Maryland's 2024 Legislative Session is here
Over the next 90 days, we will advocate for budget items and policies that help end homelessness through expanding access to care, harm reduction, housing and justice. Check back often for updates!
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.
Bills we support in 2024!
Access to Health Care
Access to Care Act | HB728 + SB705
- To allow immigrants, regardless of immigration status, to purchase health insurance plans through Maryland's insurance market.
- From 2023: Watch Population Health Nurse Shannon Riley testify in favor (1:07:05)
- Bill Hearing: 2/21
Legally Protect Gender-Affirming Treatment | SB0119 + HB0691
- 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.
- Bill Hearing: 3/8 (Senate)
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.
- Bill Hearing: 3/14 (House)
- Join the CHW Rally: Friday, March 15 from 6-8pm in Lawyer's Mall (Annapolis) to raise awareness about CHWs and urge passage of the bill
Harm Reduction Practices
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 new Q&A with RN Kathy Pretl and Senior Peer Recovery Specialist Vicky Stewart about their visit to an operating Overdose Prevention Site in NYC.
- From 2023: Watch MAT RN Sarah Barry testify (around 1:53:00)
- From 2023: Watch Senior Peer Recovery Specialist Vicky Stewart testify (around 1:04:18)
- Bill Hearing: 2/20 (Senate)
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. Last year, HB173 passed in the House but did not make it through the Senate.
- From 2023: Watch Medical Provider Katharine Billipp testify (around 2:44:40)
- Upcoming hearing: Tuesday, February 13 at 1pm in the House Judiciary Committee. Email Director of Public Policy Joanna Diamond if you are interested in submitting testimony.
Take Action: Join Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition for the 7th annual Harm Reduction Advocacy Night on Friday, March 1.
Create Rental Assistance for School Families | SB370 + HB428
- 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.
Enable local "Just Cause" Eviction Prevention | HB477 + SB644
- Helps provide renters with the protections they need from unjust, discriminatory, and arbitrary eviction.
- Take Action: Sign the RUM petition to protect renters from unscrupulous landlords
- Read District 20 Representative Jheanelle Wilkins' Op Ed supporting Just Cause laws in The Baltimore Banner
Tenant Safety Act | SB946 + HB1117
- This bill will allow groups of tenants to join together to sue for repairs of dangerous housing defects common to multiple units. In 2023, a version of this bill passed the House but not the Senate.
- Bill hearing: 3/7 (Senate)
See our 2023 priorities and where they landed
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How your story helps
"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