(Oct. 4, 2019) A series of laws from the Maryland General Assembly’s 2019 legislative session went into effect on Tuesday.
Elected officials, including State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza (R-38), stressed public safety as a top priority during last year’s session.
The following pieces of legislation could affect Worcester County:
• HB1169/SB095: Age restrictions for purchasing tobacco products
People have to be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco products. In addition to cigarettes, the law also covers a variety of electronic cigarettes such as vape pens and JUULs.
Those who are ages 18 to 20 years old and active duty military personnel are exempt from this law.
• HB0259/SB0394: Expunging boating offense records
The law, co-sponsored by Del. Wayne Hartman (R-38C), would allow a person convicted of criminal boating offenses to file a petition to get their records expunged.
• HB0481: Felony classification for selling minors
The law, co-sponsored by Hartman, would classify selling or trading a minor for money or property as a felony offense. It was previously listed as a misdemeanor.
• HB181/SB0103: Grace’s Law 2.0
The legislation would increase cyber bullying penalties for those who have the “intent to induce a minor to commit suicide.” Hartman and Carozza cosponsored bills for the law.
• HB024/SB0162: Human trafficking
The legislation, sponsored by Carozza, Hartman and Del. Charles Otto (R-38A), makes human trafficking a “violent crime.”
• HB0871/SB0690: Human trafficking and prostitution offenses
The law updates the language to include sex trafficking, which would stop someone from being able to forcibly take another person and coerce them into prostitution, according to the Maryland General Assembly.
The law would also prohibit a person from consciously participating in this act, or force a sex trafficking victim into a marriage. Hartman cosponsored the legislation.
• HB0368/SB0248: Life-threatening injury involving a vehicle or vessel
The criminal negligence law would impose penalties on those involved in causing someone to have a life-threatening injury. The law would also take prior offenses into account. Offenders could serve up to 18 months in prison, pay a fine of up to $5,000 or some sort of combination of the two.
Hartman and Carozza cosponsored the legislation.
• HB0230/SB0163: Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act of 2019
The legislation, cosponsored by Hartman and Carozza, will impose harsher penalties for those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Offenders who violate the law could pay a fine not exceeding $10,000, serve up to 10 years in prison or both, according to the bills.
• HB0155/SB0164: Spending increases for state grants, mental health facilities
Under the terms of the law, projects to construct or renovate community mental health facilities and developmental disabilities centers using state grants through the Community Mental Health, Addiction and Developmental Capital Program are permitted to increase spending percentages.
Additionally, the law would permit percentage increases for certain projects funded by state grants through the Federally Qualified Health Centers Grant Program, according to the Maryland General Assembly.
Carozza, Hartman and Otto cosponsored the legislation.
• HB0420/SB0139: Threat of mass violence
The legislation, cosponsored by Carozza, would impose harsher penalties on someone threatening to commit a violent crime that could injure or kill at least five people. Offenders found guilty of this could face a maximum 10-year prison sentence, a monetary fine not to exceed $10,000, or a combination of the two.