In surprise move, Maryland lawmaker uses amendment to change domestic violence definition

City Paper

Maryland Del. Angela Angel (D-Prince George's County) had some success this week in her efforts to widen the definition of domestic violence in Maryland, but she says she still has a lot of work to do – and not much time in which to do it.

Angel's original bill, HB 1396, which City Paper wrote about on Thursday, sought to include the malicious destruction of property as a form of domestic abuse. However, that legislation died in committee.

On Thursday, in a surprise move, Angel introduced an amendment to SB 924 to include malicious destruction of property to the definition of abuse in Maryland Family Law code. The bill passed the House with a vote of 65 to 60.

“We talked to quite a bit of people and started doing what is called whipping the vote,” Angel said. “I shared my amendment with quite a few of my fellow delegates.”

She said many of her fellow delegates expressed support—one said the need for such language went beyond party lines.

In an interview with City Paper Friday night, Angel was jubilant but said there was still much work to be done. The bill still hasn’t crossed over from the House of Delegates to the Maryland State Senate, where it will also need approval. By Saturday, Angel had started a hashtag, #WhereIsSB924 to continue raising awareness.

Angel says that she is asking that the bill not go back to committee, where she fears it could die again, but instead go before full senate for a vote.

But Angel doesn’t have much time – the state’s legislative session closes at midnight on Monday.

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