Stricter drunken driv­ing penalty among new laws

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - OBIT­U­ARY POL­ICY CAP­I­TAL NEWS SER­VICE RE­PORT

— Start­ing Oct. 1, var­i­ous laws will go into ef­fect in Mary­land, in­clud­ing laws to de­ter drunken driv­ing, in­crease po­lice ac­count­abil­ity and pub­lic safety, pro­mote work­ers’ rights, es­tab­lish opi­oid ad­dic­tion out­reach pro­grams and pro­tect the free­dom of the press.

Here is a roundup, by sub­ject area, of some of the leg­is­la­tion that be­gins Satur­day:

AN­NAPO­LIS Courts & civil pro­ceed­ings

Chil­dren in Need of As­sis­tance, Guardian­ship, Adop­tion, Cus­tody, and Vis­i­ta­tion — Blind­ness of Par­ent/ Guardian (SB765): In cases with dis­abled par­ents, dis­abil­i­ties, in­clud­ing blind­ness, can­not dis­credit the par­ent un­less proven that the dis­abil­ity is not in the best in­ter­est of the child.

Di­vorce-Cor­rob­o­ra­tion of Tes­ti­mony (SB359, HB274): Re­vers­ing pre­vi­ous laws, this al­lows courts to en­ter de­crees of di­vorce on be­half of one spouse with­out the agree­ment of the other. It also es­tab­lishes that a sep­a­ra­tion agree­ment is no longer suf­fi­cient to show both spouses want an ab­so­lute di­vorce.

Tes­ti­mony by Per­jurer (SB150, HB237): Peo­ple who have been con­victed of per­jur­ing them­selves, or ly­ing un­der oath, will no longer be pro­hib­ited from tes­ti­fy­ing in court. — By Sam Reilly

Crimes, cor­rec­tions & pub­lic safety

Pro­vid­ing Al­co­hol to Un­der­age Drinkers/Alex and Calvin’s Law (HB409): Fol­low­ing the death of Alex Murk and Calvin Li in a 2015 drunk­endriv­ing ac­ci­dent af­ter a party, this law prohibits a per­son from al­low­ing un­der­age in­di­vid­u­als to con­sume al­co­hol if they should have known that in­di­vid­ual would drive un­der the in­flu­ence.

Jus­tice Rein­vest­ment Act (SB1005): The law ex­pands drug treat­ment in the state health depart­ment, and treat­ment for sub­stance abuse and men­tal health through the cor­rec­tions depart­ment, in­clud­ing risk and needs as­sess­ments to de­ter­mine risks of re­of­fend­ing. The law also calls for plans for in­mate re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Pub­lic Safety and Polic­ing Work­group (HB1016): This law en­acts a num­ber of sug­ges­tions from the Pub­lic Safety and Polic­ing Work­group, in­clud­ing pro­tect­ing law en­force­ment of­fi­cers from be­ing pe­nal­ized or re­tal­i­ated against for dis­clos­ing in­for­ma­tion, and estab­lish­ing the Mary­land Po­lice Train­ing and Stan­dards Com­mis­sion within the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices.

Seizure and For­fei­ture (SB161/HB336): This law out­lines pro­ce­dures for seizure and for­fei­ture of prop­erty from a ve­hi­cle or other lo­ca­tion, such as no­ti­fy­ing the owner that it has been seized, within a spe­cific amount of time. The law also re­peals a pro­vi­sion that al­lowed for the for­fei­ture of drug-re­lated money and weapons.

Child Abuse and Ne­glect (SB310, HB245): Any­one in­volved in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of child abuse or ne­glect must re­port sus­pi­cions of an­other in­di­vid­ual know­ingly fail­ing to re­port child abuse to the ap­pro­pri­ate board, agency, in­sti­tu­tion or fa­cil­ity.

Crim­i­nal Law-Stalk­ing (SB278/HB155): This law ex­pands the def­i­ni­tion of stalker from in­cit­ing phys­i­cal fears or threats to in­clude caus­ing emo­tional dis­tress.

Pre­trial Re­lease-Prior Crime of Vi­o­lence (SB603): A District Court com­mis­sioner may not autho­rize the pre­trial re­lease of de­fen­dants who have been con­victed of a spec­i­fied crime or a crime of vi­o­lence. — By Sam Reilly

Eco­nomic mat­ters

Equal Pay for Equal Work (SB 481): An ex­pan­sion of the cur­rent law, this leg­is­la­tion prohibits em­ploy­ers from pay­ing em­ploy­ees of one gen­der iden­tity at a lesser rate than other em­ploy­ees. The bill also states that em­ploy­ers may not pro­hibit em­ploy­ees from dis­cussing or dis­clos­ing salaries.

Min­i­mum Wage for the Dis­abled (SB 417): Start­ing Oct. 1, the Com­mis­sioner of La­bor and In­dus­try can­not autho­rize a work ac­tiv­i­ties cen­ter or other shel­tered work­shop to pay an em­ployee with a dis­abil­ity a sub­min­i­mum wage un­less granted prior per­mis­sion to do so. Un­til Oct. 1, 2020, how­ever, em­ploy­ers with prior per­mis­sion may con­tinue to do so. After­ward, no em­ployer — un­der any cir­cum­stance — can pay a sub­min­i­mum wage to a dis­abled em­ployee.

