Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller, and House Speaker Mike Busch signed more than 200 bills into law on May 8, several of which focused on education and providing additional protections for victims of sexual assault or harassment. Bills of significance that were signed into law include:
Senate Bill 1122 proposes a constitutional amendment to supplement state funding for education to be placed on the ballot for the 2018 general election to require after a four-year phase-in period, 100% of the gaming revenues dedicated to public education be used as supplemental funding. If approved by voters, general fund expenditures for education will increase by $125 million in fiscal 2020 and increase to $522 million in fiscal 2023.
House Bill 1415 extends the deadline of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission) and implements and mandates funding for several preliminary policy recommendations. Policy initiatives include: (1) a comprehensive teacher recruitment and outreach program; (2) the Maryland Early Literacy Initiative; (3) the Learning in Extended Academic Programs (LEAP) grant program; (4) Public School Opportunities Enhancement Program; (5) the Teaching Fellows for Maryland scholarship program; and (6) the Career and Technology Education (CTE) Innovation grant program.
HB 301/SB 270 will allow prosecutors in rape and sexual assault cases to present evidence of previous acts by defendants that could prove a pattern of behavior. Judges will be able to allow such evidence under certain circumstances: when a defendant admits to sexual acts but claims a victim consented, or when a defendant accused of molesting a minor claims the child fabricated the incident.