Learn more about the ACLU of Maryland’s 2014 legislative priorities


CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland, 410-889-8555; media@aclu-md.org 


ANNAPOLIS – Today, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law five bills that were priorities for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland during the 2014 General Assembly session. These included Senate Bill 364 to replace criminal penalties with civil fines for possessing small amounts of marijuana; SB 698 to require law enforcement get a warrant based on probable cause prior to obtaining mobile phone tracking information; House Bill 912 to protect the privacy of electronic communications by requiring a warrant before it can be disclosed to law enforcement; and HB 27 to impose restrictions on the shackling of pregnant incarcerated women during labor, delivery, and post-partum recovery.



SB 364, lead sponsors Senators Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) and Allan Kittleman (R-Howard): CRIMINAL LAW – POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA – CIVIL OFFENSE. 


Sara Love, ACLU of Maryland Policy Director: "This measure will prevent tens of thousands of Marylanders from facing life-altering criminal penalties simply for possessing marijuana, which most Marylanders believe should be legally taxed and regulated. For too long, Maryland's counterproductive marijuana laws have resulted in a racially disparate approach of stopping, searching, and arresting people for possession of marijuana. May we now move away from that failed approach, which wastes resources, hurts communities, and erodes trust with law enforcement.”



SB 698, lead sponsors Senator Christopher Shank (R-Washington) and Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery): CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – ELECTRONIC DEVICE LOCATION INFORMATION – ORDER. 

SB 699, lead sponsors Senator Christopher Shank (R-Washington) and Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery): AUTOMATIC LICENSE PLATE READERS AND CAPTURED PLATE DATA – AUTHORIZED USES. 

HB 912, lead sponsors Delegates Michael Smigiel (R-Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne’s), Alfred Carr (D-Montgomery), Samuel Rosenberg (D-Baltimore City), and Jeffrey Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery): COURTS – ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS – PRIVACY. 


Sara Love, ACLU of Maryland Policy Director: “This package of privacy bills are important first steps that advance Marylanders’ personal liberty without sacrificing security.” 

HB 912: “This bill brings our communications privacy laws into the 21st century, and makes clear that state law enforcement can't access our email or other electronic communications without a warrant no matter how or where it is stored: in the cloud or on our computer.  Federal law still needs to catch up, which is why the ACLU is pressing Congress to pass the E-mail Privacy Act (HR 1852).”

SB 698: “This legislation is an important first step in ensuring that the government can't use our cell phones as personal tracking devices.  It prohibits state law enforcement from getting location information about our phones in real time without a warrant.  Going forward, it also will be important for the legislature to require a warrant for law enforcement to access the historical location data that all cellular providers keep about our movements.”  

SB 699: “We are pleased that legislature has started to take note of the significant privacy implications of automated license plate readers, and we look forward to working in future years to enact more far reaching reforms on how the data is gathered, used, and stored.”



HB 27, lead sponsors Delegate M. Washington and Senator Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery): CORRECTIONAL SERVICES – HEALTHY BIRTHS FOR INCARCERATED WOMEN ACT. 


Sara Love, ACLU of Maryland Policy Director: “This is a proud moment when Maryland is turning decisively away from the inhumane, dangerous, and unnecessary practice of shackling pregnant women. Maryland now has a statewide law to ensure that pregnant women are protected against this barbaric practice.”