Ap­pren­tice­ships (SB 92): Mem­bers of the Mary­land Ap­pren­tice­ships and Train­ing Coun­cil and its con­sul­tants must re­flect geo­graphic, racial, eth­nic, cul­tural and gen­der di­ver­sity within the state.

— By Katishi Maake

Educ­ta­tion

Stu­dent Jour­nal­ists (SB 764): Stu­dent jour­nal­ists in pub­lic elementary or se­condary schools or pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion have the right to ex­er­cise free­dom of speech and free­dom of the press in school­spon­sored me­dia, with some re­stric­tions. Each county board of ed­u­ca­tion and pub­lic in­sti­tu­tion of higher ed­u­ca­tion must write a pol­icy that may in­clude lim­i­ta­tions on abu­sive or threat­en­ing lan­guage or pro­fan­ity.

Univer­sity of Mary­land Strate­gic Part­ner­ship Act (SB 1052): The law ce­ments a part­ner­ship be­tween the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park and the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more and calls for them to be named the Univer­sity of Mary­land. Ad­di­tion­ally, it calls for the Univer­sity Sys­tem of Mary­land to cre­ate a head­quar­ters in Bal­ti­more by July 1. The al­liance lever­ages re­sources on both cam­puses to im­prove aca­demic pro­grams, and eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Pro­vi­sions (SB 427): Pri­vate ca­reer schools and for-profit in­sti­tu­tions can no longer en­roll stu­dents in pro­grams that are in­tended to lead to em­ploy­ment in fields that re­quire a li­cense or cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in Mary­land, but don’t meet state re­quire­ments. Vi­o­la­tions will be sub­ject to civil and crim­i­nal penal­ties.

— By Katishi Maake

En­vi­ron­ment & nat­u­ral re­sources

Green­house Gas Emis­sions (SB 323): This bill re­peals the ter­mi­na­tion date of the cur­rent re­quire­ment to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by 25 per­cent from 2006 lev­els by 2020 and requires the State to re­duce GHG emis­sions by 40 per­cent from 2006 lev­els by 2030.

Pol­li­na­tor Pro­tec­tion Act — Bees (SB 113) (SB 198/ HB 211): Re­peals the re­quire­ment that a per­son must re­quest or pro­vide an en­try per­mit from the Mary­land Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture be­fore ship­ping or trans­port­ing a bee colony or used bee equip­ment into the state. How­ever, any colony or used bee equip­ment shipped or trans­ported into the state must still carry an in­spec­tion cer­tifi­cate from the state of ori­gin. This law will also ban the use of pes­ti­cides with neonic- oti­noids be­gin­ning on Jan. 1, 2018. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists say these pes­ti­cides con­trib­ute to the di­min­ish­ing num­ber of bees. Cer­ti­fied ap­pli­ca­tors will still be able to use them.

So­lar Elec­tric Gen­er­at­ing Fa­cil­ity (SB 811/HB 440): Requires elec­tric com­pa­nies to is­sue fi­nal ap­proval to op­er­ate a cus­tomer-gen­er­a­tor’s so­lar elec­tric fa­cil­ity on the com­pany’s distri­bu­tion fa­cil­i­ties within 20 busi­ness days af­ter the com­ple­tion of the in­stal­la­tion process and re­ceipt of pa­per­work. An elec­tric com­pany must meet these re­quire­ments for at least 90 per­cent of in­stal­la­tions dur­ing the year in their ser­vice ter­ri­tory.

Oys­ters: Aqua­cul­ture — Li­a­bil­ity for Trespass (HB 799): Es­tab­lishes that a per­son who will­fully, neg­li­gently, reck­lessly, wrong­fully, or ma­li­ciously en­ters any area leased to an­other per­son for aqua­cul­ture pur­poses to har­vest, dam­age, or trans­fer shell­fish or to al­ter, dam­age, or re­move any mark­ings or equip­ment is li­able for spec­i­fied dam­ages, which may in­clude at­tor­ney fees or court costs.

Oys­ters: Dredg­ing (HB 319): Makes some pro­vi­sions re­lated to dredg­ing for oys­ters, in­clud­ing limited au­tho­riza­tion of dredge boats to be pro­pelled by an aux­il­iary yawl boat, ap­pli­ca­ble only to ves­sels that meet spec­i­fied stan­dards. The law also re­peals re­quire­ments for num­bers that must be dis­played on a dredge boat.

— By Eleanor Mueller

Fis­cal mat­ters

Mary­land In­come Tax Re­funds — War­rant In­ter­cept Pro­gram (SB 425/HB 390): If an in­di­vid­ual has an out­stand­ing war­rant, county of­fi­cials may re­quest that the comptroller with­hold that per­son’s in­come tax re­fund, in­clud­ing ac­tive duty mem­bers of the U.S. Armed Forces. The state must also study the pro­gram to en­sure there is no racial bias.

