UULM-MD adopts immigration as a new priority issue. At the request of a group of UUs who spent a year researching and voting the Unitarian Universalists of Columbia Congregation in as a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation, UULM-MD agreed to support immigration issues during the current General Assembly session. While many UUs in our State have expressed interest in these issues, we have not had sufficient resources to create a Task Force and give full support until the Columbia UUs stepped up and offered to manage the effort. If you are interested in joining in this effort, please contact us.

This year’s activity will revolve around the Maryland Supporting All Families Everywhere “SAFE” Act which would clarify the parameters of State and local law enforcement participation in Federal US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts. House Bill 1461 takes proven community police policies and codifies them into State law. It clarifies that the Federal government agents do their job, without the assistance of our local police, and the local police do theirs. The bill has its public hearing on March 13, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. before the House Judiciary Committee.

Updates on Priority Legislation

Climate Change

In a victory for offshore wind, House Bill 1135 was voted down by the House Economic Matters Committee, and its Unfavorable Report will be made to the House on March 12, 2018. If it had passed, it would have pushed any offshore wind project away from the State shoreline to not less than 26 nautical miles out, essentially ending the wind farm projects already approved by the State Public Service Commission.

Death with Dignity

On March 5, the Senate Finance Committee adopted amendments to Senate Bill 530 that considerably weakened the bill, and this version was passed the Senate March 9, 2018 and sent to the House. Our Death with Dignity Task Force supported the original bill that would have required hospitals to provide patients with a patient's bill of rights, including the right to "respectful, compassionate care regardless of age, gender, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability" and to "participate in decisions about the patient's care, including the right to refuse treatment." While most of the rights referenced in the original bill are still in effect through other laws, others were removed, and the Task Force opposed these amendments.

Its companion, House Bill 562 was Withdrawn by its sponsor and this will be reported to the House on March 12, 2018.

Gun Violence

House Bill 819 - Handgun Permit Review Board – Repeal - Would abolish the Handgun Permit Review Board which has been used to overrule the decisions of the State Police denying handgun carry permits.

Voted out by the House Judiciary Committee without amendment and will be reported favorably to the full House on March 12, 2018.

House Bill 888 Criminal Law - Firearm Crimes - Rapid Fire Trigger Activator -Would ban the sale or possession any device, part, or combination of devices or parts that is designed and functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a firearm beyond the standard rate of fire for firearms that are not so equipped.

Voted out by the House Judiciary Committee with amendments and will be reported favorably to the full House on March 12, 2018.