In Baltimore, MD, Criminal Justice, Immigration, Maryland State, MD Economic Justice, MD Renters' Rights, MDGA24, Montgomery County, MD, Police Accountability

Every year, Maryland Senators and Delegates gather from January to April for their legislative session. During this 90-day period, JUFJ and our partners take action in many ways to try to advance racial, social, and economic justice in our state. The 2024 session ended on Monday, April 8, and our coalitions had some tremendous wins, some difficult setbacks, and some issues where we made progress but we know more is needed. Here’s the recap of what we’ve been fighting for over these last few months — if you have any questions about any of these bills, reach out to our Maryland Policy Director, Matan (

WIN! Access to Care Act (HB728/SB705)

Alongside our partners, we secured a huge win for Immigrant Justice this year with the passage of The Access to Care Act (ACA)! The ACA will allow all qualifying Marylanders, regardless of immigration status, to purchase healthcare on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. This is an amazing victory for immigrant and health justice across Maryland, and the product of multiyear organizing and leadership from CASA, the Healthcare for All Coalition, and many others. Thanks to the ACA, over 275,000 Marylanders will now be eligible to access healthcare! 

We also worked on:

  • WIN! Trans Rights, Health, and Equity (SB119) 

Healthcare access for trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive folks will now be protected with the passage of this bill, which ensures health care providers won’t lose their licenses or be arrested for providing gender-affirming care in Maryland. It also ensures that Maryland’s state agencies won’t reveal any health information to out-of-state law enforcement. This win is the result of organizing and leadership from the Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition (TRAC). 

Progress Made: Good Cause Evictions (HB477)

Throughout the legislative session, JUFJers worked hard advocating for the Good Cause Eviction bill which would protect tenants from landlord retaliation and being evicted for no reason. With strong organizing and advocacy alongside our partners in the Renters United Maryland (RUM) coalition, we were able to get the bill passed out of the House for the first time in seven years. Unfortunately, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee refused to hold a vote on the bill. This legislation is essential to housing justice in Maryland and our partners are dedicated to getting it passed in 2025. 

We also worked on:

  • WIN! Eviction Prevention Funding (HB428/SB370)

Thanks to the leadership of Renters United Maryland and the Maryland Eviction Prevention Funds Alliance, this bill will direct $5 million in eviction prevention funds to families with children and $5 million into the FY 2025 budget. This legislation is incredibly important, as increased funding for eviction prevention will lead to a lower rate of homelessness.

  • WIN! Tenant Safety Act (HB1117)

Renters and tenants gained many protections with the passage of The Tenant Safety Act. This bill ensures tenants can hold landlords accountable for failing to remedy unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. This bill also allows tenants in the same building to file lawsuits against landlords together, and establishes greater access to legal assistance for renters. 

  • Successfully Defeated! Tax Sale for Unpaid Water Bills (HB243)

We defeated HB243 in the final weeks of session in coordination with a number of partners, including the Baltimore Right to Water Coalition. This bill would have undone protections that we won in 2019 through the Water Taxpayer Protection Act by making it possible for renters to lose their homes or places of worship at tax sale for unpaid water bills.  

  • Progress Made: Renters’ Rights and Stabilization Act of 2024 (HB693/SB481)

Governor Moore’s bill passed, which includes the establishment of a government office to help tenants understand their rights. While we are encouraged to see the administration taking on renters’ rights, there is more work to establish strong and necessary protections for Maryland renters.

  • Setback: Tenant Possessions Recovery Act (HB1114/SB992)

This bill would have provided renters an opportunity to reclaim their possessions if they are  evicted, bringing Maryland in alignment with 46 other states. Neither the House nor the Senate held a vote on the Tenant Possessions Recovery Act.

Progress Made: Fair Share for Maryland Act (HB1007/SB766)

The Fair Share for Maryland Act would have ensured that multi-state corporations and the wealthiest 1% of households in Maryland pay their fair share in taxes. Unfortunately, it did not pass this year – but we still had some victories that will set us up for success in the future. A major component of the bill that focused on getting corporations to pay their fair share was included in the House budget proposal. While this did not make it into the final budget, we and our partners in the Maryland Fair Funding Coalition shifted the narrative and set the foundation for an even stronger campaign moving forward.

