2020 Legislative Session

The Maryland General Assembly will end session on Wednesday, 3/18. A special session will take place in May.


Learn more about the bills we're prioritizing during the 2020 session and get the latest updates below. 

Check out this handy one-pager with all the bills!


Expungement Expansion | HOME Act  | Minors' Consent to Shelter and Services | Overdose Prevention Site 

Expungement Expansion: HB1343 

Similar to the Expungement Expansion bill we supported last year, this version will expand the misdemeanors and felonies eligible for expungement and add eligibility for certain additional charges.

Why we continue to support the bill:

  • An estimated 1.5 million Marylanders, nearly 25% of the state’s population, have a criminal record that may surface in a routine background check.
  • A criminal record can serve as an insurmountable barrier to getting a job, housing and other critical resources, even if the record did not result in a conviction.
  • Streamlining criminal record expungement can significantly improve our clients’ opportunities for housing and employment.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act: HB 231/SB 530

Local versions passed in 2019, including in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and it's time to make it state-wide. This bill prohibits landlords and other property owners from discriminating against someone seeking housing based on their source of income. “Source of income” means any lawful source of funds used to rent or purchase housing, including:

  1. Lawful employment
  2. Any government or private assistance, grant, loan or rental assistance program
  3. Any gift, inheritance, pension, annuity, alimony or child support

Why we support the bill:

  • Tens of thousands of Maryland families use housing choice (section 8) vouchers (and tens of thousands more are on waiting lists). When they are excluded from housing, they end up on the street, in shelters, doubled up and their overall health suffers.
  • Ending housing discrimination helps create more mixed-income communities and greater affordable housing for all.
  • It promotes fair housing by expanding housing opportunities and deconcentrating poverty.

Latest updates:  This bill is moving forward for the first time in over two decades! The Senate passed the Home Act and the House Committee passed their version of the bill with bipartisan support on 2/27. We expect a vote from the full House in the coming week.

     

     


    minors' Right to consent to Shelter and Services: HB 206/SB 207

    Last year our advocacy resulted in a workgroup dedicated to this issue. This year’s bill incorporates that workgroup's recommendations—allowing an unaccompanied minor experiencing or at risk of homelessness (as well as the minor’s child or children) to consent to admission to an emergency shelter or housing program and receive related services.

    Why we support the bill:

    • Youth experiencing homelessness who are not connected with family face significant barriers to the receiving housing, health care and other crucial services.
    • Obtaining parental consent usually isn't possible.
    • Providing housing and supportive services to unaccompanied youth is a critical step toward ending their homelessness.

    Latest updates: This bill was unanimously passed by the Senate Committee on 2/27.  


      Overdose Prevention Site Program Authorization: HB 464/SB 990

      This bill authorizes up to six 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. The sites would be authorized in two urban areas, two suburban areas and two rural across Maryland.

      Why we support the bill:

      • For decades, our policies have taken a zero-tolerance approach to drug use, shaming drug users and excluding them from care. We know that approach simply doesn't work.
      • Overdose Prevention Sites help redefine the way we treat substance use and make the health and safety of the user the number one priority.
      • Sites like these have been proven to reduce spread of disease and to improve the overall health of substance users.
        • Out of 150 sites around the world, some of which have been operated since the 1980’s, there have been zero overdose deaths inside those centers
        • Overdose Prevention Site Video Series - Bridges Coalition 
      •  They connect substance users with services like counseling while saving money and resources by reducing use of emergency medical services.

      Updates:

      March 3, 2020: Read President and CEO Kevin Lindamood's op-ed on the importance of Overdose Prevention Sites in The Baltimore Sun.


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