Vision

Strong Women. Strong Maryland.


A bright and ambitious student at College Park, my daughter Rebecca looks at the world and sees opportunities.

Whichever path she chooses, I want my daughter to live in a state where her efforts aren’t devalued because of her gender. I want her to enjoy a future where her opportunities are only limited by her dreams.

It’s not just about Rebecca: it’s about all of our daughters and mothers, all of our sisters, co-workers, neighbors and friends. Together, we must create more opportunities for Marylanders by strengthening economic advancement, health, and safety for women throughout our state. Together, we must build a future where any Marylander can start a business, pursue a career, or raise a family without being treated unfairly.

Over the past seven years, we’ve made tremendous progress in this effort. Today, Maryland is the top state in the nation in wage equity for women, but we can do more[1]. We’ve reduced the number of homicides among women and youth by 23% since 2006[2]. We passed the Lilly Ledbetter Civil Rights Restoration Act, helping all Marylanders fight discriminatory workplace practices. We’ve worked tirelessly to implement the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that being a woman is no longer the reason for higher premiums and extending health benefits such as well visits, mammograms, domestic violence screening and counseling, prenatal screening, blood pressure and diabetes counseling all at no additional out-of-pocket costs[3]. And according to the Center for American Progress, we’re the #1 state for women’s economic security and the number of women in leadership positions[4].

But for all of our progress, we know that there’s still a lot of work to be done. And we won’t rest until every Marylander is treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.

Under a Brown-Ulman Administration, we’re committed to gender equality in our schools, in our workplaces, and throughout Maryland. Together, we’ll promote economic advancement for women by closing the gender wage gap; raising the minimum wage; increasing startup capital for women entrepreneurs; and supporting parents seeking economic advancement by expanding vouchers for child care.

We’ll improve women’s health and safety by continuing to guarantee access to reproductive health and birth control; working to end domestic violence and sexual assault; and promoting healthy living, diagnosis and treatment to fight heart disease and cancer.

And we will strengthen families by extending sick and family leave to more Maryland workers; and enhancing home visiting services for our most at-risk families.

As Marylanders, equal opportunity is at the core of our shared beliefs. And although our state is already a great place to live, work, and raise a family, building a better Maryland for more Marylanders means committing to fairness and equality for all of our neighbors. Together, we can take on that challenge, and one day make that goal a reality.

Sincerely,
signature

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown

To download a PDF version of this plan, click here.

 

Mission: The Brown-Ulman Administration will promote opportunities for more Marylanders by strengthening women’s economic advancement, health and safety.

Promote Economic Advancement

1) Close the Gender Wage Gap

Gender wage gaps are harmful not only to the women they affect, but also to our families. On average, women in Maryland earn 85 cents for every dollar men earn[5]. While this makes Maryland the best state in the nation for wage equity, we firmly believe that any gender wage disparity is unacceptable[6]. The Brown-Ulman administration will work to ensure that gender is never a determining factor in economic opportunities and will continue Maryland’s progress toward elimination of the gender wage gap and all forms of employment-based gender bias.

Maryland Business Challenge

We will partner with the Maryland business and non-profit community to institute a statewide challenge to increase representation of women in our boardrooms and at the highest levels of leadership. We will challenge Maryland businesses and organizations to set goals and report on their progress. In order to facilitate the connection between women and businesses, we will create a public database that connects women interested in board appointments to businesses seeking candidates. We will also use as a model the recently launched Boston Women’s Compact, which asks companies to evaluate their wages and to implement measures to end disparities[7].

Create the Maryland Women’s Leadership Institute

We will create the Maryland Women’s Leadership Institute, a voluntary program designed to encourage and support women in State government leadership. The program will provide networking, training and mentorship opportunities for women pursuing a career in management and agency leadership. The program will cultivate and enhance the skills of all women in State service through regular meetings, speaker series and workshops.

Cost: We will allocate $250,000 to market and launch the Maryland Business Challenge. We will invest $200,000 annually to staff and coordinate the Maryland Women’s Leadership Institute.