We also worked on:

  • WIN! Paid Family and Medical Leave Implementation (HB571/SB485)

In 2022, we organized with the Time to Care Coalition to finally pass the Time to Care Act to establish paid family and medical leave in Maryland. In 2023, we helped pass legislation to implement the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program in the strongest form possible. This year’s bill makes sure that paid family and medical leave will continue to be implemented effectively and equitably.

Setback: Youth Justice

One of our biggest challenges this session was a slew of anti-youth justice bills like HB814, which would incarcerate young children and put them in the adult carceral system. Unfortunately, HB814 passed – but not without a fight. JUFJers and our partners’ advocacy ensured the bill was and continues to be the subject of much scrutiny. Our advocacy for amendments helped to partially address some of the most harmful components of the bill, and our team and partners were able to challenge the ongoing narrative and shift several votes in the House. 

At the beginning of the session, we brought together 18 Jewish congregations from across the state in our first-ever Youth Justice Shabbat and Solidarity Week, to mobilize their members to fight for justice for the children in our state. We must continue building our collective power with our partners in the Maryland Youth Justice Coalition (MYJC) and with our congregational partners to pass legislation that will advance justice and protections for children in Maryland, such as the Youth Equity and Safety Act.

  • Successfully Defeated! We successfully defeated attempts to roll back protections won with the passage of the Child Interrogation Protection Act in 2022.

We also worked on:

  • Progress Made: Women’s Pre-Release Facility

Funding was included in the state’s capital budget for the continued planning and development of a community-based women’s prerelease facility. However, we will need to continue advocating with the Women’s Prerelease Equity Coalition to ensure that the Moore administration implements the law effectively and with best practices.

  • Progress Made: Second Look Act (HB724/SB123)

This legislation would address racial disparities by creating more meaningful opportunities for sentences to be reconsidered for Marylanders who have been incarcerated for more than 20 years. Thanks to the leadership of the Maryland Second Look Coalition the bill passed the Senate, but unfortunately faced numerous weakening amendments and stalled in the House.

  • Setback: Segregated Housing Limitations (HB1114/SB1085)

This bill would have established restrictions on use of solitary confinement. Unfortunately, it did not get a vote in either chamber. 

WIN! Local control of the Baltimore Police Department (HB732/SB894)

After decades of fighting to regain local control of the Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore residents will finally see their hard work pay off, thanks to the passage of this bill, which was the last step at the state level to make local control a reality. We are very grateful for the continued leadership of our partners in the Campaign for Justice, Safety & Jobs.

We also worked on:

  • Successfully Defeated! Cannabis Odor Search (SB396)

This law would have rolled back cannabis order search protections that we won last year alongside our partners in the Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Accountability (MCJPA) to prohibit police officers from conducting stops and searches without a search warrant if they claim to smell cannabis. Luckily, we kept this regressive bill from passing.

  • Successfully Defeated! Reinstating Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (SB606)

We defeated this bill, which would have reinstated the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBR). Thanks to our work with our partners in MCJPA, police will continue to remain accountable to their communities. 

  • Setback: Police Accountability Boards (HB533/SB621) 

This bill would have strengthened community and civilian oversight of police through Police Accountability Boards (PABs). It did not move forward this year. In the coming years we will continue to fight for legislation to strengthen and expand systems of accountability for police. 

Winning a legislative campaign is not the only way that we can build a more just Maryland. Winning can also mean building power, changing the narrative, and setting powerful future conditions. While we want to make as much progress as possible here at JUFJ, we understand that the fight for justice is ongoing and not without its hurdles. As long as there are people fighting for a better future and advocating for change, success is on the horizon. Our voices have meaning, especially when we raise them together.

Our work is ongoing, even when the General Assembly isn’t in session. Take action now by joining our Youth Justice working group or Fair Share Maryland working group meetings, where you can get up to date information about our campaigns. Both groups will meet in early May.

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