Legislative Digest

BERLIN – The Maryland General Assembly moved into its second week this week with a wide variety of bills introduced in both the House and the Senate. The following is just a sample of some bills introduced this week with potentially local importance:

Senate Bill 279-Death Penalty Repeal: This bill, if passed, would officially repeal the death penalty in Maryland.

Senate Bill 288: Smoking in a Vehicle Containing a Young Child: This bill would prohibit a driver from smoking in a vehicle in which a child under the age of eight is riding.

House Bill 72: Text Messaging while Driving: This bill would prohibit a person operating a motor vehicle from writing, sending or reading a text message while driving.

House Bill 205-Mandatory School Uniforms: This bill, if approved, would require each county in Maryland, including Worcester, to develop a county school uniform policy. Under the legislation, the county board’s of education would work with the state superintendent of schools to develop an enforcement policy.

House Bill 212-Preliminary Breath Test as Evidence: This bill would allow the results of a preliminary breath test for alcohol to be used as evidence for probable cause to arrest a person on suspicion of drunk driving. Currently, preliminary breath tests are used by police to determine if there is reason to suspect an individual is driving under the influence, but cannot be used for probable cause.

House Bill 195-Proof of Lawful Presence Act of 2009: This bill would require an individual to provide documentation he or she is either a United States citizen or in the U.S. lawfully before the MVA can issue a driver’s license or identification card to the individual.

House Bill 188-Property Assessments: This bill would require the State Department of Assessment and Taxation to reassess property values in Maryland every year rather than the current practice of reassessing property in a three-year rotating cycle.

Senate Bill 265-Driving Privileges: This bill would increase the minimum age at which an individual could receive a learner’s permit to 16 years, up from 15 years, and increase the minimum age at which an individual could receive full driving privileges from the current 17 years old to 18 years old.

House Bill 197-Clotheslines on Residential Property: From the “don’t they have more important things to do” department, this bill would not allow jurisdictions to prohibit the use of clotheslines on certain residential property regardless of lease agreements, bylaws, deeds, covenants or other means.