off to care for themselves or family members. Now, all Marylanders will be able to take the paid family and medical leave they need, with the passage of the Time to Care Act!
The Time to Care Act will provide 12 weeks (or in some cases, 24 weeks) of paid leave when workers or their loved ones are ill, when welcoming a new child (including fostering and adoption), or when dealing with military deployment. This huge victory for workers across Maryland was won through our collaborative work with Time to Care Coalition partners.
This bill was sponsored by Senator Antonio Hayes and Delegate Kris Valderrama. Governor Hogan vetoed the bill, but the General Assembly overrode this veto before the end of the legislative session. It is now law!
Court & Prison Reform:
No child should be interrogated by law enforcement without being able to consult a lawyer. Maryland does not currently mandate that young people have access to legal counsel before being interrogated by police. This contributed to the criminalization and incarceration of Black and brown youth who are disproportionately targeted by our legal system. Ninety percent of kids waive their right to counsel because they don’t understand their Miranda rights and children falsely confess at exponentially higher rates than adults. States including Arkansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and North Dakota have greater protection for youth’s rights than Maryland.
In the 2022 legislative session, the Child Interrogation Protection Act was passed and became law when the Governor’s veto was overriden! Now, all children will have to speak with an attorney before police interrogation. This law will also require law enforcement to make good faith efforts to notify the child’s parents or guardians about their interrogation, and encourage Maryland courts to adopt more age-appropriate language for children to better understand their rights.
The primary bill sponsors of the Child Interrogation Protect Act were Senator Jill Carter and Delegate Sandy Bartlett. We worked to pass this bill with our partners in the Maryland Youth Justice Coalition.
- Fund Women’s Prerelease Facility
Prerelease programs help people nearing the end of their prison sentences secure employment, housing, drug treatment and mental health services, and family support. There are multiple such facilities for men in Maryland, but none for women. Thankfully, legislation sponsored by Senator Mary Washington and Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield in 2020 was passed by the General Assembly, and we successfully worked with our partners to override Governor Hogan’s veto and make the Gender- Responsive Prerelease Act (SB684) law in the 2021 special session!
Following this win, we needed to work to secure the funding for the facility’s construction. Working with our Women’s Prerelease Equity Coalition partners, we successfully advocated for the inclusion of a $2 million preauthorization for the Women’s Prerelease Center in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) capital budget, and for this funding to be made available for fiscal year 2023 so planning and design can begin. And, we successfully advocated for $150,000 in DPSCS’s operating budget to be restricted specifically for the Women’s Prerelease Center.
Amending both SB290 and SB291 (the state budget bills) to include the necessary funding allocation for the first phase of planning a community-based women’s prerelease facility and gender-responsive services was a big win. There will be work needed to ensure the next administration continues to include funding in the budget for subsequent phases of implementation and operation, but these initial allocations are critical for ensuring that incarcerated women will have the necessary support to transition back into their communities.
The bill below became law without Governor Hogan’s signature.
- Funding Renters’ Access to Counsel
Currently, 1% of tenants who find themselves in Rent Court are represented by a lawyer, while 96% of landlords have representation. In the 2021 General Assembly session, we and our partners successfully advocated for the creation of an Access to Counsel in Evictions program (HB18) to help low wealth renters access legal counsel, reduce evictions and save the state and local jurisdictions tens of millions of dollars. However, the bill to fund this program was not passed in that session.
This year, we worked with our Renters United Maryland partners to secure more than $6 million in SB290 (the 2023 state budget) for the program and pass SB662 which will provide $14 million in 2024.
SB662 was sponsored by Senator Craig Zucker and Delegate Ben Barnes. The Governor allowed the bill to become law without his signature. SB290 is also now law.
Currently, many renters who are experiencing difficulties paying rent are still facing eviction despite applying for emergency rental assistance, and some landlords are refusing to accept rental assistance funds even when renters have been approved. When landlords refuse to file their portion of the paperwork required for emergency assistance, renters are left with no way to get the assistance they have been promised. To ensure that rental assistance is being used in the most effective way possible, this bill would require judges stay evictions for up to 35 days when rental assistance applications are pending.
