Maryland’s state legislature is called the Maryland General Assembly. The General Assembly has an upper and lower house (just like the U.S. Congress and Senate) and members are elected to 4-year terms. The General Assembly meets annually for 3-month sessions at the begging of each calendar year (January to April). Any new laws that get passed in this session at the start of the year go into effect on the 1st of October. So, each year at the start of October Marylanders have to adjust to new laws and 2020 is no exception. Below, I summarize some more significant new Maryland laws that took effect on October 1st.
Discrimination Based on Certain Race-Associated Hairstyles is Prohibited
Maryland law already prohibits racial discrimination in employment, housing, and other public services. Now a new amendment to this law will extend that prohibition against discrimination based on certain hairstyles that are commonly associated with African Americans. Hairstyles, specifically hair texture and afro hairstyles, are now included in the state’s definition of “race” for purposes of discrimination. This is one of the very first state laws of this type in the entire country. The law applies to all Maryland employers with 15 or more employees.