Tuesday, July 2, 2024

New Maryland Laws Effective July 2, 2024

Nearly 450 bills that passed the General Assembly and were signed into law by Governor Moore will become law at the beginning of next month. Here’s a look at several:

·         Ticket Scalping! Senate Bill 539 will regulate the electronic ticketing industry by banning the speculative sale of tickets. A ticket seller will have to be in physical possession of a ticket, own it or be under contract to resell it. It will also require electronic ticket marketplaces to disclose the total price of tickets, including fees and taxes, and provide a breakdown of fees that contribute to the full cost.

·         Grants for Technology Start-ups the Pava LaPere Legacy of Innovation Act will establish two grant programs in honor of a 26-year-old Baltimore entrepreneur who was killed last year. The first will provide funding for college student entrepreneurs who have established businesses in Baltimore, Columbia and Towson. The other program is for students and faculty at local universities who are creating technology startup companies.

·         Ankle Monitors Senate Bill 1095 will create a work group to study the cost and availability of ankle monitors for people placed on home detention ahead of trial. The legislation was drafted after the Maryland judiciary announced with little warning that a program providing funds for home monitoring devices for low-income Marylanders ran out of money. The program restarted in late February and is anticipated to run through June 30, 2025.

·         Grants to Help End Poverty:  The Engaging Neighborhoods, Organizations, Unions, Governments, and Households, or ENOUGH Act    The law will provide grants of up to $500,000 for proposals submitted by community organizations in areas where more than 20% of children live in poverty.

·         Correctional Ombudsman Senate Bill 134/House Bill 297 will establish an office of the correctional ombudsman to investigate administrative misdeeds, inspect prisons, and review physical and mental health care services in Maryland’s correctional system. The office will also evaluate any plans to renovate or close facilities, education and job programs, and policies on restrictive and protective housing.

·         Ban on Legacy Preferences Senate Bill 543/House Bill 4 will prohibit colleges that receive state funding from considering legacy or donor preferences when reviewing admissions applications. Universities in Maryland and across the country began revisiting their admission preferences after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions last year.

·         Availability of Contraception for College Students Senate Bill 527/House Bill 367 will require community colleges to create plans to provide over-the-counter contraception to students. The plans must be implemented by Aug. 1, 2025.

·         Home Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages - Senate Bill 456/House Bill 808 will establish local permits to allow for the delivery of alcoholic beverages from businesses authorized to sell them. Delivery drivers can apply for these licenses at their jurisdiction’s licensing board. The annual fee for the permit is $1,000.

·         Ban on Indoor Vaping Senate Bill 244/House Bill 283 will prohibit people from vaping in indoor public spaces, on transit and at workplaces. This legislation is a revision to the Clean Indoor Air Act, which banned cigarette smoking in certain places in Maryland in 2007.

·         Increase in Car Registration Fees:  Maryland drivers will have to pay about 60 percent more to register their vehicle. For a typical passenger car, drivers will have to pay $110 per year for their Maryland plates. Currently, Marylanders pay $135 to register their vehicles for two years.

·         Stop sign monitoring systems in Prince George’s County. Prince George’s County will be authorized to place automated enforcement systems, such as stop sign cameras, in school zones. Owners or drivers of a motor vehicle that are recorded failing to stop at a stop sign will be subject to a citation and further civil penalties under certain circumstances.

·         Noise abatement monitoring systems in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Both counties are establishing a pilot program to use noise abatement monitoring systems to enforce motor vehicle noise requirements. This will require counties to publish the systems’ locations on its website before activating a monitoring system.

·         New taxes and fines. . The fine for drivers who speed in work zones is increasing from the current $40, to a range of $60 to $500 depending on how much the driver went above the speed limit. The sales tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase by $1.25, to $5, and the sales tax on electronic cigarettes and vapes will rise from 12 percent to 20 percent.

·         Financial Compensation for People Wrongly Convicted Senate Bill 890/House Bill 1086 will change the circumstances under which people who have been wrongly convicted can seek financial compensation from the state. Under the new law, a person can seek compensation from the Maryland Board of Public Works under the following circumstances:

o   they received a full pardon from the governor,

o   an administrative law judge ruled the person did not commit the offense they were convicted of,

o   their conviction was reversed or vacated, and the charges were dismissed,

o   they were found not guilty on retrial, or

o   The order reversing or dismissing their conviction does not allow the case to be tried again.

·         Service members. A law being implemented next week will allow preference in hiring and promotion for spouses of service members.  The executive branch of state government must also apply a credit of 10 points on any selection test for eligible spouses and veterans. Another would expand military leave and disaster service leave for uniformed service officers from 15 to 30 days.

·         Refunding of tuition due to mental health crisis Another law being put into place regarding higher education next week is the Cameron Carden Act, named after a student who experienced mental distress after seeing racist graffiti at his university. This led him to drop out before the semester ended. Maryland universities must now accept mental health as a formal reason to withdraw, and students will receive a refund.

·         Credit on Deer Meat:   Individuals can now claim a credit from income tax for certain expenses if they harvest an antlerless deer and donate its meat to certain organizations.

·         Metro Fare Increase:  Metro fares are increasing by 12.5 percent. The maximum rail fare will increase from $6 to $6.75. Base rail and base bus fares will increase from $2 to $2.25. Late-night and weekend charges will increase from a flat $2 charge to $2.25 or $2.50, depending on trip distance. Maximum fees for MetroAccess — the paratransit service for people who cannot use bus and rail systems — will increase from $4 to $4.50.



[Most of this material was gathered from the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Banner and Washington Post]