Halfway There! Legislative Session Update - March 8

 

 

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Can you believe it? We are already halfway through the General Assembly session!

 

We've kept you updated on our work on cell phone location tracking, trans equality, and audio recording on buses -but there is much more!

 

Already, 2013 has been a busy and promising year for the ACLU of Maryland and civil liberties:

 

  • Death Penalty Repeal - Historic Progress! This week the Maryland Senate passed the death penalty repeal bill, by a strong, bipartisan vote of 27 to 20. And today, on March 8, the repeal bill passed the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee 14-8! The legislation will now move to the floor of  House of Delegates, where we hopeful it will garner the support needed to send it to Governor O'Malley's desk.

 

  • Marijuana Decriminalization - Maryland's overly punitive and racially biased approach to marijuana possession simply does not work and wastes taxpayer money. That is why this session the ACLU testified in favor of reform that would make the use or possession of marijuana a civil, rather than criminal, offense.

 

  • Funding for Baltimore Schools - ACLU helped to organize a rally in Annapolis that was 3000 people strong! We were tremendously inspired by the parents, students, and community members who came to support the innovative 10-year renovation plan for healthy, safe schools in Baltimore.

 

  • Women's Rights - The ACLU has strongly supported two important bills impacting the rights of pregnant women in Maryland.
    • One bill would ban the shackling of women during labor in prison. The ACLU believes that giving birth in chains is inhumane, dangerous, and unnecessary.
    • The ACLU also testified in favor of equality for pregnant women in the workplace. The proposed legislation would allow pregnant women to receive the same accommodations that are currently provided to other employees with temporary physical restrictions.

 

  • Indefinite Detention (NDAA) - The ACLU supports a bill to prohibit state officials and employees from knowingly aiding indefinite detentions under the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA authorizes the indefinite detention of people located far from any battlefield - without charge or trial - based on suspicion alone. That kind of sweeping detention power is completely at odds with our American values, violates the Constitution, and corrodes our Nation's commitment to the rule of law

 

  • Student Social Media Privacy - Our legislative team has been working hard to protecting student privacy and freedom of speech. The ACLU testified in support of prohibiting schools from requiring students, or applicants, to give up their passwords to private accounts so that the school could monitor (or censor) their communications.

 

Stay tuned for another update next Friday as we roll up our sleeves and tackle the second half of the 2013 legislative session!

 

Written by Sana Javed, Communications Associate

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