This bill was sponsored by Senator Shelly Hettleman and Delegate Vaughn Stewart. It passed out of the General Assembly prior to the end of session, and we are waiting to see if Governor Hogan signs the bill, allows it to become law without his signature, or vetoes it. He has 30 days after the legislature presents the bill to take action. Because of the upcoming election, if the Governor vetoes this bill, it will not be possible to override it next session.
Bills We Opposed
This session, there were a few bills we opposed. Luckily, none of these bills passed!
- SB31, which would have interfered with police transparency
- SB404, which would have excluded Marylanders from tax relief
- HB613, which would have increased funding for school resource officers rather than mental health supports
- SB652, which would have enacted mandatory minimums
Special Session 2021
While the special session was in December of 2021, it is important to remind ourselves of these significant wins, because they launched us into the 2022 legislative session just one month later. We advocated for three veto overrides, all of which were successful:
- SB202 (Governor’s Role in Parole), which removed the governor from the parole process for those serving life sentences. In order to achieve real justice and equity in our court and prison system, we cannot allow for politics to play a role in someone’s redemption and freedom.
- HB16 (Dignity not Detention), which was critical to end immigrant detention in our state by prohibiting jurisdictions to enter into contracts with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people.
- HB23 (Driver Privacy Act), which prevents the federal government from accessing state government documents (like the Motor Vehicle Administration) without a warrant. This is important for many reasons, in particular preventing undocumented Marylanders’ information from being used against them, especially by ICE.
A few of our priority bills did not pass this session.
Transforming Public Safety:
This bill would have allowed for the Baltimore City Civilian Review Board to serve as the city’s Police Accountability Board, and would have provided more robust police accountability and transparency. This bill passed out of the House, but failed to move out of committee in the Senate. A significant setback occurred when the city’s mayoral administration revoked their support for compromise amendments passed in the House bill.
This bill was sponsored by Senator Jill Carter and Delegate Stephanie Smith. We will continue working with our partners in the Campaign for Justice Safety & Jobs and the Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability along with legislative allies (city and state) to ensure that Baltimore City only has one strong police oversight body. Unfortunately, without this bill we will have two, weak bodies until the General Assembly takes action next year.
- Counselors Not Cops
Entering session, we anticipated that the legislature would introduce Counselors Not Cops, which would have allowed money from the Safe Schools Fund to go towards restorative justice and mental health supports in Maryland public schools, rather than being earmarked only for funding armed police officers in schools. We were disappointed that the bill was never introduced, and we will continue to work with the Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability for true student safety that does not criminalize children or exacerbate the school-to-prison pipeline.
Everyone deserves legal representation, whether they face deportation, eviction, or criminal penalties. To deny legal counsel is to deny due process. The devastating consequences of being without legal counsel are heightened during a pandemic, which poses an extreme threat to detained immigrants in close and often inhumane conditions. This legislation would have ensured that all Maryland immigrants who are detained by ICE have access to government-appointed counsel. Senators Shelly Hettleman and Jeff Waldstreicher, and Delegate Nicole Williams, were the sponsors.
Unfortunately, this bill did not make it out of committee in both chambers but we are pleased by the progress made on this legislation, and look forward to a win next year. We will continue working with our partners, especially CASA, and legislative allies to ensure that detained immigrants receive the due process and counsel they deserve.
In addition to our priority issues, JUFJers worked to support other issues that we had historically been involved in or reflect our values and are important to our allies. These were bills that we either provided testimony for or signed our name onto in support.
- Office of the Public Defender Right to Bargain (HB90) was passed out of the General Assembly and vetoed by Governor Hogan, but the General Assembly overrode that veto prior to the end of the legislative session. This bill is now law!
Courts & Prisons Reform:
- Juvenile Justice (HB459) will reform the juvenile justice process. This bill passed out of the General Assembly and became law without the Governor’s signature.
- Behavioral Health Crisis Response (HB293/SB241) passed out of the House and Senate respectively, and are headed to Governor Hogan’s desk.
- The Tenant Protection Act (SB6) passed out of the General Assembly and became law without the Governor’s signature.
- Judgement for Tenants and Proof of Rental Licensure (SB563) passed and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.