2) Raise the Minimum Wage

We will raise Maryland’s minimum wage in order to lift more Marylanders out of poverty. More than six in ten Maryland minimum wage workers are women[8]. In 2012, 28% of households headed by single mothers lived in poverty[9]. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour will boost earnings for nearly half a million Maryland workers[10]. We will raise the wage in order to help more Marylanders achieve economic security.

Cost: Research suggests that raising the Maryland minimum wage will generate as much as $456 million in economic activity, as workers use increased wages to invest in goods and services[11]. Increased earnings and spending in the local economy will create as much as 1,600 new jobs[12], increase tax revenues to the State and reduce the number of Marylanders requiring public assistance.

UPDATE: During the 2014 legislative session, Lt. Governor Brown played a leading role in the passage of the Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014 (HB 295). He testified alongside Governor O’Malley before the Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters Committees, and worked with labor and faith leaders to advocate for higher wages.[13]

3) Advance Women Entrepreneurs

Increase Access to Capital

We will increase access to startup capital for women entrepreneurs, whose business aspirations are too often constrained by an inability to secure necessary start-up funding. By establishing a competitive grant fund – the “Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) Fund” – we will create new and innovative enterprises. Eligible grant concepts may include research endeavors, social enterprises, as well as traditional business ventures.

We will also increase funding for small business loans for women-owned businesses by creating a dedicated small business loan program for women-owned businesses administered by the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA). By ensuring access to startup capital, we will promote the type of innovative, woman-owned enterprises that will help Maryland flourish for generations to come.

Promote Women- and Minority-Owned Business

In February of this year, we released our eight-point plan to advance women and minority-owned business in Maryland. Together, we will promote the growth of women and minority-owned businesses and align priorities across agencies to maximize M/WBE participation in State contracts. Three key elements of this plan are:

• Establishing a memorandum of understanding with the Maryland Insurance Administration and regulated insurers to increase minority and women-owned business participation;
• Creating a state-wide mentor-protégée program for minority and women entrepreneurs; and
• Allowing M/WBE prime contractors to count their work toward minority participation contract goals.

Cost: We will dedicate $500,000 to the WIN Fund competitive grant program. We will invest $1,000,000 in a women-owned small business loan fund administered by MSBDFA. For a full discussion of the cost of our vision for advancing women and minority-owned businesses, please see our Open for Business plan.

4) Create Economic Opportunities for Parents and Children

With 78% of Maryland’s single-parent homes led by women, some adults are forced into difficult choices between their careers and families[14]. We will ensure all parents can take advantage of opportunities for economic mobility by promoting access to the resources necessary for Marylanders to advance in the workforce while raising a family.

Expand Access to Child Care

We will expand access to licensed child care services through the State’s child care voucher program and end the waitlist by FY2016. Due to the great recession and reductions in federal contributions, Maryland was forced to reduce eligibility for the child care voucher program in FY2011. While we have reopened the program, budget constraints have resulted in a waiting list[15]. We will commit the resources necessary in the first year of our administration to reopen the top two income eligibility brackets, which will restore access to the credit to all families at pre-FY2011 levels and end the waiting list. In years two through four we will increase funding so that parents can access the best quality programs for their children.

Establish Universal Pre-K

In October of 2013, we announced our plan to bring universal, high-quality, and voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) to every Maryland child. The economic and educational benefits of universal Pre-K are many, the greatest of which is addressing achievement disparities at an early age. By 2018, we will phase in universal half day Pre-K for all Marylanders. We will expand this to full day Pre-K for every child by 2022.

Renew our Commitment to After-School Programming

We will renew our commitment to quality after-school programs in order to help parents pursue the opportunity for economic advancement and mobility, while ensuring safe and constructive activities for their children. Supervised after school activities provide a positive counterforce to negative influences like drugs and gangs. We will reinvest in the After-School Opportunity Fund, which supports after-school and summer programming across the state. In Maryland, 28% of K-12 youth are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. Of all Maryland children not currently enrolled in an after-school program, 37% would be likely to participate if such a program were available in their community[16]. We will extend out-of-school opportunities to more Maryland students.

