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Maryland Legislative Session Ends: Karma For Some, Deja Vu For Others

House Bill 558 (Maryland Comprehensive Health Education Framework) is dead. Again.

For people in education in Maryland, it may seem like deja vu. Last year at this time, education organizations were celebrating the block they put in front of a house bill that was the precursor to the above bill. It was a bill that would force local school systems to teach ALL sections of the State’s Health and Sex Education Framework or be faced with a fine from the Maryland State Superintendent.

The effort is part of what got the State Superintendent at the time, Mohammed Choudhury, released from his duties.

Many school boards, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, and even MSDE itself protested the bill, as the drastic overreach it was. So, the bill went down in flames.

Not one to be deterred, Vanessa Atterbeary of Howard County, who was the sponsor of last year’s bill, brought an almost identical bill back this year. The only difference was this year, she wanted systems to disallow parental opt outs for the units on “Gender Identity and Sexual Preferences.” These opt outs would keep a child from participating in these units. We reported on her effort here:

Atterbeary was denied once again Monday when the legislature voted HB 558 into oblivion. Maybe SHE should be told, like Republican Kathy Szeliga was regarding her “Save Girls Sports,” bill, to “not bring that bill back again next year. “

Yes, that was mean girl Atterbeary who said that to Szeliga.

Karma exists. At least in this case.

Unfortunately, there are other bills that did pass in the Legislature that should not have.

This year the Legislature passed so many potentially harmful bills, many that deny parents their rights to control the education, health care, and exposure of their children to harmful topics.

One of those bills is HB76 - Health Occupations-Pharmacists-Administration of Vaccines). It allows pharmacists to administer certain vaccines (Covid, Influenza vaccine, or a vaccine used for a public health emergency) to children as young as three.

Not so bad, right? Read the next paragraph and see if you can find the problem.


If you can find the word parent or guardian in that paragraph, let me know. Picture a three year old being taken in with a babysitter and the parents don’t know.

Another toxic bill is the Freedom to Read Act, SB 738. This bill reads like this:

Establishing a State policy that local school systems operate their school library media programs consistent with certain standards; requiring each local school system to develop a policy and procedures to review objections to materials in a school library media program; prohibiting a county board of education from dismissing, demoting, suspending, disciplining, reassigning, transferring, or otherwise retaliating against certain school library media program personnel for performing their job duties consistent with certain standards; etc.

Those “certain standards”? Not local standards, but State standards which are probably aligned with the American Library Association. Don’t know who they are? Here is their website:

When you go there, you’ll see these are not librarians, they are Progressive activists.

We addressed bill 738 in this article:

Some have recommended this law be called “The Freedom for Kids to Read Porn” Act.

A bill that has not passed is HB 1493/SB 1145, “Public and Nonpublic Schools – Child Sex Offenders – Prohibition on In-Person Attendance.” The bill is about:

Requiring law enforcement agencies and State’s Attorneys to notify schools of certain information when a child is arrested for a sexual offense in the third degree; prohibiting a child from in-person attendance at a public school or a nonpublic school that receives State funds if the child has been convicted or adjudicated delinquent of rape or other sexual offenses; and requiring each local school system to provide alternative educational options for children prohibited from in-person attendance under the Act.

This means that a minor who has been convicted of rape would not be able to attend in-person in a public school or a school that receives funds. Seems right to me. Does anyone want a rapist sharing a classroom with their child? Here are the stories from FOX 45 that caused this bill to be brought to the Legislature:

While the bill has passed the House, it had not passed the full legislature by the last day of session. The bill was a late filing but seems unlikely to get through.

There are many bills that never even got a chance to be voted on by the full legislature. In other words, they died in committee. These were bills to Save Girls Sports, to require that parents know about and give permission for their children to be given mental health treatment in school, to allow school choice, to prevent obscene materials from being displayed to minors, to prohibit sexually explicit materials in school libraries, and to allow homeschool students to dually enroll in college under the state grant system like public school students can.

One bill that did pass and is a good thing is SB 1026 the County Boards of Education – Budgets – Notice (Transparency in Education Spending Act). This bill would adopt a uniform budget reporting form for all districts in the State and would require a certain audit to be sent to the county council or the county commissioners; and generally relating to the budgets of county boards of education.

In other words, school board budgets must now be reported in specific and standard way.

Overall, it has been the kind of legislative session we would expect in deeply blue Maryland. Over 2700 bills were proposed. We only covered a few here. As usual, a few crumbs fall to those who support parental rights and Conservative values, while most of the bills that would truly reform the system are DOA in committees. Harmful bills like last year’s Juvenile Justice Reform pass with flying colors and turn our state into a sanctuary for juvenile crime.

As of the writing of this story, Governor Moore has yet to sign any bills into law. That will be the real test for some of these bills who made it through the general assembly. But we don’t expect he will stand for parents. He hasn’t yet.

And that is bad for parents and students.

April 11, 2024

Jan Greenhawk is a former teacher and school administrator for over thirty years. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Maryland. She also spent over twenty-five years coaching/judging gymnastics and coaching women’s softball.

This article originally featured on the Easton Gazette.

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