Top Priority Bills Need Action
As all of our priority bills have been heard in the House and Senate, all attention turns to the committees that must vote them out to the floor of their respective chambers. Very few of our bills have passed out of committee, and we need calls and emails to the committees listed below to get some of the most important bills moving. Please ask your Senator and Delegates to vote for a favorable report on the following bills.
Death with Dignity
End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger 'Pip' Moyer Act) - Like the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, this bill would allow terminally ill state residents to obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for self-administered, lethal medications if they are: (1) an adult (18 years of age or older), (2) a resident of the state, (3) competent to make and communicate health care decisions, (4) diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months, and (5) able to self-administer the medication. The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis and determine whether the patient is capable and his/her judgment is not impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder.
HB 399 & SB 311 – both are before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
Health - Prescription Drug Affordability Board - Creates a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, an independent body with the authority to evaluate high cost drugs and set reasonable rates for Marylanders to pay. The Board will look at prescription drugs with costs that greatly impact Marylanders, including high-cost, brand name medications.
SB 759 – Senate Finance Committee
Public Safety - Access to Firearms - Storage Requirements - Further limits access to firearms for children, better defines how a firearm should be stored to deny access to an unsupervised child, requires the storage of unloaded firearms as well as loaded guns, and raises the age to 18.
HB 468– House Judiciary Committee
Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing [a collection of 4 bills - 3 still awaiting committee votes]
- HB0745/SB0809 - Would prohibit placing a pregnant woman involuntarily into medical isolation. The Maryland Correctional Institute for Women currently moves women to isolation during the last 6 weeks of pregnancy, despite there being no medical rationale, and places Baltimore City women temporarily housed pre-trial in isolation at the beginning of the second trimester.
- HB1002 - Would prohibit inmates being released back into their communities directly from restrictive housing without substantive transitional planning and resocialization. Over the past 3 years 834 individuals have been released who are ill-prepared for their reentry. This represents a potential public safety threat.
- HB1029 - Would limit the amount of time an individual who has been identified as having a serious mental illness can be placed in restrictive housing to not more than 15 days absent compelling circumstances.
HB 745, 1002, 1029 – House Judiciary Committee
HB 913/SB 817 - Correctional Facilities and Police Officers – Procedures – Immigration Status - Would prohibit a correctional facility from detaining a person beyond the state law’s release date or notifying federal immigration authorities of a person’s release date or location without receipt of a federal judicial warrant. The bill also provides that during a stop, a search or an arrest conducted in the performance of a regular police functions, a police officer may not inquire about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status or place of birth. The intent is to disentangle law enforcement agencies from Federal immigration enforcement efforts, particularly U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) use of administrative warrants, called detainers, (issued by ICE officers, not judges) to hold an individual in custody for 48 hours, despite the fact that in most cases the individual is charged only with a minor traffic or misdemeanor offense.
HB913 – House Judiciary Committee