Monday, March 21st is "Cross Over Day"--the last day for a bill to pass its original chamber and be guaranteed a hearing in the opposite chamber. The clock is ticking away with 3 weeks to go in the 2022 legislative session. Attached is the MFRW Weekly Legislative Update. Check the Bill Status Column for action taken on bills during the last week.
This week the Senate Finance Committee will hear HB 0001, the Cannabis (marijuana) Legalization Constitutional Amendment and HB 837 - Cannabis Reform. You can sign up to testify in person or submit written testimony beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 22nd until 10 a.m. on the hearing day - March 23. I personally do not believe that Maryland will be well served by full legalization of marijuana.
The Abortion bills are also in the Senate Finance Committee but have not yet been scheduled for a hearing. But it is likely that there will be some action this week. Please e-mail the members of the Senate Finance Committee to oppose HB 1171 and HB 937.
The 3rd Reader votes of the House of Delegates on HB 1171 Declaration of Rights - Right to Reproductive Liberty and HB 937 the Abortion Care Access Act with its $3.5 Million annual budget mandate are attached. Delegate Attar is the only Democrat who voted against HB 1171. Five Dems voted against HB 937. All Republicans voted against both bills (Del. Arikan was absent). Voters need to know how their Delegates voted. If you can, please consider sending a note of appreciation for their votes against HB1171 and HB 937.
There is very little media coverage of these extreme abortion bills. Pease ask your Club members to post on their social media, send letters to the Editor, make calls to radio talk shows and share information with our churches and community organizations. (Attached are 2 example letters I have sent to newspapers. I don't know if they will be published. They are long, but local papers will print longer letters). The multiplier impact will be greater than the sum of the individual letters, calls or social media posts. The MFRW has 1480 members. If each of us makes 5 contacts and encourages others to share, we can raise the public's awareness of this issue.
We must expose how extreme these bills are as well as how vague, misleading and deceitful is the wording of the ballot question of the Constitutional Amendment contained in HB 1171. All the voter will see is:
"Question ___ Constitutional Amendment
The proposed amendment confirms an individual's fundamental right to the individual's own reproductive liberty and provides the State may not, directly or indirectly, deny, burden, or abridge the right unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.".
It is deceitful in that it leaves out the wording of the actual amendment contained in HB 1171 which states: "That every person...has the fundamental right to reproductive liberty which includes the right to make and effectuate decisions regarding the individual's own reproduction, including but not limited to the ability to prevent, continue, or end their pregnancy..."
HB 626 (SB 669) - Pregnant Person's Freedom Act gives us a window to what "including but not limited to" could mean. It would prohibit any investigation or penalty for a person "experiencing" a "perinatal death related to a failure to act". While the dictionary defines perinatal as the period from 20 weeks into pregnancy through 28 days of newborn life, the bill does not define perinatal. It could extend much further than 28 days after birth.
Thank you to everyone who has actively sent testimony, made calls, sent e-mails on these issues. Your efforts keep democracy alive.
Maryland Federation of Republican Women