Progress in March-April 2018

Posted on April 10, 2018

** = new since our last report

Civil Rights & Liberties

Delaware’s governor signed HB 204, which seeks to reduce the reliance on a cash bail system in the pretrial process to reduce the number of individuals who are retained simply because they lack the funds for their release. **Washington’s governor signed into law SB 5722, which will ban the practice of conversion therapy with patients under the age of eighteen.  **Hawaii’s Senate and the House Judiciary Committee passed a similar ban on conversion therapy for people under the age of 18.  A Mississippi senator introduced SB 2933, which would affirm the civil rights of an individual to be free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or familial status. A Missouri representative introduced HB 2311, which would provide for further protections against discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation. **Connecticut’s Joint Judiciary Committee passed SB 13, which would provide for more protections regarding the fair treatment of incarcerated women. An Alaska representative has introduced HB 118, which would provide for a re-entry services program and compensation for individuals who have been wrongfully convicted or imprisoned. **The Mississippi governor signed into law HB 387, which will ensure that incarceration would not automatically follow the nonpayment of a fine, restitution or court costs. The Alaska House Committee on State Affairs passed HB 184, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. **Washington’s governor signed into law SB 5996, which prohibits an employer from requiring employees, as a condition of employment, to sign a nondisclosure agreement, waiver, or any other document that would prevent them from disclosing workplace sexual harassment or assault.  **Additionally, the Washington governor signed into law SB 6313, which will void any employment contract which does not have terms protecting an employee’s right to file harassment or assault complaints with the police. **The Maryland House and Senate passed HB 1342, which requires the legislature to utilize an independent investigator when legislators or lobbyists are accused of sexual harassment or assault, and prohibits legislators from using state funds to pay for any proven harassment settlements.

Consumer Protection

Montana’s governor issued an executive order requiring internet service providers with state contracts to follow net neutrality principles. Similarly, New York’s governor issued an executive order to ensure net neutrality protections for the citizens of the state. California’s Senate has  passed SB 460 and introduced SB 822, both of which also seek to protect net neutrality and ensure fair and reasonable access to the internet for all in the state. An Idaho Senate committee introduced SB 1289, which will provide for further transparency for pharmacy benefit managers. A Mississippi senator introduced SB 2113, which would restrict the use of certain chemicals in food and require more transparent labeling of food products. An Alaska Senator introduced SB 118, which would require commercial internet websites or online services to disclose what information have collected on a customer and with which third parties they have shared this information. Washington’s governor signed HB 2282, which will protect net neutrality in the state by prohibiting ISPs from blocking legal content, apps and services or slowing down connection speeds of consumers. **California legislators introduced SB 1001 and AB 1950, both of which would require social media platforms to identify and disclose information on misleading or abusive automated ‘bot’ accounts and deal with them within a specified time period. **The Louisiana Senate passed SB 442, which would require companies that sell DNA testing kits to provide more transparency about how samples gathered from consumers can be used.


A Mississippi school district voted to prohibit the use of physical discipline on students.

A Hawaii representative introduced HB 1905, which would implement a comprehensive sexual health education program in public schools in the state. A Washington senator introduced SB 5210, which establishes a student loan bill of rights. The Virginia Senate and House have passed SB 273 and HB 1419, both of which would allow for unstructured recreational time for grades one through six. **The Virginia governor signed into law SB 170, which will prohibit students in preschool through third grade from being suspended for more than three days or expelled, except in certain instances. The Washington governor signed HB 1508, which will require schools with a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price meals to also provide breakfast at the beginning of the day.  The Missouri House Committee on Rules passed HB 2234, which would require course materials in health classes to include information about consent and sexual harassment.  **Washington’s governor signed into law HB 2610, also known as the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights, which prohibits schools from publicly identifying students who receive free or reduced price lunches, and requires schools to provide healthy, balanced meals to students regardless of their parents’ ability to pay.

Environment & Smart Growth

**The Maryland Assembly and Senate passed HB 3 which would require the governor to include the state as a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance. **The Hawaii Senate and House passed SB 3095, which would establish disclosure and public notification requirements for the outdoor application of pesticides in certain areas. Arizona senators have introduced SB 1370, which would require each school district and charter school to adopt a green cleaning policy and use environmentally sensitive cleaning products within their schools as well as requiring each state building to meet certain green building energy and efficiency standards. **The Hawaii Senate and House Committee on Finance passed SB 2571, which would ban the sale of any SPF sunscreen protection product that contains chemicals that are harmful to marine environments and ecosystems. Additionally, Hawaii’s Senate passed SB 2663, which would set development goals for sustainable agricultural practices based on United Nations recommendations. **The Colorado governor signed SB 9 in law, which will give power customers the right to install, interconnect and use energy storage systems, creating a new energy resource in the state.


The City Council of San Antonio, Texas voted to raise the age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 years of age to 21 years of age. The Indiana House Committee on Public Health passed HB 1380, which would also raise the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.  The first committee in the Hawaii House passed HB 1907, which would prohibit the remote sale and shipment of cigarettes and tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices.  The Mississippi Senate passed SB 2840, which would expand the types of drug violations for which a person may not be prosecuted when seeking medical attention and allows telemedicine providers to provide treatment for substance abuse disorders. A Missouri representative has introduced HB 2379, which would require certain health care professionals to complete two hours of cultural competency training as a condition of licensure. The Oregon House passed HJR 203 which proposed an amendment to the state constitution to establish an obligation to ensure every resident of the state has access to effective and affordable health care. The Illinois General Assembly adopted HR 751 which declares domestic violence a public health priority in the state.  Hawaii’s Senate passed SB 2656, which requires the creation of cost sharing plans in some prescription drug coverage plans in the state. **The Maine Senate overrode the governor’s veto of HB 1015, which provides for essential health care coverage that does not impose cost sharing requirements for preventative services.

