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New Maryland Laws Take Effect

October 1st, 2017 by WCBC Radio

A number of new laws have taken effect in Maryland. As of October 1st, you now may legally use the right shoulder to pass a vehicle making a left turn, as long as you don't leave the paved surface, and if you use an all terrain vehicle or snowmobile on the roadway, you must have a current Maryland driver's license in order to do so.

If you have been convicted of a driving offense that resulted in the death of another person, it cannot be expunged from your driving record. Also, if you have been convicted of a homicide while under the influence of drugs, the max penalty is now five years instead of three.

1st and 2nd Degree Sex Offense will now be called 1st and 2nd Degree Rape; to prove that a sex crime was committed, victims need not show that they physically resisted the act; and victims of certain crimes may be notified of the status of offenders through the use of electronic “stay away” devices.

Maryland law now defines animal cruelty as not providing proper shelter, weather protection, proper air or proper space. People with at least six unspayed female animals will be required to have a kennel license. And the maximum penalty allowed for someone who has caused injury or death to a pet has increased to $10,000.

Public school employees are now covered under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Schools now have to have at least ten fire drills every year. And colleges in the University System of Maryland are required to establish a collegiate recovery program for those with addiction issues.

The ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is now officially in effect. Prior to the 2017 vote and having the measure signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, there had been a moratorium on the practice. Technically, the ban could be repealed at any time, pending successful legislation, but that is highly unlikely with a Democratic legislature.

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