During the 2017 State legislative session, WDC submitted testimony on 24 bills related to WDC’s priority issue areas. Many of these bills were sponsored or co-sponsored by our Montgomery County Senators or
Delegates. Thirteen bills were passed by the State legislature and enacted into law.
- Children: Legislation passed to prohibit the expulsion of children in pre-K to grade 2 under certain circumstances, expand the summer meals in schools program, modify and clarify the secondary schools classroom breakfast program, and establish a dispute resolution process for child care providers and parents of children with disabilities. Legislation did not pass to raise the minimum marriage age with parental consent from 15 to 18 years.
- Criminal Justice: Legislation passed to clarify and modernize Maryland’s rape statute. Legislation did not pass to enable rape victims to terminate their rapist’s parental rights, establish a mechanism to ensure convicted domestic violence offenders surrender their firearms, prohibit life sentences without parole for juveniles who commit crimes while they are under 18 years of age, allow local audits of sexual assault cases, and standardize police “sexual assault” best practices training.
- Health: Legislation passed to establish a family planning program to ensure continuity of family planning services if Planned Parenthood is defunded, express sharp disagreement with the repeal of the ACA, establish the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission to assess the impact of potential federal ACA changes and make recommendations, prohibit certain antimicrobial drugs from being administered to livestock, prohibit hydraulic fracturing in Maryland, expand opioid prevention and treatment, and develop training and programs to address mental health needs of women, including perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
- Working Families: Legislation passed to require a market analysis and adjustment of Maryland’s child care subsidy program rates every two years, and require a determination of how child care subsidies rates should be set to support equal access and a basic level of quality. Legislation passed to enable workers to earn seven paid sick days each year to recover from an illness, seek medical care, care for a sick family member or deal with the effects of sexual violence, but was vetoed by the Governor. Legislation did not pass to ensure fair scheduling for workers, prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information or paying less than the advertised wage, and require the State minimum wage to increase to $15 per hour by July 1, 2023.
During 2017, WDC advocated for two County bills. County Bill 12-16 proposed increasing the Montgomery County hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2020. The bill was approved by a 5-4 Council vote but was vetoed by County Executive Ike Leggett. County Bill 32-16 permits County employees to use their earned sick and safe leave for parental leave as well. The Bill passed by a 9-0 Council Vote and was signed into law.