Priorities for 2020
Gun Violence Prevention & Peace Building
Blueprint for Maryland's Future | SB1030 (2019)
Friends join Strong Schools MD, Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform, American Civil Liberties Union, and others to advocate for funding to help end Maryland’s “school-to-prison-pipeline” with better schools in poor communities, alternatives to expulsion, and vocational training of at-risk students. The first 3 years of funding for the Blueprint was passed in 2019; this year the focus is to secure funding for the whole Blueprint.
More information: https://bit.ly/36WlxQz
Criminal Justice & Prison Reform
Requiring Transitional Processes from Solitary Confinement | HB740, SB999
This bill requires that individuals in solitary confinement receive transition/re-entry services before they are released to the public, reversing a practice that is a public safety threat. This bill failed to be voted on by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee before end-of-session in 2019 and is being re-introduced in 2020.
Restrictive Housing Reform Act | HB742, SB1002
This bill would greatly limit the use of solitary confinement/restrictive housing for inmates with certain serious mental illness; when restrictive housing is used the placement cannot exceed 15 days and requires daily assessments.
More information: https://www.interfaithactionhr.org/4th_advocacy_day_in_annapolis
Rewarding Educational Milestones | SB971
This would require Maryland prisons provide inmates with credits that can reduce their time served when they attain major educational milestones such as satisfactory completion of a course or achieving a diploma.
More information; https://www.ma4jr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/EducationCredits.pdf
Changing the Felony-Murder Rule | HB1308, SB919
Under Maryland’s “felony-murder” rule, if any person dies – even accidently – in connection with a felony, all who participated in the felony may be punished for 1st degree murder with life sentences, just like the actual killer, even if other participants didn’t kill and didn’t intend this. One study has found that women and youth are convicted disproportionately under the felony-murder rule. Felony-murder sentences, thus, are unjust, and their costs to taxpayers is enormous. Friends can help to change the felony-murder rule in Maryland in 2020.
More information: https://www.ma4jr.org/felony-murder-rule/
Climate Solutions Act of 2020 - Greenhouse Gas Emmissions Reducation Act | SB0926, HB1425
This legislation would change Maryland law so that our state would be required to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2030 and be net zero by 2045. It will also require Maryland Department for the Environment to create a Climate Justice Workgroup to identify frontline and disadvantaged communities and ensure equitable investment.
More information: https://bit.ly/31ws8QQ
Climate Crisis and Education Act | SB0912
This legislation would charge fossil fuel companies and revenue generated from those charges would be invested in clean energy infrastructure improvements, protect low- and moderate-income households from financial harm, and invest $350 million annually to help fund the Kirwan Commission's recommendations for education.
More information: https://bit.ly/38mVpQu
Immigration Civil Rights
Override of the Dream Act Veto | SB537 (2019) | Successfully overrode 1/30/20
In 2019 the Governor vetoed a bill that would have expanded the Maryland Dream Act by removing some requirements for immigrant students to receive in-state college tuition; this 2019 veto has the opportunity to be overrode the current session. This bill was successfully overrode in January 2020.
More information: https://bit.ly/3b9a9Ed