Signs Additional Measures To Support Maryland Veterans & Military, Restore Highway User Revenues, Safeguard Animal Welfare
ANNAPOLIS, MD–Governor Larry Hogan was joined today by Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch to sign 207 bills into law at a signing ceremony at the Maryland State House in Annapolis.
“This morning, we are signing a number of important initiatives, including tougher sentences for repeat violent offenders and people who commit crimes with a gun,” said Governor Hogan. “Keeping Marylanders safe is our number one priority, and I again thank Senator Bobby Zirkin for his leadership on this issue, as well as President Miller, Speaker Busch, and legislators on both sides of the aisle for their bipartisan cooperation this session and for working with us to change Maryland for the better.”
In December 2017, Governor Hoganproposeda series of crime initiatives to address repeat violent offenders and criminal gang enterprises terrorizing communities across the state. Throughout the legislative session, Governor Hogan worked with legislators from both parties, led by Senator Zirkin, to ensure these critical initiatives were passed.
Key provisions in Senate Bill 101, signed today, include eliminating parole eligibility for repeat violent offenders and stronger sentences for people who commit crimes with a firearm. The legislation also prohibits violent offenders from being ordered to treatment in lieu of incarceration and strengthens sentences for sexual abuse of a minor.
Also signed as part of the crime package was Senate Bill 1137, which expands the existing volume dealer law to include fentanyl and will allow for more effective prosecution of high-level heroin traffickers.
The governor also signed several bills to support Maryland veterans and armed service members as well as their families, including legislation exempting all surviving spouses of veterans from vehicle registration fees (House Bill 1162/Senate Bill 626); requiring the Maryland Department of Health to report data on veteran and armed services member suicides in the state (House Bill 1159/Senate Bill 66); and allowing service members to end certain service contracts early if they receive orders to relocate for longer than 90 days (House Bill 1614).
Also signed today were initiatives to help in the fight against the heroin and opioid crisis, including the administration’slegislationto improve data sharing and coordination by allowing emergency service providers to input and share data about opioid overdoses (House Bill 359), as well as several bipartisan opioid-related bills that expand crisis response services and reduce the misuse of prescription opioids (House Bill 1092/Senate Bill 703; Senate Bill 87; House Bill 1452/Senate Bill 1223; House Bill 653/Senate Bill 522; House Bill 922).
The governor also signed (House Bill 111/Senate Bill 233), which will assist the Department of Health in meeting requirements regarding appropriate placements for individuals involved with the court who show signs of mental health issues by providing clear timelines for accountability while also maintaining flexibility to place individuals in the least restrictive but clinically appropriate settings.
Further, several bipartisan measures were signed to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill and those with violent criminal backgrounds (House Bill 1302 and House Bill 1646); to restore Highway User Revenue funding, bringing the total to $297.8 million over four years, to go directly to municipal governments for much-needed road maintenance or improvement projects (House Bill 807/Senate Bill 516); as well as several animal welfare measures to encourage pet adoption (Senate Bill 675; House Bill 1662; Senate Bill 1038.)
“I want to thank the Maryland SPCA, BARCS, and the Baltimore Humane Society for bringing a few furry friends for the bill signing today, many of which are outside of the State House available for adoption,” said Governor Hogan.