UULM-MD Priority Issues for 2012
The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULM-MD) collaborates, educates, and advocates with UUs, coalitions and organizations to pass issues adopted as legislative priorities.
Marriage Equality: The Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 (SB 241/HB 438) proposed ending marriage discrimination against same gender couples. This bill passed the House 72-67 and the Senate 25-22 and was signed by Governor Martin O'Malley on March 1, 2012, but it now faces referendum on the General Election ballot on November 6, 2012. UULM-MD is member of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality Coalition, which worked to successfully pass the law and now is involved with protecting it.
DREAM Act: The DREAM Act, signed into law in 2011, allows undocumented immigrant children as well as some military families and veterans living in Maryland to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges. We are working with Educating Maryland’s Children to protect the law when it appears as a referendum on the General Election ballot on November 6, 2012.
Climate Change: Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012 (SB 237/ HB 441) proposed setting up a process to incentivize offshore wind development, while including strong provisions to protect consumers, to promote in-state jobs, and to ensure positive net benefits to the state. The bill is modeled on New Jersey’s bi-partisan legislation. The House of Delegates passed HB 441 by 88-47, but it stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. It is expected this bill will be re-submitted in 2013. UULM-MD is part of the Marylanders for Offshore Wind Coalition working on this legislation.
Health Care: UULM-MD has worked on the federal and state levels on health care reform with Faithful Reform in Health Care, Health Care for All, and the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform toward a goal of universal, accessible, affordable, and adequate health care for all. While Maryland was implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Supreme Court was determining its constitutionality. Also focused on in the regular and special sessions of the General Assembly was obtaining new revenue from
tobacco taxes for health care and assuring that funds from the alcohol tax legislation passed in 2011 were allocated as intended.
--US Supreme Court Affirmed Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thus our nation will move toward a more inclusive and just system of health care-with a particular focus on persons whose health conditions or low income have created barriers to receiving needed health care. UULM-MD joined with over 50 faith groups to applaud the Court's decision on health care reform.
--Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 (SB 238/HB 443) provides the framework for the Maryland Health Exchange to implement provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act. The bill passed the Senate 35-11 and the House 94-44 and signed by the Governor. MD is a leader in implementation of ACA.
--Alcohol Tax Proceeds from this 2011 sales tax increase will help fund critical home-based and community long term care services as envisioned by the bill’s supporters.
–-Tobacco Tax (SB 526/HB 1153 and SB 631) were incorporated into the Special Session tax package to revise the budget. Taxes on little cigars and smokeless tobacco had not been increased since 1999. This increase raises Maryland from 34th in the nation in taxing cigars to 7th. It is anticipated that this tax will save thousands of young people from addiction and provide increased funding for health programs.
Human Relations-Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-Antidiscrimination (SB 212) would have extended to transgender citizens anti-discrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing, and credit. The bill had a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, but no action was taken. No action was taken in the House. It is anticipated that this legislation will be re-introduced in the 2013 session.
Repeal of the Death Penalty (SB 872/HB 949) would end the death penalty. Even though the complete repeal of the death penalty in Maryland continues to gain support, this bill received an Unfavorable report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and did not emerge from the House Judiciary Committee. It is expected that this bill will be re-submitted in 2013. UULM-MD is part of the Maryland Citizens Against State Executions Coalition.