Dozens of new laws take ef­fect in Mary­land this week

The Dundalk Eagle - - REC COUNCIL NEWS - By THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

— Dozens of new laws are tak­ing ef­fect in Mary­land this week.

The Gen­eral As­sem­bly approved more than 600 bills in this year’s leg­isla­tive ses­sion, which was short­ened by the coro­n­avirus. While many of the new laws approved this year take ef­fect in Oc­to­ber, The Bal­ti­more Sun re­ports that some go into ef­fect on Wed­nes­day. Here’s a look at some of them:

PO­LICE BODY CAM­ERAS Law­mak­ers cre­ated a Law En­force­ment Body Cam­era Task Force, which must is­sue a re­port by Dec. 1 on the best ways for stor­ing au­dio and video record­ings from po­lice body cam­eras.

PO­LICE AU­DITS

Cur­rent Mary­land law re­quires the state’s Of­fice of Leg­isla­tive Au­dits to per­form an au­dit on the “ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency of the fi­nan­cial man­age­ment prac­tices” of the de­part­ment in 2020 and then at least once ev­ery six years after that. The law spon­sored by Bal­ti­more Sen. Cory McCray clar­i­fies that mul­ti­ple au­dits can be per­formed. It also spec­i­fies that the em­ploy­ees or au­tho­rized rep­re­sen­ta­tives of OLA must have ac­cess to and may in­spect the records, in­clud­ing those that are con­fi­den­tial by law.

SPE­CIAL ED­U­CA­TION OM­BUDS­MAN A new law will cre­ate an om­buds­man in the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral for par­ents who are frus­trated with the qual­ity of spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices for their chil­dren. The om­buds­man’s charge is to “serve as a re­source to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and sup­port to par­ents, stu­dents and ed­u­ca­tors re­gard­ing spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion rights and ser­vices.”

FLOOD CON­TROL

After two deadly floods in Old El­li­cott City and re­peated nui­sance flood­ing in down­town Annapolis, two new laws will help pay for flood pre­ven­tion. One law makes it eas­ier to use money for the Bay Restora­tion Fund — bet­ter known as the “flush fee” — on projects that will help com­bat flood­ing and other cli­mate prob­lems. An­other law al­lows city and county gov­ern­ments to cre­ate re­silience au­thor­i­ties, which could be used to bor­row money and man­age projects that would im­prove in­fra­struc­ture. TU­ITION-NA­TIONAL GUARD Mem­bers of the Mary­land Na­tional Guard cur­rently can be re­im­bursed up to 50% of the cost of col­lege tu­ition. A law re­quested by Repub­li­can Gov. Larry Ho­gan al­lows for 100% per­cent re­im­burse­ment for col­lege classes. The Mar yland Na­tional Guard’s pol­icy re­quires mem­bers to pay for the tu­ition up­front, then ap­ply for re­im­burse­ment after they pass the course. The Guard re­im­burses tu­ition based on how much money is in the state bud­get for the pro­gram, pri­or­i­tiz­ing lower-ranked sol­diers and air­men work­ing on their first de­gree. Trade school cour­ses also can be re­im­bursed.

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