Legislation to eliminate parental rights for rapists, the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, failed to pass the Maryland General Assembly this year—for the 9th time!
The main sticking point has been whether parental rights should be taken away from those convicted of rape as well as those accused of rape.
Bill sponsor Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery Co.) worked hard to allay concerns, crafting a bill supported by the Maryland State Bar Association, Catholic Conference and Planned Parenthood, among others.
House Bill (HB-428) targeted convicted rapists and perpetrators of incest. It excluded married couples. For accusation, a victim would need to provide clear and convincing evidence of rape to a judge in a civil trial. The alleged rapist would get legal counsel and nothing could be used against him in a criminal trial. (This is the accepted standard in most other states.)
Senate Bill (SB-574) got watered down considerably. It removed provisions for victims of incest, would’ve allowed victims and children to be publicly identified, and shortened the statute of limitations from seven years to three.
Despite differences, advocates managed to build consensus. But the bill was killed by a handful of MEN who made sure it wasn’t considered until the last second of the session. Members of the conference committee—ALL MALE—were not named until the very last day.
–Delegate Joseph Vallario, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, slow walked the bill and appointed all men to the conference committee.
–Senator Bobby Zirkin, Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, did not appoint a conference committee until the last second and also appointed all men.
–Senate President Senator Mike Miller delayed the bill in revenge for pet projects not moving.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
-Contact House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller. Tell them you want a Special Session to pass the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act. Right now, the Maryland General Assembly is not set to meet again until 1/10/18.
-Contact the chairmen of the committees with jurisdiction, Joseph Vallario and Bobby Zirkin, to let them know you won’t tolerate further delays.
-Tweet Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate letting them know you favor a special session and want this bill passed.
Delegate Joseph Vallario (D-District 23B/Prince George’s County)
Annapolis Address: House Office Building, Room 101, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone Numbers: (410) 841-3488, (301) 858-3488
Tollfree Phone Number: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3488
E-Mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax Numbers: (410) 841-3495, (301) 858-349552
Senator Robert (Bobby) Zirkin (D-District 11/Baltimore County)
Annapolis Address: Miller Senate Office Building, 2 East Wing, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis MD 21401
Phone Numbers: (410) 841-3131, (301) 858-3131
Tollfree Phone Number: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3131
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
Fax Numbers: (410) 841-3737, (301) 858-3737
House Speaker Delegate Michael Busch (D-District 30A/Anne Arundel County)
Annapolis Address: State House, H-101, Annapolis, MD 21401–1991
Phone Numbers: (410) 841-3800, (301) 858-3800
Tollfree Phone Number: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3800
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax Numbers: (410) 841-3880, (301) 858-3880
Twitter Address: Tweet to him @SpeakerBusch
Senate President Senator Thomas (Mike) Miller (D-District 27/Calvert, Charles and Prince George’s Counties)
Annapolis Address: State House, H-107, Annapolis, MD 21401–1991
Phone Numbers: (410) 841-3700, (301) 858-3700
Tollfree Phone Number: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3700
E-mail Address: email@example.com
Fax Numbers: (410) 841-3910, (301) 858-3910
Facebook Address: Search for Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and message him.
Twitter Address: Tweet to him @SenatorMikeMiller
Twitter Address for MD Senate Democrats: @MDSenate
Email Address for MD Senate Democrats: mdsenate.com
Twitter Address for MD Senate Republicans: @MDSenateGOP
Email Address for MD Senate Republicans: mdsenategop.com
Twitter Address for MD House Democrats: @mdhousedems
Twitter Address for MD House Republicans: @mdhousegop
Email Address for MD House Republicans: houserepublicancaucus.com
Thank you! We can’t wait to see how #TogetherWeWill stand up today!
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