Last week in Annapolis was a busy one, find below some highlights of what we accomplished together...
Protective Order Press Conference: HB 307
Last week, as shown in the picture above, members of the House Judiciary Committee and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown held a press conference to announce the passage of HB 307, Peace and Protective Orders-Burden of Proof, which seeks to make it easier for victims of abuse to receive a civil protection order. This bill changes the standard of proof from “clear and convincing evidence to a preponderance of the evidence.”
Prior to this bill, Maryland was the only state in the nation that had the clear and convincing standard for receiving protective orders. This situation has made it very difficult for victims of domestic violence to receive the protection they need. Last year 5,700 orders were requested but 3,500 of these were denied because they could not meet the standard of “clear and convincing evidence.”
The Maryland Senate passed the cross-file of this bill ( SB 333) this past February and I am very happy that the Judiciary Committee has also taken this step in joining other states to protect all Marylanders and make our families and communities safer.
Transgender Hearing: HB 1265
On Tuesday, the Maryland Senate passed a bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, which bans discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, and public places.
The measure, approved on a 32-15 vote, defines gender identity as the gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth. In the legislation, gender identity can be demonstrated by “consistent and uniform assertion of the person’s gender identity or any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of the person’s core identity.”
Last week, I testified on this bill before the Health and Government Operations Committee. Transgender people commonly face a wide variety of discriminatory barriers to full equality. I am very optimistic that this will be the year we get a non-discrimination law enacted to protect the rights of everyone.
Community Safety Meeting
In light of the tragic death of Kimberly Leto and other crime related issues in our neighborhoods, I would like to invite you all to the next meeting in our series of discussions about public safety in our neighborhoods. The State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, Mr. Gregg Bernstein, and Mr. Sam Abed, Secretary for the Department of Juvenile Services, will be in attendance to answer your questions and address your concerns.
The meeting will take place at the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Churchlocated at 2638 E Baltimore St, MD 21224; March 19th at 7pm. If you have any questions prior to the meeting please do not hesitate to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child care will also be provided but parents please RSVP for childcare well in advance of the event. Please email Beth Laverick at email@example.com.
I hope to see everyone there so we can further discuss how to make our communities a safer place to live.
Thanks for all of your help,