Preliminary 2017 Legislative Priorities

Aug 22nd, 1970

2017 Legislative Priorities - Preliminary The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) is a non-profit membership organization that includes all of the State’s seventeen rape crisis centers, law enforcement, mental health and health care providers, attorneys, educators, survivors of sexual violence and other concerned individuals.  MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), a statewide legal services provider for survivors of sexual assault.  MCASA represents the unified voice and combined energy of all of its members working to eliminate sexual violence in the State of Maryland. The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) supports legislation that promotes justice for survivors of sexual violence, accountability for offenders, and protection for the general public.  MCASA responds to policy questions and legislative initiatives throughout Maryland's legislative session (January-April).  Our priority list will expand as session approaches, but 2017 priorities currently include the following: Funding for Services for Sexual Assault Survivors One of MCASA’s top priorities is to expand funding for rape crisis centers and meet increasing needs for services for victims of child sexual abuse and sexual assault across the lifespan.  Increased attention and awareness about college sexual assault, human sex trafficking, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, child sexual abuse, and sexual assault in general have led to increased demand for services.   Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Aruna Miller and Senator TBA  Rape Survivor Family Protection Act Current law gives rapists who cause a child to be conceived the same rights as other biological parents. Additionally, if a rapist-parent cannot be located, current law requires that the victim’s name be published in the newspaper.  MCASA continues to support legislation to limit the parental rights of rapists when the child was conceived through rape and to increase protections for rape survivors who have a child conceived through rape. We stand firm in our commitment to enacting legislation with a clearing and convincing standard of evidence.  This is the same standard used in other family law cases that result in the termination of parental rights.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Senators Brian Feldman and Susan Lee  Rape and Physical Resistance This bill clarifies and modernizes Maryland’s sexual assault statutes by making it clear that rape victims are not required to physically resist sexual assault.  Lead Sponsors:   Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Senator Delores Kelley  Past Bad Acts This bill expands admissibility of prior acts of sexual abuse or sexual assault in later sex crimes cases.  MCASA, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, and Vice-Chair Kathleen Dumais have all written to the Judiciary’s Rules Committee to ask for their input on this issue.  Classification of Rape Maryland law classifies “rape” as vaginal-penile intercourse.  Anal rape, oral rape, and rape with an object are all classified as “sexual offenses”.  This is disrespectful and insensitive to many sexual assault survivors, resulting in survivors being told that they were “not raped”.  Additionally, the current definition is out of sync with the definition used by the FBI in Uniform Crime Reports.  This bill would classify all rape as rape.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Kirill Reznik and Senator TBA Certification of Victim Helpfulness – U Visas Requiring public officials to respond to requests for a certification of helpfulness within 90 days.  Certifications of helpfulness are used in U Visa applications, which are available to persons in the US without status who are victims of violent crime and assist with prosecution.  Survivors of rape, incest, human trafficking, and other sex crimes are among those eligible.  Lead Sponsors:  Senator Victor Ramirez and Delegate TBA Earned Safe & Sick Leave This bill would create a limited right for employees who are survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking to take earned, paid time off to address issues related to the violence.  It would create a similar limited right for paid sick time.  Lead Sponsors:  Delegate Luke Clippinger and Senator Mac Middleton

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