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  • Writer's pictureStephen Buckingham

Trans Health Equity Added as a Priority - Committee Votes Starting

Updated: Jul 9

When legislation was introduced this year affecting trans rights, our Healthcare Issue Team volunteered to lead our effort in support of HB 283 / SB 460 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Gender–Affirming Treatment (Trans Health Equity Act). When the Senate Bill is heard in the Finance Committee on Tuesday, Dr. Kari Alperovitz-Bichell of the Annapolis Congregation will be providing powerful testimony as a physician and a Unitarian Universalist.

Bills Progressing

We now have 35 priority measures comprised of 65 bills (due to companion bills filed in each chamber), and as of Friday, the exact halfway point of the session, only eight of these issues have yet to be heard in at least one house. One measure, HB 279 / SB 202 – Prescription Drug Affordability Board - Upper Payment Limits – has had both companion bills pass their original chamber and only need the other chamber to approve for final passage. Another priority healthcare bill, SB 26 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program, Maryland Children’s Health Program, and Social Services Programs – Eligibility and Enrollment – has now been reported out of the Finance Committee and will be on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

A few other bills have appeared on committee work session or voting lists (but have not yet been acted upon), so we can expect action on them soon. Committee voting sessions are usually scheduled as the Committee Chair deems them ready, and little public notice is provided. We are constantly scanning the official meeting schedules for voting sessions and monitoring House and Senate sessions for any verbal announcements. While we cannot guarantee advance notice to our readers, we are constantly updating our Upcoming Hearings table with any new information.

Keep an eye out for any alerts from our Issue Leads asking you to contact your lawmakers who sit on specific committees! This is the best time to reach out to your representatives and make an impact on their vote.

Coming Up This Week

Twenty-two (24) bills covering 17 measures are awaiting committee hearings, with half (12) being heard this week. Climate Change bills will be featured on Tuesday and Thursday, Healthcare/ Reproductive Rights on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and Criminal Justice on Thursday. Here is the lineup:

Tuesday, February 28

  • Climate Change: SB 590 - Reclaim Renewable Energy Act – in Senate Education, Energy and Environment Committee (EEE)

  • Climate Change: SB 613 - Community Solar Energy Generating Systems – in EEE

  • Climate Change: SB 689 - Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions – in EEE

  • Healthcare: SB 460 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Gender–Affirming Treatment (Trans Health Equity Act) - in Finance

Wednesday, March 1

  • Healthcare: SB 601 - State–Based Young Adult Health Insurance Subsidies Pilot Program – Sunset Repeal – in Senate Finance

  • Healthcare: SB 786 - Health - Reproductive Health Services - Protected Information and Insurance Requirements – in Finance

  • Healthcare: SB 798 - Declaration of Rights - Right to Reproductive Freedom – in Finance

  • Healthcare: SB 859 - Reproductive Health Protection Act – in Senate Judicial Proceedings

  • Healthcare: HB 995 - Commercial Law - Health Data Privacy – in Economic Matters

Thursday, March 2

  • Healthcare: HB 812 - Health - Reproductive Health Services - Protected Information and Insurance Requirements – in House Health & Government Operations

  • Climate change: HB 904 - Public Utilities - Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions - Alterations and Requirements (Energy Savings Act)

  • Criminal Justice: HB 96 - Juvenile Court - Jurisdiction (Youth Equity & Safety Act)

Anyone interested in providing testimony can do so in writing and/or verbally in person or remotely, as long as they are signed up in advance. Contact our Coordinator, Ashley Egan if you want her to assist you in making your voice heard.

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