2024 Legislative Session 

Maryland's 2024 Legislative Session is over! See where the bills we advocated for landed.

Our priorities are...

  • informed by our mission, core values and principles of racial equity & inclusion.
  • amplified in partnership with like-minded coalitions including Renters United Maryland, CASA, the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition and the Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition.
  • driven by client experience and on-the-ground staff perspective.  
  • able to move when we have leaders in the legislature who are driven to act.
  • influenced by the issues that gain momentum as the session progresses.

Big wins: These bills passed (and are on the way to the Governor)!

  • Access to Care Act | HB728 + SB705

    • To allow immigrants, regardless of immigration status, to purchase health insurance plans through Maryland's insurance market.
      • Watch Population Health Nurse Shannon Riley testify in favor (1:07:05)
  • Legally Protect Gender-Affirming Treatment | SB0119

    • To protect providers of gender-affirming treatment in Maryland from civil, criminal or disciplinary action from other states or licensing boards.
  • Support Language Access to behavioral health | SB991 

    • To provide grants to local behavioral health authorities to reimburse behavioral health providers for language assistance services for children with limited English proficiency accessing and receiving behavioral health services.

    • This bill creates a $10 million rental assistance program for families whose children are enrolled in community schools and who are facing eviction. Families may receive assistance for up to 12 months. The program is administered by the Department of Education, and eligible families are identified by the on-site community schools coordinator. 

    • This bill will allow groups of tenants to join together to sue for repairs of dangerous housing defects common to multiple units. 
  • Additional Wins

    • $6.4 million in the state budget to expand the Medicaid supportive housing waiver (ACIS)
    • Governor's renters' rights bill | HB 693
    • Governor's density bonus bill | HB 538
    • SNAP benefit increase from $40 to $50 | HB 666 + SB 035
    • 340B protection bill | HB 1056

These bills didn't pass this year...More advocacy ahead!

  • Establish Community Health Worker Appreciation Day | HB0568

    • This bill will establish May 8 as Community Health Worker Appreciation Day; and lift up the importance of CHWs in improving access to care and support. The bill passed the House, but did not pass the Senate.
  • Allow Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) | SB427 + HB1096

    • In 2011, there were 26 recorded deaths just from fentanyl in our state. By 2020, there were 2,342 deaths, with the largest increases in Black and Hispanic communities. We support the introduction of Overdose Prevention Sites in Maryland, where people can use substances with immediate access to life saving interventions, medical care, emotional support and non-judgmental, therapeutic relationships.
      • Read a Q&A with RN Kathy Pretl and Senior Peer Recovery Specialist Vicky Stewart about their visit to an operating Overdose Prevention Site in NYC. 
      • Watch MAT RN Sarah Barry testify (around 1:53:00) and watch Senior Peer Recovery Specialist Vicky Stewart testify (around 1:04:18)
      • Watch Harm Reduction Manager Molly Greenberg, RN testify in favor of OPS (starting at 57:36). “In this system, what we do falls short of what people need and deserve. These deaths are preventable, and every single one is a policy failure.”
  • Decriminalize Drug Paraphernalia | HB706

    • We support decriminalizing the possession of items that could be used to consume drugs, such as syringes and needles. This saves lives, reduces barriers to housing and employment and prevents the spread of infectious diseases. With our partners at Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition (BHRC), we successfully advocated to pass this bill in 2021. The Governor vetoed it and the General Assembly refused to take up overriding the veto. In 2023, HB173 passed in the House but did not make it through the Senate.
      • Watch Medical Provider Katharine Billipp testify (around 2:44:40)
  • Enable local "Just Cause" Eviction Prevention | HB477 + SB644

    • Helps provide renters with the protections they need from unjust, discriminatory, and arbitrary eviction. This year, the bill (changed to "Good Cause") passed the House but did not pass the Senate. This is the farthest it's gone to date, and we anticipate seeing this bill next year.
      • Read District 20 Representative Jheanelle Wilkins' Op Ed supporting Just Cause laws in The Baltimore Banner

See our 2023 priorities and where they landed

Share your story, experience or perspective

  • Stories can be in the form of an email, a phone call that’s transcribed, a pre-recorded video or a recorded Teams meeting.

  • You can make a difference by sharing your own experience from a staff and/or personal perspective, as a client or supporter.
  • You can encourage others to share their experiences by referring them to advocacy@hchmd.org or directly helping to record their story.  
  • Staff: Reach out to Director of Public Policies Joanna Diamond with any questions.
  • Learn about how to find your legislator, search for a bill, and generally engage during the Maryland General Assembly session here.

How your story helps

  • We can include them in written testimony that will influence the hearings.

  • You might have an opportunity to share your story directly with legislators as part of hearings.
  • We can compile written and recorded stories and share with legislators after the hearings to advocate for their votes in favor of the bill.

"Policies must be driven by the expertise of people with lived experience. Staff and clients sharing real experiences with legislators is the most impactful way to influence legislation. Together, we can make a more just Maryland.”

- Joanna Diamond, Director of Public Policy

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All Rights Reserved.


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Phone: 410-837-5533


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