MARYLAND STATE

Every year JUFJers from across the state of Maryland join forces to fight for justice during the General Assembly session (January to April).

As the Jewish year begins anew at Rosh Hashanah, so does JUFJ’s Maryland legislative year. The statewide legislative kickoff is the holiday that starts the cycle, and helps us set our legislative priorities. After the kickoff, we will spend the end of 2021 educating our legislators about those priorities, and getting ready to fight for them in the 2022 session.

In 2021, we and our partners helped achieve some amazing victories, but we have a lot more work to do in 2022! Join us for one of our Annapolis Academy trainings or Kickoff event to learn more.

After the legislative session ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JUFJ’s Maryland team shifted our efforts toward pandemic relief and ensuring a just recovery as the pandemic passes.

In May, we joined the #CancelRent campaign. Read more about that campaign at jufj.org/shmita-rent.

Amid the national uprising over police violence against Black people, we redoubled our call for truly accountable policing in Maryland. Read more about that campaign at jufj.org/annapolis-police.

2022 Annapolis Priority Issues

We have not yet finalized what our issue priorities for the 2022 Maryland legislative session, but take a look at what we worked on last session:

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Paid Leave: Click to download a readable PDF

Immigrant Justice

Immigrant Justice: Click to download a readable PDF

Police Reform

Police Reform: Click to download a readable PDF

Real Criminal Justice

Real Criminal Justice: Click to download a readable PDF
Sign: A healthy workforce is a strong workforce.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Nobody should have to choose between their job and caring for their family.

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Sign: No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants Are Welcome Here

Immigrant Rights

All people have a right to be safe and to thrive, regardless of immigration status.

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Signs: None of us is free until all of us are free. #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForFreddie

Police Accountability

Black and brown Marylanders face violence and over-policing.

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image of jail bars

Court and Prison Reform

Our justice system must become truly just to everyone in our state.

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JUFJ members with signs for housing justice

Renters’ Rights

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All people have a right to safe, stable, affordable housing.

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Additional Legislative Positions

In addition to our key legislative priorities this session, we took positions on other legislation related to these issues and on a number of Fair Funding bills, because budgets are a moral document and we must invest in programs that will address longstanding inequities and the current COVID-19 crisis.

We have also been working in Howard County to end the County’s contract with ICE – and this year, we succeeded! Our work began in 2019 and since then we’ve helped found the Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Justice, held dozens of meetings and in-person actions.

In addition to our four priority issues for the 2020 Maryland General Assembly, JUFJ will sign onto additional issues that reflect our values and are important to our allies at a lower intensity. Additional issues will be added to the list after being evaluated by our statewide strategy teams.

  • Defend sick leave
  • No mandatory minimum sentences
  • Reform solitary confinement
  • Fair taxes for all
  • Renters’ rights
  • Prescription drug affordability

Additional Issues

Thanks to everyone who was part of our 2019 General Assembly legislative session work! The following issues were our priority issues for the 2019 session, which ended in April. 

JUFJ 2019 Maryland Legislative Agenda

Priority Agenda
Economic Justice for Working Marylanders

We are committed to ending our state’s mistreatment of poor and working people and eliminating decades of structurally reproduced poverty.

1. Raising the Minimum Wage to $15/hour
2. Safe Housing and Fair Treatment for All Renters

Equal Justice Under the Law

We are committed to dismantling systems that reinforce discrimination and we demand equitable treatment for marginalized and working-class communities.

1. Trust and Safety for our Immigrant Neighbors
2. Limiting the Use of Solitary Confinement
3. Defending and Expanding Bail Reform
4. Reducing Mass Incarceration

Regional Issues

Baltimore City – Water

Passed a ban on selling Baltimore residents’ water debt at tax sale (this includes all residential property and houses of worship)!

Baltimore City – Police Accountability

Making the Baltimore Police Department a City agency passed the House but failed in the Senate. We do have commitments from the three senators in the City Delegation who opposed (Ferguson, Hayes, and McCray) that they will work with us in the interim to draft a bill that they can support in 2020. Unfortunately, a bill to create a private, unaccountable police force for Johns Hopkins University passed and was signed into law. Every Black faculty member and more than 70% of students opposed this bill.

Montgomery County –  Renters’ Rights

Passed a just cause eviction bill out of the Montgomery County House delegation. While it failed to pass the Environment and Transportation Committee, this is an exciting fist step to passing a significant progressive renters’ rights bill in Annapolis.

Other Issues

Wins

Same-Day Voter Registration (HB172)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Signed by Governor

This bill carries out the will of the people of the state of Maryland, who voted overwhelmingly in support of the same day voter registration ballot question in the 2018 election, which JUFJ endorsed. 

Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB516/HB1158)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Became law without Governor’s signature

The bill would mandate that the state’s electric utilities get 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030.

SNAP Summer Benefits (SB218/HB338)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Became law without Governor’s signature

This bill would require the state to help cover the summer gap in federal food assistance for children who receive SNAP benefits.

Gender Neutral ID Bill (SB196/HB421)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Became law without Governor’s signature

This bill would require an “X” option for sex on driver’s licenses and other IDs. 

Public information from 9-1-1 calls (HB215/SB5)

JUFJ position: OPPOSE in original form, SUPPORT after amendment
Bill status: Signed by Governor

This bill would have damaged police transparency and accountability, but after amendment it authorized a custodian of records to grant inspection of part of 9-1-1 communications.

Safe Schools Maryland Act (SB165/HB148)

JUFJ position: OPPOSE
Bill status: Amended House version died in Senate

This bill would have set up the framework for an anonymous tip line exempt from disclosure under the Public Information Act (PIA). There is no way to know if such a tip line is being used discriminatorily or if all claims are being handled with the same amount of urgency. 

Losses

Renter Protections for Marijuana (SB862)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Died in Senate Committee

This bill would prohibit a landlord from denying a patient a lease because of their medical cannabis prescription.

Paid Leave for State Contractual Employees (HB491)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Withdrawn

This bill would provide some paid leave to all state contractors.

Public notice of police disciplinary hearings (HB1382)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Died in Senate Committee

This bill would provide advance notice and an agenda for all public police disciplinary hearings. It would make the record of the hearing and the decision of the hearing board available to the public upon request.

Formal Complaints Against Police (HB413)

JUFJ position: SUPPORT
Bill status: Withdrawn

This bill would have classified complaints of misconduct by a public employee as not personnel records. The bill was amended to only apply to police, but was then withdrawn by the bill sponsor to defer to the Judiciary chairman’s bill (HB1382). 

Related Events

Maryland Staff