2018 Maryland Legislative Significant Changes
This 2018 legislature has made significant changes. Note that the Governor, as of the writing of this article, has not signed every bill and some are effective immediately and others in January 2019.
Recognize that the Democrats control both the House and the Senate:
House of Delegates: Democrats-32; Republicans-14
Senate: Democrats—91; Republicans—50
- Termination of Parental Rights: This bill permits a woman who is raped and is pregnant to seek to terminate the parental rights of the male who sexually assaulted her. In the past, courts used what is considered in the best interests of the child. Exceptional circumstances also had to be shown to deny visitation between the father and child. Often fathers would continue to control and harass the mother.
- Bump stock: The Las Vegas killer at a musical concert used an automatic rifle and coupled it with a bump stock, thereby quickly injuring and killing concert attendees. It is unlawful to possess a bump stock and those convicted are subject to 3 years incarceration, a $5000 fine or possibly both. A related bill permits judges on a temporary order that they must turn in to the court if it is determined the firearm owner is determined to be an imminent threat to themselves or others. As part of a domestic violence hearing, the law required guns owned by the Respondent to be given to the police. Added to the law is an accountability requirement that the Respondent has, in fact, complied with turning in the guns to police and documenting, in writing, that the order has been followed.
- School Construction Funds: Prior to 2018, the selection of which local systems received funds for construction of schools was decided by the Governor, Comptroller, and Treasurer. In 2019, the new law which was initially vetoed by the Governor and overridden by the legislature enacts an independent commission to determine which jurisdiction receives funds.
- Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment claims will be referred to investigators who are independent of the legislature.
- Hate Crime Law: The new law expands hate crimes to specific behavior against others: Groups or persons: race, color, religious views, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin, and the homeless
- Medical Marijuana: Medicinal dispensary licenses have been increased to 15 to 22.
- Budget for Maryland: The Maryland budget is $44,500,000,000 which is a 2.2% increase over the last fiscal year.