Dozens of new Maryland laws go into effect Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

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The Maryland seal in the carpet of the Governor's Reception Room at the State House. Len Lazarick photo

By Capital News Service staff and MarylandReporter.com

The following laws approved by the Maryland General Assembly this year go into effect on Sunday Oct. 1, 2017. The list contains bill numbers and links to the legislation and legislative history.

PUBLIC HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT:

Ban on fracking: After a two-year moratorium, the state will prohibit the hydraulic fracturing of a well for the production of oil or natural gas. (HB1325)

Antibiotics for livestock: In response to worries about antibiotic effectiveness, Maryland has become the second state to ban the routine administration of antibiotics to cattle, swine and poultry. (SB422/HB602)

AIDS/HIV: Repeals an education program on AIDS for those convicted of drug or sex-related crimes. (HB445/SB185) Requires state health department to establish requirements for prenatal HIV testing. (HB518)

Attention Deficit Disorder: The Department of Health will be required to identify up-to-date, evidence-based, written information that relates to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD) and post printable information on the department’s website that may be accessed by healthcare practitioners engaged in treating the disorder. (HB184)

Plastic labeling: Prohibits the sale of plastic products labeled as compostable, decomposable or biodegradable, unless the product meets certain standards. (HB1349)

Mercury: Prohibits, with penalties to be determined by the Department of the Environment, a marketer from knowingly selling electric switches, relays and gas valve switches that contain mercury. (SB0713/HB0504)

Drug price-gouging: Manufacturers and wholesale distributors are prohibited from “price gouging” in the sale of an “essential generic drug,” and the state attorney general may sue companies that do not comply. Drug companies sued the state over the summer and a decision is pending. (SB0415/HB0631)

Crab meat: Repeals outdated state requirements to match newer federal guidelines regarding the storage of crab meat. (SB128/HB524)

ADDICTION:

Parental consent:  Authorizes parents or guardians to apply, on behalf of minors, for certified inpatient or intensive outpatient alcohol or drug abuse treatment programs. (SB0433/HB1093)

Support during recovery: Repeals previous law that subjected those convicted of felonies involving controlled dangerous substances, who apply for food stamps and temporary cash assistance, to testing, treatment and sanction requirements. (SB0853/HB0860)

ETHICS:

Public Integrity Act: The state’s first ethics bill passed in over a decade mandates that lawmakers disclose any conflicts of interest and limits their advocacy for private businesses. (HB879)

CRIME:

Marijuana expungement: A person has to file a petition for expungement if the person was convicted of marijuana possession. (SB949/HB1362)

Justice Reinvestment Act: Seeks to reduce Maryland’s prison population by requiring the Division of Parole and Probation to conduct risk assessments on inmates and aims to reduce recidivism with plans for inmates’ rehabilitation. Reduces incarceration for certain nonviolent crimes. Increases penalties for gang offenses. (SB1005/HB1312)

Homicides while impaired: Imprisonment increases from three to five years for people who kill others while operating a car or boat under the influence of a controlled substance. (SB229/HB635)

Police and human trafficking: Requires specific police training about victims of human trafficking, including services, support and appropriate treatment. (HB1279)

Amber’s Law: Permits victims of domestic abuse to request that the offender use electronic monitoring devices to track their location and provide alerts. Allows victims to request protections. (HB1163/SB0976)

Home invasion: Classifies home invasion as a crime of violence. (HB906)

Solicitation to commit murder or arson: Increases the statute of limitations to three years for solicitation — urging, advising or inciting another person — to commit murder or arson in the first or second degree. (HB653/SB387)

SEXUAL ASSAULT:

Rape kits: Requires a hospital or child advocacy center to give rape kits to police within 30 days of the victim’s exam. Prohibits police from destroying or disposing of sexual assault evidence within 20 years of collection. (SB349/HB255)

Physical resistance: Evidence of physical resistance by a victim is not required to prove a sexual crime happened. (SB217/HB429)

Reclassifying sex offenses: Sexual offenses in the first and second degree are reclassified as rape in the first and second degree. (SB944/HB647)

Sex offenders: A registered sex offender will have at least 21 days, instead of three, to notify local police before leaving to work in a foreign country. (HB521)

CHILD ABUSE: 

Extending deadline for abuse lawsuits: Sponsored by Del. C. T. Wilson, an abuse survivor, the new law extends the deadline for victims of child sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit against alleged attackers from age 25 to age 38. (HB642/SB505).

Broadening definition of abuse: Alters the definition of “abuse” as the intended physical or mental injury of a child by a person who exercises circumstantial authority over the child. (HB1263/SB996)

ANIMALS:

Reporting animal cruelty: Requires veterinarians who have reason to believe that an animal has been subjected to cruelty or violence report the activity to police. (HB1463)

Kennel licensing: Owners of six or more unspayed female dogs over the age of 6 months or who sell dogs from six or more litters in a year must obtain a kennel license. (HB334/SB573)

BUSINESS:

E-cigarette licensing: Creates a standard for licensing the manufacture, warehousing and sale of e-cigarettes and their accessories. (SB 119/HB 523)

Food desert loans: Authorizes the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide small loans ($50,000 or less) for food desert projects, which aim to increase access to affordable, fresh food in low-income neighborhoods. (HB 1492)

Accidental personal injury compensation: The maximum fine for an employer who fails to report an accidental personal injury within the required time increases from $50 to $500; the penalty will only apply in cases when the employer knowingly fails to report an injury. (SB 867/HB 1476)

VEHICLE LAWS:

‘Coal rolling’ emissions: Prohibits diesel-powered vehicles from releasing visible clouds of smoke, or exhaust emissions, onto another person or vehicle with a $500 maximum fine. “Coal rolling” is the practice of removing emission-controlling parts of the engine to emit extra smoke, oftentimes for entertainment or anti-environmental purposes. (HB11)

Lane use: Allows tow trucks to drive in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, regardless of the number of passengers, to respond to a service call. (HB889)

  • Drivers will be allowed to pass on paved shoulders if those ahead are making a left turn. (HB1456)
  • And all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles will be prohibited from driving on various portions of the state highway unless exempted and the driver is older than 16. (SB979)

School crossing guards: School crossing guards will have new authority to direct non-school vehicles around school property in addition to directing vehicles and pedestrians on a highway. (HB1301/SB0078)

EDUCATION:

School whistleblower: Prohibits an employer from either taking or refusing to take retaliatory action against a public school employee because the employee discloses or threatens to disclose a policy that might violate a certain law, rule or regulation. (HB1145)

Anonymous tips: Authorizes a county board of education to create an anonymous two-way electronic tip program for a student, parent, guardian, close adult relative of a student, or a school staff member to report acts of bullying, harassment or intimidation.  (HB669)

Addiction recovery programs: Requires the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland to establish standards and guidelines for addiction recovery programs to be implemented at collegiate institutions. (HB950)

School safety for hate crimes: Authorizes the Maryland Center for School Safety to make grants for security-related projects to schools and childcare centers at risk of hate crimes or attacks. (SB1191)

Julie Depenbrock, Georgia Slater, Alex Mann, Tomi Adeboyejo, Chris Miller, Jess Feldman, CJ Mitchell, and Josh Schmidt of Capital News Service and Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com contributed to this story.

  • Zanrak

    “Coal Rolling”. Wow! Who knew what lowlifes would do next… Can’t they be made to suck on the stack as it “rolls”?…