Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Laws Effective Jan 1

Most bills that passed the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor were effective on July 1 and October 1 of 2018 but here are some new laws in our area that are effective January 1.


Roads near schools, youth facilities, recreation facilities, playgrounds, pools, athletic fields and senior centers in the District will have a 15 mph speed limit from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Drivers who pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian will be hit with a $500 fine and a three-point penalty.

Drivers caught going 26 mph or more above the speed limit will face additional fines.

Drivers caught speeding more than 30 mph above the limit will face criminal charges.

Fines for blocking a bike lane increase from $65 to $150; fines for bicyclists who ride with headphones in both ears will be $50.

Residents must carry health insurance. Those who do not must pay a penalty, unless an exemption is granted.

Businesses are prohibited from providing single-use plastic straws. Unofficial warnings will be issued by the Department of Energy and Environment until July, when official warnings and fines will be issued.


One new law expands coverage for equipment, supplies and self-management training to apply to elevated or impaired glucose levels caused by pre-diabetes. That’s a condition when blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The new mandate also will apply to treating impaired glucose levels induced by pregnancy.

Another new law will require health insurers to cover treatment of a chronic swelling, often in an arm or leg, known as lymphedema. That’s an abnormal collection of fluid just beneath the skin. It usually develops when lymph vessels are damaged, or lymph nodes are removed.

The new mandate also will apply to treating impaired glucose levels induced by pregnancy.

Political campaigns will be prohibited from using any money via contributions received illegally.


The newly expanded Medicaid coverage for more than 400,000 residents begins.

In Alexandria, an ordinance changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway went into effect on New Year’s Day. The Alexandria City Council approved the renaming in June, after years of deliberation over whether the Confederate leader’s name should be removed from a portion of U.S. 1.

(Thanks to Kate Ryan from WTOP for putting together this material.)