Maryland’s General Assembly considered 2,879 bills, proposed constitutional amendments, and resolutions during the 2017 Legislative Session from January to April. Elected officials spent hundreds of hours presiding over a range of issues including property, health, public safety, taxes, education, criminal law, and the environment, with Alexander & Cleaver government professionals advocating for our clients. Although only a portion of these proposals make it to the finish line and become law, many can affect a wide range of Maryland citizens and stakeholders. Below you will find a non-exhaustive list and brief description of some of these bills that take effect on October 1st, 2017.
Alexander & Cleaver’s government relations consultants and lawyers are available to answer questions about any of these new laws, and many other matters. Simply call us at 410-974-9000, 301-292-3300, or email one of our many professionals.
SB 23 - Handgun Permits - Alternative Expiration Date - Private Detectives, Security Guards, and Special Police Officers
Authorizes the Secretary of State Police to establish an alternative expiration date for a permit to carry, wear, or transport a handgun that coincides with the expiration of a license, certification, or commission for a specified private detective, specified security guard, or specified special police officer in order to create efficiencies in permitting.
SB 217 - Criminal Law - Sexual Offenses - Physical Resistance
Establishes that evidence of physical resistance by a victim is not required to prove that a sexual crime was committed; establishes that certain provisions on this act may not be construed to affect the admissibility of evidence of actual physical resistance by a victim of a sexual crime.
SB 229 - Criminal Law - Homicide by Motor Vehicle or Vessel While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substance – Penalties
Increases penalties from 3 years to 5 years imprisonment for the crime of homicide by motor vehicle or vessel while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.
SB 949 - Criminal Procedure - Expungement - Possession of Marijuana
Authorizes a person to file a petition for expungement at a specified time if the person was convicted of possession of marijuana.
HB 1017 - Motor Vehicle Administration - Driving Records – Expungement
Alters the standards and procedures applicable to the expungement of public driving records by the Motor Vehicle Administration and prohibits the Administration from expunging specified driving record entries.
HB 1456 - Vehicle Laws - Passing to the Right - Use of Shoulder
Authorizes the driver of a vehicle to pass to the right of another vehicle making or about to make a left turn by driving outside the marked lane onto the shoulder, if the driver can do so without leaving the paved surface.
SB 143 - Injury to or Death of Pet - Damages
Establishes that a person who tortiously causes an injury to or death of a pet under another person's ownership is liable to the owner of the pet for specified compensatory damages. The act also increases from $7500 to a maximum of $10,000 the cap on the compensatory damages.
HB 233 - Disclosure of Medical Records - Guardian Ad Litem - Victims of Crime or Delinquent Acts
Requires a health care provider to disclose a medical record without specified authorization to a guardian ad litem appointed by a court to protect specified interests of a minor or a disabled or elderly individual who is a specified victim, for use in specified court proceedings and authorizes a specified guardian ad litem to redisclose a specified record under certain circumstances.
SB 422 - Keep Antibiotics Effective Act of 2017
Authorizes the administration of specified antimicrobial drugs to cattle, swine, or poultry if, in the professional judgment of a licensed veterinarian, the administration is necessary for specified purposes. The act prohibits specified antimicrobial drugs from being administered to cattle, swine, or poultry in a specified pattern and requires the Department of Agriculture each year to collect publicly available data on the use in the State of specified antimicrobial drug.
HB 518 - Public Health - Prenatal HIV Testing
Requires the Department of Health, in consultation with stakeholders, to adopt regulations establishing requirements for prenatal HIV testing and requires providers of prenatal medical care to follow the Department's requirements for prenatal HIV testing. The act also requires the Department to provide the requirements established for prenatal HIV testing to hospitals that offer obstetric services and specified organizations.
HB 586 -Maryland Farms and Families Act
Establishes the Maryland Farms and Families Program in the Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the program will be to double the purchasing power of food-insecure Maryland residents with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables and to increase revenue for farmers through redemption of specified benefits at Maryland farmers markets. The Act establishes a Maryland Farms and Families Fund and requires the Governor to include a $500,000 appropriation to the Fund each fiscal year subject to the limitations of the State budget.
SB 1190 - Bay Restoration Fund - Upgraded Wastewater Facilities - Grants to Counties and Municipalities
Authorizes the Department of the Environment to use funds from the Bay Restoration Fund to provide grants to a county or municipality that upgraded a wastewater facility to enhanced nutrient removal before July 1, 2013; and specifies that the Department may award up to $2,000,000 in grants on a first-come, first-served basis.
HB1063 - Agriculture - Maryland Healthy Soils Program
Establishes the Maryland Healthy Soils Program to increase biological activity and carbon sequestration in the State's soils by promoting practices based on emerging soil science. The act requires the Department of Agriculture to provide incentives, including research, education, technical assistance, and, subject to available funding, financial assistance, to farmers to implement farm management practices that contribute to healthy soils.
SB 26 - Maryland False Claims Act - Municipal Corporations
Alters the definition of "governmental entity" to include a municipal corporation for purposes of the Maryland False Claims Act and requires the attorney for each municipal corporation to report annually, beginning October 1, 2016, to the General Assembly on the number of specified civil actions and the number of specified claims made by a governmental entity that are settled without filing a civil action.
HB 879 - Public Integrity Act of 2017
Alters provisions of the ethics law governing the period of time during which former members of the General Assembly are prohibited from representing or assisting specified parties for compensation in specified matters and alters the penalty for a specified offense relating to bribery of a public employee.
HB 1464 - Make Office Vacancies Extinct Program
Establishes the Make Office Vacancies Extinct Program in the Department of Commerce and establishes the purposes of the Program is to encourage the location of new businesses in the State in counties with a support program to reduce office space vacancies. The Act establishes qualifications for participation in the Program and authorizes the Program to provide for specified grants to specified businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.