Cost: We will invest an additional $5 million in the State’s child care voucher program in FY2016 to reopen the top two eligibility brackets and eliminate the waitlist. We will invest an additional $1.5 million annually from FY2017 to FY2019 to expand access to the voucher program. For a full discussion of the cost of our vision for Universal Pre-K, please see our Running Start Maryland plan. We will invest $3 million annually in the Maryland After-School Opportunity Fund.

Improve Health and Safety

5) Guarantee Access to Reproductive Health and Birth Control

We will guarantee access to reproductive health services and birth control for all women. We will fight legislation both before the General Assembly and Congress that would threaten access to these services or limit a woman’s right to reproductive choice. Through our commitment, we will continuously seek out opportunities to strengthen services in every community across the state.

Cost: No additional cost.

6) Eliminate Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Maryland

In October of 2013, we announced our plan to end domestic violence and sexual assault in Maryland. Together, we will end the cycle of domestic violence and protect more Marylanders. Three key elements of this plan are:

• Establishing a hospital-based domestic-violence screening, referral, and assistance program in every Maryland community hospital;
• Lowering the burden of proof necessary to secure a final protective order; and
• Increasing penalties for those who commit domestic violence, sexual assault or rape in the presence of a minor.

Cost: For a full discussion of the costs, please see the Our Path to Zero plan.

7) Strengthen Resources to End Human Trafficking

We will strengthen our resources to end human trafficking in Maryland. Together, we will adopt legislation to elevate human trafficking to a felony for all victims under the age of 21, bringing more people to justice[17]. We will also ensure that all relevant agencies – including educators, police officers, social workers and correctional officers – receive sensitivity and awareness training on human trafficking, in order to hone their identification and response techniques[18].

Cost: We will dedicate $200,000 annually to increase staff for interagency coordination and expand human trafficking training.

8) Expand Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) Programs

Working in partnership with hospitals, advocates and health care providers, we will ensure that all 47 of Maryland’s community hospitals can provide victims of sexual assault with a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE). Currently, 23 hospitals have SAFE programs to help victim/survivors of rape or sexual assault by providing specialized care and by collecting the forensic evidence needed to convict sex offenders. The Center for Injury and Sexual Assault Prevention of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will coordinate with victim advocates and community hospitals to develop and support programs to provide SAFEs in every hospital. This will ensure that victims/survivors do not have to locate and travel to SAFE programs after an assault. Instead, they will be able to receive treatment and forensic exams at the hospital they choose.

Cost: We will invest $100,000 in FY2016 and $200,000 in FY2017 to train the forensic examiners necessary to equip every hospital with the resources they need.

9) Combat Heart Disease and Cancer

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among women in Maryland[19]. We will promote healthy living and wellness in order to combat heart disease and improve health outcomes for all Marylanders. We will also target investments to cancer diagnosis and treatment that will help save lives.

Launch Healthiest Maryland 2.0

We will launch the “Healthiest Maryland 2.0” campaign, bolstering our commitment to healthy lifestyles throughout Maryland. In 2010, we committed to working with businesses, higher education and the community to encourage wellness programs in workplaces, bring resources to local health departments and educate thousands of Marylanders about how to take control of their health through lifestyle choices[20]. Through Healthiest Maryland 2.0, we will double the number of participating employers and Marylanders reached by 2018. A more active lifestyle and better diet can improve heart health, encourage weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower stress[21], and reduce cholesterol[22]. Through this campaign we will bring knowledge about the benefits of active living, healthy diet and preventive medicine to more Marylanders and reduce the incidence of heart disease and other health conditions.

