HB427 Action for Change of Name – Waiver of Publication Requirement

Bill Title: Action for Change of Name – Waiver of Publication Requirement

Bill Number(s): HB0427

Bill Sponsor(s): Delegate Emily Shetty (D-18, Montgomery County)

Position: Support

Legislative History:

  • Passed House of Delegates unanimously and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

What will this bill do? 

House Bill 0427 which will improve access to name and gender changes for Transgender and Non-Binary Marylanders by allowing them to waive the cumbersome, expensive and often dangerous publication requirement. Currently, when a transgender or non-binary person attempts to change their name or gender marker on identity documents, they are required to publish in a local newspaper. HB0427 will allow automatic waiver of the publication requirement upon request, protecting the privacy and safety of transgender Marylanders and reduce the likelihood that they will be exposed to unnecessary discrimination and violence.

Why is this important? 

Publication is a costly requirement that disproportionate impacts individuals with low incomes, individuals living in urban areas, and individuals who are transgender. The cost of publication varies dramatically from county-to-county and newspaper-to-newspaper, from $40 up to $250. Some newspapers put legal notices online, where they may stay forever. Identity documents inconsistent with one’s gender identity put transgender Marylanders at risk of discrimination in housing, employment, and beyond as well as violence.

Although Rule 15-901 allows publication to be waived, courts are inconsistent in when they grant motions to waive publication. Decision is up to the presiding judge, with no guidance in the rule itself. In many counties, publication waivers are rarely, if ever, granted. This bill will streamline the process and administrative burden associated with changing one’s name.

Publication is an outdated requirement that states are shifting away from. 16 states, DC, and Puerto Rico allow name changes without publication. Creditors now rely on the three credit reporting agencies, which track individuals by Social Security number, rather than on legal notices in newspapers.

This bill will not: 

  • Allow registered sex offenders to change their name without notifying the State. See Proc. § 11-705.
  • Affect the rights of crime victims to receive notification regarding judicial and post-sentencing proceedings. See Crim Proc. 11-501 et seq.
  • Prevent non-custodial parents from receiving notice of a minor’s proposed name change or being able to object. See Rule 15-901(d) (requiring service of the petition for change of name to a minor’s parents, guardians, or custodians).
  • Change the legal test used by courts to decide in cases where a minor’s parents or guardians are in disagreement. See, e.g., West v. Wright, 263 Md. 297 (1971), Toepfer v. Meador, 2016 WL 4171452 (2016 Ct. of Spec. App.).

 House of Delegates Judiciary Committee // HB 0427

Member Email Address Phone Number
Luke H. Clippinger (Chair) luke.clippinger@house.state.md.us 410-841-3488 | 301-858-3488
Vanessa E. Atterbeary (Vice Chair) vanessa.atterbeary@house.state.md.us 410-841-3471 | 301-858-3471
Curtis S. (Curt) Anderson curt.anderson@house.state.md.us 410-323-4324
Lauren R. Arikan lauren.arikan@house.state.md.us 410-841-3334 | 301-858-3334
J. Sandy Bartlett sandy.bartlett@house.state.md.us 410-841-3370 | 301-858-3370
Jon S. Cardin jon.cardin@house.state.md.us 410-841-3054 | 301-858-3054
Frank M. Conaway, Jr. frank.conaway@house.state.md.us 410-841-3189
Daniel L. Cox dan.cox@house.state.md.us 410-841-3288 | 301-858-3288
Charlotte Crutchfield charlotte.crutchfield@house.state.md.us 410-841-3485 | 301-858-3485
Debra M. Davis debra.davis@house.state.md.us 410-841-3337 | 301-858-3337
Wanika B. Fisher wanika.fisher@house.state.md.us 410-841-3340 | 301-858-3340
Robin L. Grammer, Jr. Robin.Grammer@house.state.md.us 410-841-3298 | 301-858-3298
Mike Griffith mike.griffith@house.state.md.us 410-841-3444 | 301-858-3444
Jazz M. Lewis jazz.lewis@house.state.md.us 410-841-3691 | 301-858-3691
Lesley J. Lopez lesley.lopez@house.state.md.us 410-841-3021 | 301-858-3021
Michael E. Malone michael.malone@house.state.md.us 410-841-3510 | 301-858-3510
Susan K. McComas susan.mccomas@house.state.md.us 410-836-9449
David Moon david.moon@house.state.md.us 410-841-3474 | 301-858-3474
Jesse T. Pippy jesse.pippy@house.state.md.us 410-841-3118 | 301-858-3118
Emily K. Shetty emily.shetty@house.state.md.us 410-841-3181 | 301-858-3181
Nicole A. Williams nicole.williams@house.state.md.us 410-841-3058 | 301-858-3058
Ronald L. Watson ron.watson@house.state.md.us 410-841-3448 | 301-858-3448

Sample Script:

My name is _________ and I live in _______. I am calling/emailing in support of HB0427. The bill would eliminate the expensive, dangerous and outdated publication requirement for legal name and gender changes. Publication is a costly requirement that disproportionate impacts individuals with low incomes, individuals living in urban areas, and individuals who are transgender. Identity documents inconsistent with one’s gender identity put transgender Marylanders at risk of discrimination in housing, employment, and beyond as well as violence. Although Rule 15-901 allows publication to be waived, courts are inconsistent in when they grant motions to waive publication. In many counties, publication waivers are rarely, if ever, granted. This bill will streamline the process and administrative burden associated with changing one’s name. Publication is an outdated requirement that states are shifting away from. 16 states, DC, and Puerto Rico allow name changes without publication.