MD Legislature: Bills of Interest

MD Legislature: Bills of Interest

Here are some bills that may interest you and reflect our Unitarian Universalist values If you are so inclined, you may want to contact your legislators to let them know and to encourage them to vote in favor.

Our value of promoting and affirming Justice, Equity and Compassion in Human Relations

HB214/SB144: Victims and Witnesses – U Nonimmigrant Status – Certification of Victim Helpfulness

Hearing scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee, February 5, Room 100 House Office Building.
Howard County Legislators: Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, District 13; Sen. Katie Fry Hester, District 9

The bill requires authorized law enforcement officials to certify the helpfulness of a victim or witness in the prosecution of a crime in a petition for a U Immigrant Visa within 90 days. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will grant a temporary (2 years) visa to foreign nationals who are victims of qualifying criminal activity and their qualifying family members. The list of qualifying criminal activity is extensive. The visa may be extended. The obvious purpose is to remove the reluctance of undocumented immigrants to report crimes and help to build trust between the law enforcement and immigrant communities and create safer communities for all. For more information, visit: Human Rights Watch reports that many immigrants are afraid to call 911

HB262: Higher Education – Tuition Rates – Exemptions

Hearing scheduled in the House Appropriations Committee, February 5 House Office Building, Room 120
Howard County Legislators: Trent Kittleman, District 9A; Jen Terrasa, District 13

This bill expands the 2012 Dream Act. In the previously enacted legislation, an undocumented student could attend a four-year public college at in-state tuition rates after first graduating from a community college in the same jurisdiction as her high school. The expansion removes the community college and jurisdictional requirements, allowing undocumented students to attend 4-year public colleges at in-state tuition rates.

HB224:  State and Local Government – Correctional Units – Detention Agreements and Contracting for Privatization of Facilities

Hearing scheduled in the House Health and Government Operations Committee, February 5, House Office Building, Room 240
Howard County Legislators: Shane Pendergrass, District 13; Terri Hill, District 12

Although there are no privately-run prisons in Maryland, this bill prohibits state and local correctional units from contracting out various services including the ownership, operation and management of detention facilities and prohibits any facility from entering into a detention agreement for reimbursement at a rate greater than a state-determined per diem rate.
Currently, detention facilities may have intergovernmental service agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement with per diem rates that may exceed the state-determined level. The bill is intended to ensure that the purpose of detention facilities is for public safety and not for the purpose of enhancing local county revenues. The bill could result in counties with agreements with ICE to end the agreements. On the other hand, such effect could cause the relocation of detainees to areas where visitation by families and attorneys would be more difficult.

Our value of promoting and affirming respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person

HB399: End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act)

Hearing scheduled 2/15, 1:30 PM in the Department of Legislative Services Joint Hearing Room, for the House Health and Government Operations Committee
Howard County Legislators: Shane Pendergrass, District 13; Terri Hill, District 12

If you are planning on testifying, you will need to sign up in front of the Health and Government Operations Committee (HGO) room.  You can start to sign up at 4:00pm the afternoon before the hearing.  The sign up ends at 12:30pm on the day of the hearing.   Please coordinate your testimony with Donna Smith, at Compassion and Choices so there is no duplication.
This bill (also known as Death with Dignity) allows a competent resident of Maryland diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within 6 months to self-administer a lethal medication prescribed by a licensed Maryland physician.

For more information about UUCC’s Immigration Team, please contact Jim Caldiero or Tammy Spengler at For more information about the UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland Immigration Task Force or UULMMD in general, contact


  1. Ken Stevens

    Updates/corrections on legislation:
    (1) It’s only HB214 that had the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee today (Feb. 5).
    Its twin (SB144) had its hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Jan. 31.
    State Senator Katie Fry Hester of Howard’s LD9 is a member of the latter committee.
    2) The twin of HB224 is SB742, which is in the Judicial Proceeding Committee and has not yet been scheduled for hearing.
    (3) The twin of HB262 is SB537, whose prime sponsor is Senator Clarence Lam of Howard County. It is scheduled for hearing on Feb. 20 in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee room (2 West Miller) starting at 1PM. Senator Lam of LD12 is a member of that committee.
    (4) While HB399 (the End of Life Option Act) is indeed scheduled for hearing in the Joint Hearing Room of the Legislative Services Building starting at 1:30PM on Friday, Feb. 15, But there are two House committees involved in the joint hearing: Health & Gov. Operations (HGO) and Judiciary. Both would need to be lobbied. The twin of HB399 is SB311 and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is holding a hearing on it in Room 2 East of the Miller Senate Building starting at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

  2. Suzi Gerb

    I hope people will also support bills SB0196 and HB0421 which are important bills for transgender rights. They allow non-binary people to list their gender as “unspecified” on drivers licenses and remove the requirement for trans people to “prove” their gender.

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