JOTF Weekly Policy Alert-April 2, 2018
JOTF POLICY ALERT – April 2, 2018
LAST WEEK OF THE 2018 MD LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The final week of the 2018 Maryland General Assembly is upon us! JOTF’s policy team has been hard at work in Annapolis over the last twelve weeks ensuring that our signature priorities are progressing through the legislative process. Please see below for important updates: the status of our top policy priorities and one extremely important action alert.
We need all hands on deck in this last final push!
THE HOGAN-ZIRKIN CRIME BILL
JOTF strongly opposes SB 122 as it will increase incarceration through mandatory minimums and sentence enhancements. Although this bill is being touted as a statewide crime effort, it directly targets Baltimore City without addressing the true needs of Baltimore, the causes of poverty, or joblessness. SB 122 will only drive unemployment by increasing the number of individuals who have a criminal record. This bill does not include expungement, correctional education or programming, or data to support these measures, and is NOT comprehensive.
Consequently, JOTF’s key policy priority, HB 1383/SB1212 -The Maryland REDEEM (RecordExpungement Designed to Enhance EMployment) Act – comprehensive expungement legislation that would expand expungement eligibility to individuals with a criminal record, particularly those with non-convictions, invalidated fugitive warrants, and nonviolent misdemeanor and felony convictions after a 3- and 5-year waiting period, respectively, has yet to be voted on in the House Judiciary Committee due to pending negotiations on the Hogan-Zirkin Crime Bill (SB 122).
We need your help. The Baltimore City Delegation needs to hear from YOU. While this bill is statewide, it is being touted as the solution to Baltimore City’s crime challenges and predominately and disproportionately impacts Baltimore City residents, particularly poor communities of color who are overpoliced and underserved.
The House Judiciary is expected to vote on SB 122 TOMORROW (Tuesday, April 3rd). Please contact ALL members of the Baltimore City Delegation to urge them to REJECT the proposed solution to crime in Baltimore City.
VOTE NO on SB 122!
Example Email/Phone Script:
Dear Delegate _____. My name is ______ and I am calling/emailing to urge your opposition of SB 122, which increases mandatory minimums and maximum sentences and disproportionately impacts Baltimore City, particularly residents of color. This bill will simply increase our reliance on incarceration, which does not deter crime and predominantly impacts communities of color from accessing stable, reliable employment. SB 122 does nothing to truly address the root causes of crime in Baltimore and invest in supportive systems that increase employability, safety, and community. I urge you to oppose SB 122 and work towards better pathways for community safety that don’t rely on the heavy and ineffective use of mass incarceration.
Baltimore City Delegation Members
Curt Anderson, chair
Cory V. McCray
Keith E. Haynes
Mary L. Washington
Child Support -The Payment Incentive Program Act of 2018 (HB1554)
This session, JOTF supported this bill which restructures the Child Support Enforcement Administration’s Payment Incentive Program (PIP) to provide more external outreach in counties that under utilize the program, grants participants a “grace period” due to unemployment or seasonal work schedules, and allows for the “grandfathering in” of payments made immediately before acceptance into the program. HB 1554 passed in the House 137-1 and is awaiting a vote from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. We thank Delegate Jazz Lewis (Prince George’s County) for his sponsorship of this important bill thus far and a warm thank you to the advocates who continue to support this bill!
Click here for fact sheet
For more information on this bill, please contact JOTF’s Senior Policy Advocate, Nikki Thompson, at Nikki@jotf.org.
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Higher Education – Educational Excellence Award Eligibility – High School Diploma by Examination (SB 842/HB 781)
This session, JOTF supported SB 842/HB 781 which restructures the eligibility requirements of the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant (GAG) to allow non-traditional students, specifically those who secured their high school diploma via the GED test, to access GAG’s tuition assistance. SB 842 has passed unanimously in the House and HB 781 is awaiting a third reader in the Senate. Once complete, the bill will head to the Governor’s desk! Many thanks to Senator Joan Carter Conway (Baltimore City), Delegate Nick J. Mosby (Baltimore City), and Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (Montgomery County) for their sponsorship and co-sponsorship of this important bill. And, of course, another warm thank you to our advocates who supported this effort!
Click here for a fact sheet
Click here for a recent article on SB 842/HB 781 from the National Skills Coalition
For more information on this legislation, please contact JOTF’s Policy Advocate, Lee Domeika, atLee@jotf.org.