Hundreds of Maryland laws go into effect Tuesday, spanning subjects from increasing the age to buy cigarettes and vapes to taxing online sales and banning bump stocks for firearms. Here is a short summary of more than 70 of the new laws, including a link to their full legislative history and slug lines that make the list easy to scan.
The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates voted unanimously Thursday to increase the state’s projected revenues for the current fiscal year by just under $130 million, but cautioned that the uptick “is not indicative of long-term economic growth.”
To blunt the impact of rising temperatures, officials have proposed dozens of changes, from creating more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods to banning foam containers. But some neighborhoods, known as heat islands, will need added help because they already feel more of the harmful impact of global warming.
In a city marked by startling inequity, leaf cover is just one more thing that has been historically distributed in unequal measure. Baltimore’s poorest areas tend to have less tree canopy than wealthier areas, a pattern that is especially pronounced on the concrete-dense east side, in neighborhoods like Broadway East.
Heat waves are especially perilous because consecutive days with the heat index at 103 degrees or above greatly increase risks for older people, children, pregnant women and anyone with heat-affected chronic disease.
Researchers have mapped neighborhoods called urban heat islands, and data shows that temperatures here and in surrounding neighborhoods can run 8 degrees hotter than in communities that have more trees and less pavement. McElderry Park in Baltimore is one of these.
Customers whose power is off at the end of October aren’t protected by state regulations that restrict — but don’t eliminate — disconnections from Nov. 1 through March. To be reconnected during the winter or after it, customers who owe utilities money must make arrangements to pay up. But that’s a financial hurdle for many.
Temperatures in the poorly insulated kitchen of Baltimore resident Maraizu Onyenaka varied more than 20 degrees this winter, according to sensors installed in her home by Capital News Service reporters. Keeping the cold out of old Baltimore rowhouses is tough — and expensive, even for homeowners with good jobs.
Baltimore resident Delores Buchanan limits going outside when it’s cold. Neuropathy causes her feet to tense up and sting, and cold worsens the pain by reducing blood flow to the hands and feet. It is one of many conditions exacerbated by extreme temperatures.
Every winter, health officials warn of outdoor dangers for the homeless, who can freeze to death from hypothermia and snow shovelers who suffer heart attacks. Yet many more people are at risk indoors if their power has been shut off or they can’t afford to raise the thermostat. Research shows that for those with chronic disease a cold interior may be a dangerous environment.