As reported by MarylandReporter.com, hundreds of new laws took effect October 1, 2019. Below is a compilation of a few bills that took effect. A more comprehensive list can be found in the article and in the publications listed below.
Bump stocks: Senate Bill 707, which passed in the 2018 legislative session but is going into effect Tuesday, bans the sale of bump stocks in Maryland. Penalties for offenses such as hate crime threats and solicitation for murder are becoming more severe, while gambling is being decriminalized.
Tobacco age: HB1169 — The minimum age for purchasing or being sold tobacco products, which includes cigarettes, cigars, electronic smoking devices or “vapes”, and any related paraphernalia, will be raised from 18 to 21, exempting active duty military members 18 or older with a military ID. Retailers must display signs announcing the law and are subject to inspection and civil fines if the prohibitions are violated. —Natalie Jones
Alcohol consumption: HB88 — Drinking and holding an alcoholic beverage in public under certain circumstances or having one in an open container will now be considered a civil rather than a criminal offense. —Greta Easthom
Online sales tax: HB1301 — Small storefront retailers might become more competitive, as online sellers and facilitators will now be required to collect sales and use taxes on Maryland buyers. Under the new law, online sales tax revenues over $100 million will also be redirected from the general fund to the education-focused Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund. —Elliott Davis
Ticket resales — consumer protection: SB891 — This bill protects consumers from buying event tickets on the resale market that have not yet been secured by the seller. Under the new law, sellers will have to disclose the status of any “speculative” tickets they list online and are required to refund buyers within 10 days of the event if the ticket is not secured. —Elliott Davis
Officer citizenship: SB853 — This bill relaxes the citizenship eligibility requirements for police officers. Previously, officers had to be U.S. citizens, but now they can either be citizens or permanent legal residents who have applied for citizenship and been honorably discharged by the military. If officers fail to obtain citizenship, they must be terminated by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission. —Elliott Davis
Opioid treatment in correctional facilities: HB116 — Jails will be required to screen all inmates for opioid use disorder and provide methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine. Treatment is currently required if a doctor determines the inmate is an addict, but medical assessments are not mandatory. The program is expected to cost at least $8.3 million annually by fiscal 2024. —Ian Round