Improve Access to Healthy Foods

We will also improve access to healthy foods in order to combat dietary challenges that lead to heart disease. “Food deserts” are areas in which residents experience difficulty finding fresh fruits, vegetables and protein, due to their distance from a supermarket, lack of independent transportation and low household income[23]. They exist in communities across Maryland and increase the risk for poor health outcomes. In Baltimore City alone, 1 in 5 people live in a food desert. We will invest in grants to expand our efforts to bring healthy nutritional options to these residents in partnership with farmers markets, co-ops and retailers; and through new urban farms and community gardens.

Increase Funding for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

We will increase funding for to the Maryland Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program[25]. This program, which is administered by local health departments, helps women who are uninsured or underinsured gain access to cancer treatment. Although implementation of the Affordable Care Act has extended health coverage to hundreds of thousands more Marylanders, financial barriers to screening and treatment remain. Early access to treatment leads to better outcomes, and with additional funding we can extend cancer screening and treatment to more Marylanders.

Cost: We will invest $300,000 annually in the Healthiest Maryland 2.0 initiative for additional staff and outreach. We will dedicate $500,000 annually to grant funding to improve access to healthy foods. We will also dedicate an additional $400,000 annually to the Maryland Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program.

Strengthening Families

10) Extend Sick and Family Leave to More Maryland Workers

Marylanders should not face undue financial stress simply for falling ill or welcoming a new child to their family. Thirty-eight percent of workers nationwide have no paid sick time at all, and workers without paid sick time are more likely to attend work sick and contagious[26]. Sick leave provides not only benefits to the Maryland workers, but to Maryland as a whole, saving millions in health care costs[27]. “Expanding family leave to additional employees is both good for families but also important for the long-term economic health of [Maryland], since time with children in the first months is often critical for long-term child development.”[28]

Working with our partners in the General Assembly, the business community, and labor the Brown-Ulman Administration will expand Maryland’s law to bring paid sick leave protections to more Marylanders. We will also extend family leave opportunities to more Maryland workers, ensuring time for families to bond after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. We will support efforts to extend unpaid family leave to more employees and work with stakeholders to identify a responsible mechanism to fund a paid family leave benefit in the future. Throughout our efforts, we will be mindful of the impacts of these proposals on small businesses and seek out reasonable accommodations that balance the needs of Maryland workers with the interests of small employers. Together, we will extend these protections to more Marylanders while growing our economy.

Cost: We will dedicate $500,000 annually to provide the compliance staff necessary for earned sick leave protections and to account for cost increases due to contractual State employees[29]. We will extend unpaid family leave to more Maryland workers at no additional cost.

11) Enhance Home Visiting Services

We will enhance home visiting services to support our most at-risk Maryland families where they live. In many communities, families face incredible challenges as a result of poverty and lack of support. The Brown-Ulman Administration will continue our commitment to Maryland’s home visiting system, which has been described as “one of the best in the nation for investing home visiting dollars effectively.[30]” Home visiting brings comprehensive, integrated, family-focused early childhood services to Maryland’s most at-risk communities. These voluntary programs bring together parents with health care professionals, social workers and educators to provide information and support from pregnancy through early childhood, including information and education.[31] We will improve maternal and childhood health and strengthen parent-child relationships through enhancements to home visiting.

Cost: We will invest an additional $1,000,000 annually to bring these services to more at-risk families.

Costs and Implementation

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Funding Source

Research suggests that raising the Maryland minimum wage will generate as much as $456 million in economic activity, as workers use increased wages to invest in goods and services[32]. Increased earnings and spending in the local economy will create as much as 1,600 new jobs[33], increase tax revenues to the State and reduce the number of Marylanders requiring public assistance. Projecting conservatively, if only six percent of the $456 million in economic activity is directed to the State through taxes – or the equivalent of the sales tax – this will amount to $27.4 million in new revenue. We will reinvest the revenues collected and savings achieved by virtue of raising the minimum wage to fund the initiatives outlined above.

