Maryland State Senator and Democratic Majority Whip Jamie Raskin has been rated one of Maryland’s “Most Effective Legislators” (Gazette of Politics and Business), “Montgomery County’s Most Responsive Elected Official” (Silver Spring Voice), a “Hero to Working Families” (Progressive Maryland) and “one of the nation’s most talented state legislators” (Huffington Post). A dynamic force for change, he has seen more than 100 of his bills enacted into law. Many of these laws focus on issues critical to women.
Here are just a few examples of Jamie’s leadership on issues of particular importance to women since entering the State Senate in 2007. He doesn’t just talk the talk or even just vote the right way; he builds coalitions and gets things done.
Protecting Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights
- Jamie has a 100% pro-choice record.
- Jamie fights back when anti-choice legislators in Annapolis try to roll back reproductive rights. In March 2015, when Republicans tried to eliminate Medicaid funding for abortion, Jamie went to the floor, blew the whistle, and led the successful effort to defeat the bill.
- Jamie joined in introducing a bill to require that so-called pregnancy centers that fail to offer or refer for abortions or provide comprehensive contraceptive services must disclose that they are not offering medical advice and that the information they provide may not be factually accurate.
- Jamie introduced and shepherded a law to enactment in 2014 that prohibits the shackling of pregnant inmates in Maryland’s prisons during childbirth, to ensure healthy births for incarcerated women.
Ensuring Workplace Fairness for Women
- This session, Jamie introduced legislation with Senator Susan Lee to strengthen Maryland’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act—the bill would protect employees against retaliation and adverse action for speaking about their wages to others.
- Jamie is also a co-sponsor this session of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which would require employers with more than nine employees to provide them earned paid sick leave.
- When the U.S. Supreme Court made it harder for women to prevail under federal law when denied equal pay for equal work, Jamie acted fast—he introduced and moved to passage the Lilly Ledbetter Civil Rights Restoration Act of 2009, which reformed the statute of limitations for victims of gender discrimination to start only when the victim learned of the discrimination.
- Jamie was the Senate floor leader for legislation enacted in 2013 that requires reasonable accommodations for pregnant women at work.
- As chairman of Montgomery County’s Senate delegation, Jamie successfully organized his colleagues to support a long-overdue minimum wage hike for Maryland workers. In Maryland, women are 50% of the workforce but account for nearly 60% of minimum-wage workers.
- Jamie’s bill to strengthen remedies available in employment discrimination cases brought in Maryland—authorizing compensatory damages and a jury trial, among other things—became law in 2007.
Removing Barriers to Educational Opportunity for Women and Girls
- Jamie successfully championed legislation in 2011 ending gender disparities in state juvenile justice programs. Now, girls can no longer be forced to study cosmetology or home economics while boys learn auto mechanics or physical education, and girls can no longer be excluded from alternatives to incarceration available to boys (allowing them to live at home and go to school, while monitored).
- Jamie cosponsored legislation that would require Maryland colleges and universities to have effective policies addressing sexual assault on campus and offer victim-centered and fair responses to sexual assault complaints.
- Jamie has sponsored legislation to allow graduate assistants and adjunct faculty—positions often held by women and characterized by low pay, non-existent benefits and minimal job security—access to collective bargaining rights to ensure they receive fair compensation.
Fighting Domestic Violence and Securing Protections for Victims of Rape
As a member of the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee, Jamie has been a leader in the fight against domestic violence.
- Jamie cosponsored a bill enacted in 2009 that mandates that if a protective order is issued in a domestic violence case, the respondent must surrender his firearms, for the duration of the order.
- Jamie didn’t stop there. Last year, he was applauded by the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America for introducing legislation to close a gap in the state’s gun laws that allows a person convicted of a domestic violence crimes to leave the courthouse and go home to his guns, even when prohibited from possessing them. This session he is introducing legislation to compel all convicted domestic abusers to surrender their firearms.
- In 2015, Jamie introduced the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, which would limit the parental rights of rapists when a child is conceived through rape, and increase protections for rape survivors.
Strengthening Child Support Services
- In 2015, Jamie introduced and shepherded to enactment a law that strengthens and secures critical federal funding for child support services in Maryland.
Getting Drunk Drivers Off the Road
- Jamie won praise from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his successful effort to pass a bill requiring repeat drunk drivers to use ignition interlock breathalyzers in their cars—helping to significantly lower alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Maryland.
- This session, Jamie has introduced a bill that would require all drunk drivers to have an ignition interlock system in their cars.