The Maryland General Assembly 2023 session ended on April 10, 2023. Eight of our 10 bills passed. They are listed here:
- The SB0798, HB0705. Declaration of Rights – Right to Reproductive Freedom, which makes the constitutional right to reproductive liberty a ballot item on the next Maryland general election in 2024;
- The SB341, HB477. Access to Reproductive Health Care at Public Institutions of Higher Learning, to make reproductive healthcare available to students at public colleges and universities;
- The SB129, HB0004. Sexual Crimes – Repeal of Spousal Defense, that repeals marriage as a defense for sexual crimes;
- the SB185, HB0003. The Maryland State Police Gun Center – Protective Orders, that holds the new Maryland Gun Control Center responsible for tracking guns surrendered due to final protective orders;
- the SB292, HB297. Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth, that absolves trafficked youth from non-violent crimes committed while being trafficked;
- the SB0101. Collaborative Care Model bill, which expands the very successful model of providing mental health and addiction care management through a primary care physician.
- the Child Care Sustainability Act, which continues supports for childcare that were federally supported during the pandemic; and
- the SB0859, HB808. Reproductive Health Protection Act, which would protect both patients and providers from out-of-state lawsuits and inquiries.
The SB845, HB0933. End of Life Option Act and the SB387, HB274. Emergency Room Wait Times did not pass this session. However, the Senate and House lead sponsors of the bill, and our lead advocate, were asked to participate in a Committee led by the hospitals and charged by the leaders of the General Assembly to address this issue and report to the legislators before the next General Assembly.
One of the significant contributors to emergency room wait time was that so many hospital beds were occupied by patients needing mental health beds in mental health facilities. Several bills addressing mental health services, including the collaborative care model above, were passed and should help to address this problem.
The SB743, HB840. Climate, Labor, and Environmental Equity Act of 2023 was not considered during the session.