We SUPPORT all bills that guarantee fair and livable minimum wages, affordable healthcare and childcare and those bills that breakdown barriers to entry into the revenue stream that promises to come from the legalized marijuana industry and green jobs.
• SB 622 Fight for a $15 minimum wage
• HB2 and SB39 The Natalie M. Laprade Medical Cannabis Commission Reform Act and its counterpart mandating the commission be made up of a diverse group representing Maryland’s diversity.
• We support the Healthcare for All and the Affordable Prescriptions legislation. There are no bill numbers yet.
• The Clean Energy Jobs Initiative will ensure African Americans have equal opportunities and job training opportunities to access the growing green jobs industry. No bill numbers yet.
• SB266/HB716 Maryland Health Care Commission – Mortality Rates of African American Infants and Infants in Rural Areas –creates a commission to explore causes/contributing factors to infant mortality in rural areas in addition to known factors such as access to prenatal care and nutrition.
• HB26/SB133– Community Healthy Air Act- Establishing the Committee on Air Quality to create an air quality sampling and monitoring protocol for the collection of air quality and public health data associated with certain large animal-feeding operations
• SB169-Prescription drug and medical supply access and affordability workgroup
• Hyper-locally, we have SB147/HB94 to support the Lighthouse Bistro and Culinary Training Center and SB25 to support the Lighthouse Homeless Prevention Support Center
We SUPPORT bills that improve our state’s ability to treat incarcerated people and those accused of crimes with dignity and fairness:
• SB598 requires that Women’s correctional facilities supply inmates with adequate supply feminine hygiene products.
• SB629 Provides a handbook to inmates pregnant upon intake as to what they can expect for prenatal care while incarcerated.
• SB249 The Lifer’s Bill – We support taking the governor’s signature out of the parole process. The state appoints a parole commission to do this job. Let’s take politics out of the process and let these people make the decision we have asked them to make.
• SB 484 Pretrial Release – Fees: Removes the fees one has to pay to be released prior to a trial
• SB 617 Sentencing – Primary Caretaker: sets a standard that judges will take into account if an offender is a primary caretaker, in cases of non violent and non serious offenses.
We STRONGLY SUPPORT equitable funding for HBCUs. Courts have found over and over again, including in a decision just this past fall, that Maryland’s four public HBCUs have been underfunded as compared to the traditionally white public institutions, and legislation is urgently needed to rectify this.
In addition to being a key priority for both our Anne Arundel county branch and the Maryland state NAACP, this is the #1 priority for the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus.
There are two bills that have been submitted to address this funding gap. Currently, only one Anne Arundel County representative is cosponsoring one of these bills (Rep. Rosapepe, who represents a district partially in Anne Arundel County and partially in Prince George’s County).
• HB450/SB252, Blount-Rawlings Britt HBI Comparability Program
• HB1062/SB827, HBCU Equity Act of 2018
We SUPPORT strengthening and clarifying hate crime laws:
• HB 246 – Hate Crimes – Threats and Penalties The bill addresses certain key aspects of hate crimes by defining certain groups and individuals as potential targets of hate crimes. This allows for instances like the noose hanging at Crofton High School to be considered targeting a group of people. This is important because the Court’s Decision was that no individual was targeted by this outrageous act.
• What the bill is lacking is a clear definition of the types of acts that constitute a hate crime. Such as a noose, burning cross, swastika, white hood (KKK), or hanging effigies targeting a specific culture, race or ethnic group. It is further recommended that affected persons be expanded to specifically include any group of two or more persons whether part of a formal or informal gathering or group as well as a school, nonprofit organization, community, neighborhood or other group gathering. The NAACP is asking for an amendment to the bill which addresses these definitions.
• HB 700 – Criminal Law – Hate Crimes – Group Victim The bill is currently scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee of the House on February 20, at 1 pm. Much like HB 242, this bill is a step in the right direction but lacks clear definitions such as those outlined above. The NAACP is asking for an amendment to the bill which addresses these definitions.
We STRONGLY OPPOSE and request unfavorable reports on:
• SB225– Senator Hough’s bill increases time prior to eligibility for parole from 15 to 25 years. Increasing the time someone serves to be eligible for parole, does not keep us safer. Longer prison sentences do nothing to enhance public safety. They perpetuate the cycle of crime. They take fathers and mothers out of their children’s lives forever for something they did a decade ago. There needs to be some chance for redemption for people that make mistakes. We’re not saying to just let everyone out of jail, that’s not reasonable, but don’t make it impossible for anyone that can turn their life around to have a second chance.
• HB100, 101 and 102, Cross filed as SB197,198, and 199. These bills are Governor Hogan’s emergency bills in response to the increase in violence in Baltimore City. The only thing this reactionary, stop-gap legislation makes us better at is warehousing people. There is nothing in any of these bills that can be shown to keep any of us safer. We have an epidemic happening, right here in Maryland, of the mass incarceration of black and brown people. Twenty-nine percent of Maryland’s population is African American, yet 77% of Maryland’s JAIL population is African American. Where are the emergency bills to solve that problem? The NAACP would like to go on record declaring this worthy of a slate of emergency bills. Where is the Supportive Re-entry for Returning Citizens to Prevent Recidivism Act of 2018? Punitive measures don’t make us safer. There are no studies that prove longer prison sentences keep us safer. Trying juveniles as adults does not keep us safer, it locks up kids that made a bad decision, and while they are in jail, it turns them into better criminals.
• SB346 Death Penalty Reinstatement. The NAACP has a long and consistent stance against the death penalty. The death penalty is plagued with racial disparities and it does not improve the safety of our communities.
• SB 472: Public Safety – Permit to Wear, Carry, or Transport a Handgun – Expiration and Renewal. OPPOSE. Sen Hough’s bill that didn’t make it last year to extend the time between renewals etc.