Progress in January & February 2017

Posted on March 2, 2017

Civil Rights & Liberties

The Montana House passed HB147, which requires government agencies to get a warrant before accessing data in any electronic device unless it has informed, affirmative consent of the owner. The Montana House also passed HB148, which would require government agencies to get a warrant in order to obtain electronic communication from service providers. The Arizona Senate passed SB 1342, which would ban police use of “stingrays” which track the location of phones and collect electronic communications without a warrant and a similar bill (SB 84) in Missouri also just passed the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.  The North Dakota House passed HB 1170, which would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws by requiring a criminal conviction before asset forfeiture can proceed and preventing prosecutors from circumventing state laws by passing cases off to federal forfeiture programs.  The Arizona House passed HB 2477, which would require prosecutors to establish a higher evidentiary standard for asset forfeiture and establish stringent reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies for how seized funds are spent. The Utah House passed HB 19 which also works to reform the state’s civil forfeiture procedures. The Alabama Senate passed SB 16, which prohibits the court from overriding a jury verdict in the sentencing phase of capital cases.  The Vermont Senate passed SB 79, which would grant the governor sole authority to approve agreements with federal immigration officials and prevent law enforcement agencies in the state from collecting personally identifiable information, including race, sex, immigration status, religion or sexual orientation, and sharing that information with federal authorities. The New York Assembly passed AB 4876, which would reform the criminal justice system by raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years of age. The New York Assembly also passed AB 2142, which would seal the criminal records of individuals who were arrested for simple possessions of marijuana, decreasing their barriers to accessing employment, housing and other state services. The Washington House passed HB 2097, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to disclose information about their religious beliefs, practices or affiliation, prohibits state and local government agencies from using public funds to assist in the creation or enforcement of any government program compiling a registry or database of personally identifiable information about individuals based on religious beliefs, practice, or affiliation, and forbids any state and local law agencies from collecting information on the religious belief, practice or affiliation of any individual except as part of a targeted criminal investigation.

Consumer Protection

The Virginia Assembly passed HB 2113, which protects citizens from identity theft by requiring employers to notify the attorney general’s office if they discover that employee payroll information has been compromised. The Wyoming House passed HB 227, which would require notice and disclosure of automatic renewal provisions in consumer contracts.


Both the Virginia Senate and Assembly passed HB 2257, which would require all high school family life education curricula to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the meaning of consent. The Indiana House passed HB 1386, which would establish a student-centered competency-based education pilot program in K-12 schools. Similarly, the Kentucky Senate passed SB 1 which, following the Every Student Succeeds Act, would alter the state’s education standards by allowing school districts to develop their own teacher evaluation methods and criteria. The Maryland House passed HB 461 which would limit the amount of time school districts can spend on testing. San Francisco’s mayor announced a new program which allows free tuition for all students who are California residents living in the city and provides subsidies to low-income students.

Environment & Smart Growth

The Maryland House voted to override the Governor’s veto of HB 1106 which will increase the state’s use of renewable energy and create green jobs.


The New Mexico Senate passed SB 121, which bans conversion therapy for any person under 18 years of age. Oklahoma SB 83 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and would require parents to view a video about the risks of not vaccinating a child before opting their children out of vaccination requirements. Oklahoma SB 765 also passed the same committee and would ban any person under 18 years of age from using tanning beds. The Vermont Senate passed SB 16, which would expand access to medical marijuana by increasing the list of qualifying conditions and doubling the number of dispensaries in the state.

Public Safety

The Georgia House passed HB 9, which would update Georgia’s invasion of privacy laws to make filming under or through a person’s clothing a felony. The Kentucky House passed HB 122, which would require all children under the age of 12 to wear a helmet when riding a bike. The Utah House passed HB 200, which requires the testing of all sexual assault kits within a specified time frame, outlines the process by which the kits are stored and transmitted for testing, and authorizes the Department of Public Safety to develop and implement a statewide sexual assault kit tracking system. The Vermont House passed HB 25, which would establish a bill of rights for people who have been sexual assaulted.

Reproductive Rights

The Virginia Assembly and Senate passed HB 2267, which would require health insurance plans that provide coverage for hormonal contraceptives to cover up to a 12-month supply. The St. Louis City Council passed Board Bill 203, which would prohibit discrimination based on a person’s reproductive health decisions. The Colorado House (HR 1005), the New Jersey Senate (SCR 78), the Vermont Senate (SR 9) and the Vermont House (HR 9) all passed resolutions supporting a woman’s right to decide her own reproductive choices.

Voting & Elections

The New Mexico Senate passed SB 96, which would establish campaign contribution limits and promote greater transparency in the spending of “dark money” groups by requiring any such group that spends more than $1,000 campaigning during an election cycle to report expenditures and provide information about certain contributors.

Wages & Benefits

The Utah House passed HB 156, which would prohibit public employers from requiring an applicant to disclose a past criminal conviction before an initial interview for employment. Philadelphia’s City Council passed City Council Bill 160840, making it the first city in the nation to forbid employers from requiring potential employees to disclose previous salary history in order to fight the pay gap between men and women.