New Laws Going into Effect for October 2018

On October 1st, 2018, a wide range of new laws, spanning from bans on bump stocks to “sextortion” penalties, went into effect in the state of Maryland. Here, the victim advocates at Azrael, Franz, Schwab & Lipowitz provide the details on a variety of new Maryland laws.

Firearm Laws

Recent mass shootings, as well as gun violence in Baltimore, have prompted legislators to pass laws placing further restrictions on firearms and harsher penalties on illegal firearm possession. Bump stocks and “rapid fire trigger activators” are now banned for use and sale in the state of Maryland. A new “red flag” law will allow a judge, through an extreme protective order, to decide whether an individual must temporarily surrender their firearms if they are deemed a serious threat to themselves or others. Individuals with past convictions who are found wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm loaded with ammunition will now face mandatory minimum sentences.

Correction and Law Enforcement Laws

After corruption was exposed within the Baltimore City Police Department and more specifically, the Gun Trace Task Force, the Commission to Restore Trust in Policing is now required to submit a report by December 31st, 2019, regarding their findings and recommendations on how the Baltimore City Police Department should be restructured. It has also been made a crime for a law enforcement officer to have sex with a person in custody.

Work Laws

Several laws have been put into place in response to recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault across the entertainment and media industry. These include a law requiring state employees to take a two-hour course on sexual harassment prevention and an act, known as the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018, requiring employers with 50 or more employees to submit a survey by July 1, 2020 to the Commission on Civil Rights detailing how many sexual harassment cases have resulted in settlement or other actions.

New work-related laws will also affect parents, including a law that requires state offices to provide breast milk pumping breaks for mothers and a law entitling state employees 60 days of paid parental leave. Regarding workers’ compensation, jockeys will now be protected under workers’ compensation laws.

Criminal Laws

“Sextortion,” a form of sexual exploitation that employs non-physical forms of coercion to extort sexual favors from a victim, is now a crime in Maryland. Those found guilty of sextortion, a misdemeanor crime, can face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. “Revenge porn,” or sexually explicit photos of an individual disseminated as a way of causing harm, is now defined as domestic abuse. Those who are victims of domestic violence may now receive a permanent protective order against their abuser.

In an effort to curb juvenile access to e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery products, law enforcement officers may now issue a civil citation to individuals found with these devices. Penalties range from $300 for a first violation to $3,000 for third and subsequent violations within a two-year period.

Veteran Laws

Several new laws will have an impact on veterans and their families. Vehicle registration fees will be waived for spouses of deceased veterans, and disabled veterans will now have some of their vehicle registration fees waived. Veterans and active service members will also be given priority registration at institutions of higher learning, and a report on veteran suicides will be created by the Secretary of Health.

Road and Motor Vehicle Laws

Of particular note is the expansion to the “Move Over” laws implemented in Maryland that require drivers to move one lane away from parked or stopped law enforcement and emergency response vehicles, as well as tow trucks, in order to prevent fatalities. The law has now expanded to include transportation, service and utility vehicles, as well as waste and recycling trucks with yellow or amber flashing light signals. Violating the “Move Over” laws is considered a misdemeanor and penalties can include points on a driver’s record and fines.

Learn More About These Laws by Speaking to the Attorneys at Azrael, Franz, Schwab & Lipowitz

It is important for Maryland citizens to take note of the passage of these new laws, as they will have an effect on a wide variety of issues. To learn more about these laws and your legal rights, it is advisable to speak to an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Azrael, Franz, Schwab & Lipowitz are available to discuss the impact of these laws and your legal rights—contact them today to learn more.

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