Se­nior Cit­i­zen Ac­tiv­i­ties Cen­ter Op­er­at­ing Fund (SB 98, SB 805/HB 262): This law in­creases, from $500,000 to $750,000, the min­i­mum an­nual fund­ing to the fund, requires ad­di­tional ex­pen­di­tures un­der spec­i­fied cir­cum­stances, and al­ters how the funds are dis­trib­uted to ju­ris­dic­tions.

— By Eleanor Mueller

Gam­ing, rac­ing and sports

Gam­ing — Home Games (HB 127): Any­one 21 years or older can bet on home card games or mahjong as long as the games do not oc­cur more than once a week and are played with friends. There is a $1,000 limit per 24-hour pe­riod and no fees may be charged.

State Lot­tery and Video Lot­tery Fa­cil­ity Pay­outs — Re­mit­tance of In­ter­cepted Prizes (SB 78): The bill re­peals the 15-day wait­ing pe­riod for the State Lot­tery and Gam­ing Con­trol Agency to trans­fer the lot­tery prize pay­out of a win­ner who is over­due on child-sup­port pay­ments.

— By Robbie Greenspan

Health care & health in­sur­ance

Opi­oid-As­so­ci­ated Dis­ease Pre­ven­tion and Out­reach Pro­grams (SB 97): The bill re­peals Prince Ge­orge’s County AIDS-re­lated nee­dle ex­change pro­gram, and will in­stead autho­rize health de­part­ments or com­mu­ni­ty­based or­ga­ni­za­tions in ev­ery county to es­tab­lish an opi­oidas­so­ci­ated dis­ease pre­ven­tion and out­reach pro­gram, with the ap­proval of the Depart­ment of Health and Men­tal Hy­giene.

Hospi­tals — Des­ig­na­tion of Lay Care­givers (HB 1277): A hospi­tal is re­quired be­fore the pa­tient is dis­charged to pro­vide a pa­tient or their le­gal guardian with an op­por­tu­nity to des­ig­nate a “lay care­giver.”

State Board of Physi­cians — Li­cens­ing Ex­emp­tion — Physi­cians with Trav­el­ing Ath­letic and Sports Teams (HB 119): Physi­cians are ex­empt from state li­cens­ing re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing the re­quire­ment to sub­mit to a crim­i­nal his­tory records check.

— By Robbie Greenspan

Open meet­ings

Open Meet­ings Act — Agen­das (HB 217): Agen­das for pub­lic body meet­ings must be made avail­able to the pub­lic at the time of the no­tice of the meet­ing or at least 24 hours be­fore the meet­ing.

Open Meet­ings Act — Re­ten­tion (SB 17, HB 984): Pub­lic bodies will keep a writ­ten copy of min­utes or video or au­dio record­ings for five years in­stead of one of an open ses­sion.

— By Vickie Con­nor

Trans­porta­tion

Drunk Driv­ing Re­duc­tion Act/ Noah’s Law (SB 945): The Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Ad­min­is­tra­tion will re­quire peo­ple con­victed of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or driv­ers found to have a blood al­co­hol level of 0.08 or higher to use the Ig­ni­tion In­ter­lock Sys­tem Pro­gram for a spe­cific amount of time. This bill was ini­ti­ated af­ter Mont­gomery County Po­lice Of­fi­cer Noah Leotta was struck and killed by a drunk driver. A sticker hon­or­ing the of­fi­cer will be on each in­ter­lock device.

Death or In­jury by Ve­hi­cle (SB0160, HB157): The law in­creases penal­ties for of­fend­ers who com­mit ve­hic­u­lar man­slaugh­ter who have been con­victed of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol pre­vi­ously. Of­fend­ers can now face up to 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle In­sur­ance — Car­ry­ing Proof of Cov­er­age (SB 0544, HB 0720): This law requires driv­ers to have a cur­rent in­sur­ance iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card — pa­per, plas­tic or elec­tronic — with them or in their ve­hi­cle, or face a $50 fine start­ing July 1.

His­toric Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles — Au­tho­rized Uses and In­spec­tions (HB 0058): This law requires his­toric mo­tor ve­hi­cle own­ers to cer­tify that it will not be used for trans­porta­tion to em­ploy­ment or school, or for com­mer­cial pur­poses. The law changes some re­quire­ments for ve­hi­cles from 1985 or ear­lier.

HOV Lanes — Plug-In Elec­tric Drive and Hy­brid Ve­hi­cles (HB 1179): This bill is­sues an HOV per­mit to a “qual­i­fied hy­brid ve­hi­cle,” al­low­ing the ve­hi­cle to be driven in the HOV lane on U.S. Route 50 be­tween I-95 / I-495 and U.S. Route 301, re­gard­less of the num­ber of peo­ple in the ve­hi­cle.

— By Vickie Con­nor

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

A num­ber of new laws will take ef­fect in the state on Oct. 1, in­clud­ing stricter drunken driv­ing penal­ties.

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