2018 – MCASA Legislative Priorities

The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) is a non-profit membership organization that includes all of the State’s seventeen rape crisis centers, law enforcement, mental health and health care providers, attorneys, educators, survivors of sexual violence and other concerned individuals.  MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), a statewide legal services provider for survivors of sexual assault.  MCASA represents the unified voice and combined energy of all of its members working to eliminate sexual violence in the State of Maryland.

The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) supports legislation that promotes justice for survivors of sexual violence, accountability for offenders, and protection for the general public.  Click below for 2018's Legislative Priorities.

Priorities

2018 Legislative Priorities

Rape Survivor Family Protection Act – HB1/SB2

 

Current law gives rapists who cause a child to be conceived the same rights as other biological parents. Additionally, if a rapist-parent cannot be located, current law requires that the victim’s name be published in the newspaper.  MCASA continues to support legislation to limit the parental rights of rapists when the child was conceived through rape and to increase protections for rape survivors who have a child conceived through rape.

We stand firm in our commitment to enacting legislation with a clearing and convincing standard of evidence.  This is the same standard used in other family law cases that result in the termination of parental rights.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegates Kathleen Dumais and Michael E Busch; Senators Brian Feldman, Susan Lee, and Mike Miller.

Access to HIV Prophylaxis for Rape and Child Sexual Abuse Survivors – HB639/SB731 

 

Maryland currently pays for medical expenses of sexual assault survivors related to the assault, but refuses reimbursement for HIV prophylaxis beyond the first packet of medication.  This creates significant barriers for survivors.  This bill will clarify that n-PEP must be provided when appropriate. Sponsors:  Delegate Aruna Miller and Senator Brian Feldman. 

Past Bad Acts – HB301/SB270 (also HB353/SB298 only if amended) 

This bill expands admissibility of prior acts of sexual abuse or sexual assault in later sex crimes cases.  MCASA worked with Vice-Chair Kathleen Dumais, House Judiciary Committee, and State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, to renew a request to the Rules Committee of the Maryland Judiciary asking that they address this issue.  Rules of evidence are traditionally the responsibility of the courts, however since the courts are failing to act, the legislature should.  The Administration has a version of this bill (that would need to be amended in order to be effective.  Sponsors:  Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, Senator Jim Brochin.

 

#MeTooMaryland – Sexual Harassment – Waiver of Rights -SB1010/HB__

Prohibiting employers from requiring employees to waive substantive or procedural rights addressing sexual harassment and making such agreements void as against public policy.  Requiring larger employers to report sexual harassment settlements and the number of repeat offenders.  Lead Sponsors:  Senator Craig Zucker and Delegate Kris Valderrama.

College Sexual Assault – Fair Process - SB607/HB913    

A bill codifying fair process in college sexual assault proceedings is anticipated.  This is, in part, to pre-empt efforts by pro-perpetrator groups such as FIRE.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Aruna Miller and Senate TBD.

College Sexual Assault – Transfer Students - SB1027/HB713

Requiring colleges to check the disciplinary records of incoming transfer students to impose conditions upon students who have committed sexual misconduct at their previous school.  Lead Sponsors:  Senator Rich Madeleno and Delegate Marice Morales.

College Sexual Assault -- Training

Requiring training regarding sexual assault, trauma-informed responses, and legal rights and remedies for college personnel.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Shelly Hettleman and Senator Cheryl Kagan.

Middle and High School Students - Education About Boundaries and Consent – HB251/SB402  

Providing age-appropriate education to middle and high school students about the importance of obtaining consent before touching someone else.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Ariana Kelly and Senator Craig Zucker

Child Sexual Abuse – Out of Court Statements – HB192/SB781 with Amendment  

Permitting a child’s first statement regarding child sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect to be admitted into evidence if the statement is made to an adult, reported to authorities, and recorded.  MCASA strongly supports the intent of the bill, but has concerns that requiring that a statement be recorded may lead to inappropriate and harmful coaching.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary and Senator Victor Ramirez.

Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault - Certification of Victim Helpfulness – U Visas – SB581/HB461 

Requiring public officials to respond to requests for a certification of helpfulness within 90 days.  Certifications of helpfulness are used in U Visa applications, which are available to persons in the US without status who are victims of violent crime and assist with prosecution.  Survivors of rape, incest, human trafficking, and other sex crimes are among those eligible.  Lead Sponsors:  Senator Victor Ramirez and Delegate Marice Morales.

  

Human Trafficking – Crime of Violence – HB346/SB297 

Classifying human trafficking against minors or using force as a “crime of violence”; this increases the actual time a convicted trafficker is imprisoned and has other legal effects.  Lead Sponsor: Administration.

  

Earned Safe & Sick Leave – Veto Overidden    

This bill would create a limited right for employees who are survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking to take earned, paid time off to address issues related to the violence.  It would create a similar limited right for paid sick time.  This bill was vetoed by Governor Hogan in 2017 and the General Assembly overrode the veto this session.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Luke Clippinger and Senator Mac Middleton.

Local Sexual Assault Investigation – Audits – HB520/HB178  

Permitting local government to have audits of sexual assault investigations by sexual assault victim services programs; requiring audits when the locality reaches a threshold number of unfounded sexual assault cases; imposing confidentiality requirements on audits.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Pam Queen and Senator Victor Ramirez.

Pre- and Post-trial Stay Away Orders – Criminal Penalties for Violations – SB170/HB388       

Currently, a defendant who violates an order to stay away from a victim pending trial or sentencing does not face criminal penalties unless the case involves sex crimes against a minor.  This bill will expand criminal penalties to all crimes of violence.  Lead Sponsors:  Senator Susan Lee and Delegate Aruna Miller.

Permanent Protective Orders – SB491/HB_____      

Expanding the availability of permanent protective orders. Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Vanessa Atterbury and Senator Delores Kelley

Protective Orders – Definition of Abuse – Technology – SB211/HB328     

Adding the following to the definition of abuse providing the basis for a protective order:  misuse of telephone facilities and equipment, misuse of electronic communication or interactive computer service, revenge porn, and visual surveillance.  Lead Sponsors: Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegate Kathleen Dumais.

Sextortion and Revenge Porn – SB769       

Creating the crime of sextortion and updating Maryland’s revenge porn statute.  Sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them with images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money.  Lead Sponsor:  Senator Bobby Zirkin.

 

To view this document in PDF form, click here.

To view the final 2017 Legislative Priorities, click here

To view the final 2016 Legislative Priorities, click here.

MCASA encourages and appreciates the support of its member programs and allies in Annapolis.  Members with suggestions about MCASA’s Legislative Priorities are encouraged to contact [email protected] or call 301-328-7023

Together we can improve Maryland’s response to survivors, help bring offenders to justice, and end sexual violence.