In taking office as Maryland's Attorney General, Anthony Brown promised that this Office would become a partner in the ongoing struggle to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all Marylanders. “From the freedom to choose where to live and who to love, to equity in access to good jobs, quality healthcare, clean air and water, and protection from harm, Marylanders deserve an Attorney General who can fight on their behalf for these fundamental rights," said Attorney General Brown.
During the 2023 legislative session, the Attorney General asked the Maryland General Assembly for civil rights enforcement authority in the form of SB540, which gives the Attorney General's Office the ability to investigate, civilly prosecute, and remediate civil rights violations of non-governmental entities. This expanded authority is a first in Maryland history and allows the Office, alongside its partners, to protect Marylanders no matter their race, color, religion or creed, sex, age, ancestry or national origin, marital status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
What is next?: The bill providing the Attorney General with this history-making authority was signed into law by Governor Wes Moore on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. The bill becomes law on October 1, 2023. We are hiring staff to investigate and litigate broad civil rights complaints. Some of the tips and information that lead to these lawsuits will come from you, so let us know if you or someone you know has had their civil rights violated. We will continue to update this page as processes take shape. However, for individual complaints, please continue filing with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.
For 53 years, the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) has been the only State entity empowered to enforce the State's housing, employment, and public accommodations antidiscrimination laws. MCCR has been and remains one of our most valued partners in the fight to protect Marylanders' civil rights. This law allows the Office of the Attorney General to supplement the work of the Commission through investigation of large-scale, systemic cases where discrimination has affected Marylanders.
The Office of the Attorney General has a long history of advancing civil rights and combating unlawful discrimination. In 2017, former Attorney General Brian Frosh created the Office's first Civil Rights Division led by an attorney. That same year, the General Assembly also passed the Maryland Defense Act (MDA). The MDA authorized the Office of the Attorney General to file suit on behalf of Marylanders when the federal government's action or inaction threatens the public interest and welfare of the residents of the State with respect to a variety of civil rights and liberties. For more information on litigation the Office has engaged in under the MDA see our Maryland Defense Act 20 22 Report (Previous annual reports here ).
In addition to the new civil rights litigation authority granted to the Attorney General in 2023, the Civil Rights Division will continue its prior work of actively protecting equal opportunity and combatting unlawful discrimination through advice and guidance memoranda, community outreach and education, and legislative and other advocacy.
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