Public Safety

The City Council of Columbia, South Carolina voted to ban the use of bump stocks for use with semi-automatic rifles. Similarly, South Carolina representatives have introduced HB 4424, which would ban prohibit the use of any accessory intended to accelerate the firing rate of semi-automatic rifles, such as bump stocks. An Alabama Senator introduced SB 223, which would prohibit an individual who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor that was deemed to be motivated by a victim’s race, national origin, ethnicity or physical or mental disability from owning a firearm. Oregon’s governor signed HB 4145 which will expand the number of people banned from owning guns because of domestic violence or stalking convictions.  The Illinois legislature passed, but the governor vetoed, SB 1657, which would have required gun dealers to get licensed in a way similar to auto dealers or real estate agents. **The Illinois House and Senate passed HB 1467, which would ban the sale of bump stocks and trigger cranks.  **Additionally, the Illinois House and Senate passed HB 1468 which would require a 72-hour mandatory waiting period for the purchase of an assault weapon and HB 1465 which would ban the sale of assault weapons to those under 21. The Florida governor signed SB 7026, which will raise the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. The Denver City Council voted to ban bump stock firing mechanisms from being used in their city.  The New Hampshire House passed HB 1587, which would raise the legal marriage age in the state from 13 to 16, with judicial consent required until age 18. **Similarly, the Kentucky legislature passed, and the governor signed, SB 48, which sets the legal age for marriage at 18 and does not allow for marriage for anyone under 17 years old.  **The Vermont House and Senate passed SB 55 which would ban the use of “bump stocks” as well as require background checks for private gun sales and prohibit the sale of firearms to individuals under 21.  **Additionally, the Vermont House and Senate also passed SB 221 and HB 422 which allow law enforcement to seize firearms from a person deemed a danger to themselves or others, or a person arrested for domestic violence. **The New Jersey governor signed an executive order that makes data on gun violence, including the origin of guns involved in crimes, more accessible to the public.

Reproductive Rights

Rhode Island legislators introduced SB 2163, also known as the Reproductive Health Care Act, which would prohibit the state from interfering with any individual’s reproductive health care choices, including the decision to get an abortion. A Hawaiian representative has introduced HB 663 which would create transparency and disclosure requirements for crisis pregnancy centers around what reproductive services they actually provide. A Florida Senator introduced SB 320 which provides protections for reproductive health services clients, providers and assistants as well as safe access to reproductive healthcare facilities and clinics. The Washington Senate passed SB 6102, which would prohibit employers from denying coverage for contraception based on personal beliefs. California’s Senate passed SB 320 which requires each public university’s health center to offer medication abortion services. The New Jersey governor signed SB 120 which restores state funding to Planned Parenthood and women’s healthcare facilities. The New Jersey governor also signed SB 105 which provides Medicaid coverage for family planning services for low income individuals in the state. **The Massachusetts’ governor signed SB 2296 into law, which protects access to patients’ confidential healthcare information. **Utah’s governor signed into law SB 184, which allows pharmacists to dispense contraceptives. **Washington’s governor signed into law SB 6219, which requires health plan coverage of all contraceptive drugs and devices as well as other reproductive healthcare services.  **The Maryland House and Senate passed HB 787, which requires correctional facilities in the state to have a policy in place regarding the medical care of pregnant inmates. **Additionally, the Maryland House and Senate passed HB 797, which requires all correctional facilities in the state to provide female hygiene products to inmates, both free in charge and in reasonable quantities.


The first committee in the Arizona House has passed HB 2217, which would exempt all feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers and baby formula from sales tax. Legislators in Georgia and Iowa have also introduced similar bills to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. A Kentucky representative introduced HB 236, which exempts from sales and use taxes not only feminine hygiene products, but also diapers, diaper wipes, baby bottles and breast pumps. The Illinois House Executive Committee passed HB 4243, which would prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment complaints. **The Oklahoma Senate passed SB 1086, to eliminate the capital gains tax credit, which minimizes state funding for education and other services and only benefits wealthy citizens.

Voting & Elections

Kansas legislators have introduced HB 2538 and SB 326, both of which would allow for election day voting registration, creating a process for the permanent advance voting for any voter and reducing obstacles to providing voter identification.  An Arizona representative in Arizona has introduced a bill that would provide for automatic voter registration for any citizen in the state obtaining or renewing a drivers or personal identification card. **The Washington legislature passed, and the governor signed, SB 6002, which details the government’s responsibilities to voter equality on the state level and SB 6021, which will increase the length of voter registration periods. **Additionally, Washington’s governor signed, HB 2595, which will create an automatic voter registration program for state-run agencies and HB 1513, which will pre-register students to vote. The California governor signed AB 1407, which will automatically pre-register sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote. The Maryland Senate passed SB 256, which would require candidates on a presidential ticket to release their tax returns to get on the state’s ballot. Utah’s Senate passed SB 112, which would automatically register any individual who applies for or renews their driver’s license or state identification card.

Wages & Benefits

A Mississippi representative introduced HB 1303, which would set the state minimum wage at fifteen dollars per hour as well as requiring equal pay for equal work based on gender. Hawaii legislators have introduced HB 1867 and SB 3047, both of which would establish a paid family and medical leave program in the state. An Alabama representative introduced HB 368, which would prohibit an employer from paying any of its employees at wages that are less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work. The Vermont Senate passed SB 40, which would raise the state’s current minimum hourly rate incrementally over the next six years. **Washington’s legislature passed, and the governor signed, HB 1506, which will ensure that employees can openly share wage and salary information with their coworkers without fear of retaliation and also creates a new administrative process for employees dealing with wage and gender discrimination.