ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A number of new laws took effect on Friday, October 1. New laws taking action include new police and criminal justice reforms, new voting rights laws, and new protections for LGBTQ+ people.
Here are some of the new laws on the books:
Anton's Law (SB178) - This law limits the use of no-knock warrants and limits them to daylight hours. It also makes records of police misconduct available for public information act requests. It's named after Anton Black, a 19-year-old African American who died in police custody in 2018 in a rural town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Police data collection and reporting (HB1248) - Beginning March 1, 2022, law enforcement agencies must annually report use of force incidents involving a police officer and resulting in a monetary settlement or judgment against the agency. The agencies will report the age, gender, ethnicity and race of each person involved, including the law enforcement officer to the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services, which will share the information publicly.
Shortened sentences for continued education (HB89) - A new law shortens an incarcerated person's sentence by 60 days if they earn a degree or certificate, but only if they were not convicted of certain violent crimes.
Life sentences for young offenders (SB494) - This new law prevents a minor tried as an adult a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Elimination of the "gay-trans panic defense" (HB231/SB046) - This law cancels the so-called "gay-trans panic defense," which says it was the discovery of the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity that caused the killing and in turn, shifts the murder to a manslaughter.
LGBTQ Affairs commission (HB 130) - The new law creates a commission on LGBTQ affairs in the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives. The commission will create an annual report that provides policy recommendations to end discriminatory practices against LGBTQ adults and youth.
Early voting centers (HB206/SB596) - This law requires early voting centers to be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. for each early voting day for presidential general elections. For all other primary and general elections, early voting centers will be required to be open during the hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also, HB745 allow additional early voting centers in some counties.
Balloon release ban (HB391/SB716) - Prohibits anyone over 13 from intertidally releasing a balloon or a mass release of 10 or more balloons. Violators could face up to a $100 fine.
Flower Branch Act (HB345) - Named after the Flower Branch apartments, where a gas explosion happened in 2016, killing seven people. The law will require gas service providers to install new or replace gas service regulators outside residential buildings.
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