New Maryland Legislation
In Maryland, our General Assembly drafts and passes hundreds of laws each year. In this article I am going to go over some of the new laws in Maryland that will be going into effect in October of this year. Some of these laws relate to an area of law that I practice while others are laws that I think you may just find interesting!
House Bill 0707: Increasing the Maximum Penalties for Specific Drunk and Drugged Driving Offenses
Maryland lawmakers are sending a strong message about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving. Beginning in October, repeat offenders convicted of an offense related to driving while under the influence or while impaired by alcohol or drugs could face stricter penalties. Depending on the specific driving offense and the number of priors, you can now face up to 10 years in prison for a conviction. I am not going to go into detail about the exact potential penalties for each specific offense, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.
Senate Bill 0024: Kinship Caregiver as an Alternative to Foster Care
This law expands the kinship care program offered by the Department of Health Services. The kinship program attempts to place children in need of out-of-home care with a “kinship parent” rather than foster care. However, currently, a “kinship parent” is only considered an individual related to the child by blood or marriage. Starting in October, a kinship parent will be broadened to include close family friends with strong ties to the child’s family.
Senate Bill 0301: Patient’s Bill of Rights
Did you know that if you are hospitalized in Maryland, you have your own “Patient’s Bill of Rights?” Beginning in October, hospital administrators will be required to provide each patient with a written copy of the hospital’s patient’s bill of rights. Also, copies of the bill of rights must be posted clearly in areas of the hospital and on the hospital’s website.
The rights you have as a hospital patient are numerous. Two of the rights include the right to receive considerate, respectful, compassionate care and the right to be treated without discrimination.
House Bill 0048: eSports Act
One of the largest growing subindustries in the video game world is eSports. If you are unfamiliar, eSports is a form of organized video game competition where professional gamers participate. Along with the professional participants, eSports competitions gather many spectators. As eSports has become more and more popular and legitimate, Maryland has recently passed House Bill 0048, also known as the eSports Act, to legitimize eSports in our state.
Beginning in October, organizations conducting eSports competitions in Maryland will be able to offer prize money and merchandise. Our lawmakers are recognizing that in video games, unlike the lottery, player skill, rather than mere randomness, determine results. This Act signals to video game manufacturers, as well as eSport organizers and participants, that Maryland allows this form of competition.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of these new laws that Maryland lawmakers have passed. If you have any legal questions or think you may need a lawyer, feel free to give us a call anytime at 410-766-4044 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and see if I can assist you.