 

 

 

Citations
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[1] Excluding Washington, DC. The Gender Pay Gap by State and Congressional District, American Association of University Women Website; see also – Maryland is tied with Nevada and Vermont for the lowest wage gap The State of Women in America – A 50-State Analysis of How Women are Fairing Across the Nation,  Center for American Progress, September 2010, page 10
[2] Violence, Maryland StateStat Website
[3] What Are the Preventive Women’s Services Under Health Reform, The Baltimore Sun, October 10, 2013
[4] The State of Women in America – A 50-State Analysis of How Women are Fairing Across the Nation,  Center for American Progress, September 2010, pages 8 and 21
[5] The State of Women in America – A 50-State Analysis of How Women are Fairing Across the Nation,  Center for American Progress, September 2010, page 10
[6] Excluding Washington, DC. The Gender Pay Gap by State and Congressional District, American Association of University Women Website; see also – Maryland is tied with Nevada and Vermont for the lowest wage gap The State of Women in America – A 50-State Analysis of How Women are Fairing Across the Nation,  Center for American Progress, September 2010, page 10
[7] 100% Talent – The Boston Women’s Compact, City of Boston Website
[8] Fair Pay for Women and People of Color in Maryland Requires Increasing the minimum Wage and the Tipped Minimum Wage, National Women’s Law Center Website, February 2014, page 1
[9] Fair Pay for Women and People of Color in Maryland Requires Increasing the minimum Wage and the Tipped Minimum Wage, National Women’s Law Center Website, February 2014, page 1
[10]Fair Pay for Women and People of Color in Maryland Requires Increasing the minimum Wage and the Tipped Minimum Wage, National Women’s Law Center Website, February 2014, page 2
[11] Raising the Maryland Minimum Wage Will Benefit Nearly Half A  Million Workers and Modestly Boost the State’s Economy, Economic Policy Institute, January 31, 2014, page 2
[12] Raising the Maryland Minimum Wage Will Benefit Nearly Half A  Million Workers and Modestly Boost the State’s Economy, Economic Policy Institute, January 31, 2014, page 2
[13] Rise in Single Fathers Defies Historic Trend, The Baltimore Sun, May 20, 2011
[14] Budget Analysis – Early Childhood Development – Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Department of Legislative Services, FY2015, page 22
[15] Afterschool in Maryland,  Afterschool Alliance Website
[16] Combating Human Trafficking in Maryland – Recommendations for a Statewide Approach 2013 Update, Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention and the Maryland human Trafficking Task Force, May 20, 2013, page 12
[17] Combating Human Trafficking in Maryland – Recommendations for a Statewide Approach 2013 Update, Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention and the Maryland human Trafficking Task Force, May 20, 2013
[18] Maryland Vital Statistics Annual Report 2012, State of Maryland, 2012, page 163
[19] About, Institute for a Healthiest Maryland Website; see also  Healthiest Maryland Businesses, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Website
[20] Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress,  The Mayo Clinic Website
[21] Lowering Your Cholesterol Through Diet and Lifestyle, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Website
[22] Planning/ Baltimore Food Policy Initiative/ Food Deserts, Baltimore City Website
[23] Planning/ Baltimore Food Policy Initiative/ Food Deserts, Baltimore City Website
[24] Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program,  Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Website
[25] Paid Sick Days Work for U.S. Employees and Employers, Center for American Progress, August 16, 2012, page 3
[26] Valuing Good Health in Maryland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Website, February 2013, page 3
[27] Maternity/Paternity Leave, Progressive States Network Website
[28] Fiscal and Policy Note – HB968 – Labor and Employment – Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act,  Maryland Department of Legislative Services, 2014
[29] Maryland Adopts Data-Driven Policies for Home Visiting,  Pew Charitable Trusts Website, May 30, 2012
[30] The Case for Home Visiting – Strong Families Start with a Solid Foundation,  The Pew Center on the States, May 2010
[31] Raising the Maryland Minimum Wage Will Benefit Nearly Half A  Million Workers and Modestly Boost the State’s Economy, Economic Policy Institute, January 31, 2014, page 2
[32] Raising the Maryland Minimum Wage Will Benefit Nearly Half A  Million Workers and Modestly Boost the State’s Economy, Economic Policy Institute, January 31, 2014, page 2


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