- Rental License Proof in Failure to Pay Rent Cases (HB174) after being amended to remove redundancy with SB563 (above) and to include provisions from HB101 regarding Lead Risk Reduction compliance, it passed out of the General Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
- Filing Surcharge and Prohibited Lease Provisions (HB298/SB223) did not pass out of either chamber’s committee, which is what we and our partners advocated for, though we supported the bill in its original form. We were concerned it would be amended to pass the fee increase on to renters.
- Probation, Not Deportation (HB559/SB265) passed out of the House and was in the Senate on third reader, and was then “special ordered” to next session – meaning the bill was postponed until the next floor session, but was never brought back up.
Transforming Public Safety:
- Allow Montgomery County to move automatic traffic enforcement from the police department to the Department of Transportation (HB231) passed out of the House but failed to move further in the Senate.
- Body Worn Cameras (HB429) failed to move out of its original committee.
- Reportable Crimes on School Grounds (HB84/SB119) passed out of the House and Senate respectively, but were never reconciled into one final bill.
- Cannabis Legalization and Equity (SB692) did not move out of committee. While other bills to legalize recreational cannabis did pass, they fail to adequately provide reparations for the War on Drugs and its impact on Black and brown communities.
- Eviction Diversion (HB691/SB564) was passed in the Senate but failed to move in the House.
- Just Cause Eviction (HB881) did not move out of its original committee.
- Lead Inspection Certificate & Rental License Proof in Failure to Pay Rent Cases (HB101) did not move out of its original committee, however, the lead compliance part of the bill was amended into HB174, which is on its way to Governor Hogan’s desk.
- Tenant Screening (HB134) did not move out of its original committee.
- Tenants’ Right to Organize (HB392) did not move out of its original committee.
- Trans Health Equity Act of 2022 (HB746/SB682) passed out of the Senate but did not move in the House.
Each year that we work together to advocate for justice during the General Assembly session, we deepen our collective power, our legislative relationships, and our community engagement in Annapolis. And this year was no different: the power of our community is growing! Here are some snapshots:
- JUFJ leaders engaged in state session: 941
- Advocacy emails JUFJers sent to legislators: 8,250
- Testimony JUFJers wrote and submitted for bill hearings: 170
- JUFJers who participated in legislator meetings before session: 226
- Calls made to General Assembly leadership and key legislators: 126+*
*We hosted three call-in opportunities throughout session, in which 95 calls were made. However, we also encouraged leaders to reach out to their legislators via our Rapid Response emails and text banks. This number accounts for the call-in slots filled and those who let us know they made calls, but we can assume more calls were made.
We worked to increase the impact of our coalitions by hosting action alerts for the Campaign for Justice Safety & Jobs, Renters United Maryland, and the Women’s Prerelease Equity Coalition.
We also varied how we advocated for our issues. We hosted 7 text banks, reaching over 1,000 JUFJers and engaging dozens of leaders. And, as noted above, we hosted three call-in opportunities with almost 100 calls made, with some call-in opportunities spanning over a week. We also hosted weekly in-person “Tzedek Tzedek Tuesday” events for JUFJers to join us and partners in Annapolis and speak with legislators about our priorities. This session, we also utilized our 150+ member Rapid Response list, where we sent out 10 urgent requests for action.
We can’t wait to see our community and collective impact grow even more in the next legislative session and beyond!
Your feedback is critical to us continuing to learn, grow, and become more effective in our advocacy and outreach. Regardless of your level of engagement with JUFJ this session, we truly value your thoughts and reflections and ask that you fill out our feedback survey. It should take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete and will help inform what our programs/trainings, advocacy, and communications look like in the coming year.
And, join us on Zoom on Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 PM for our Maryland Community Meeting & Debrief!
While the General Assembly session is over for this year, we still have lots of local work to do. We work primarily in Baltimore City (and a bit in the County, too) and Montgomery County, but have coalition partners & leaders across every district in Maryland.
Join us in our local Baltimore work: https://jufj.org/where-we-work/baltimore-md/
Join us in our local Montgomery County work: https://jufj.org/where-we-work/montgomery-county-md/
If you live anywhere in Maryland and want to have a 1:1 with a JUFJ organizer, let us know: https://jufj.org/get-involved/one-on-one/