If you’re looking for an in-depth look at legislation that has passed and/or failed with legal analysis and coherent though, look elsewhere because at ENlawyers we are concerned with the practical and the mildly funny (at least today). We plan on reviewing the Medical Marijuana bill and the Gun Bill on a more in-depth and serious basis in a month or two. So with much ado, here is a look at your Baltimore Criminal Lawyer look at this session’s Maryland General Assembly Session’s Winners and Losers
Winner – everyone on death row waiting for execution
- In 2013 the death penalty was repealed in the State of Maryland.
Loser – Death Penalty Protesters
- What will they do with their free time now…
Winner – Employers
- The General Assembly failed to pass an increase in the minimum wage that would have sent it to $10 per hour on a graduated basis through 2015.
Loser – Employees
- Minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour (or less than $15,000 per year, based on a 40 hour work week and 2 weeks of unpaid vacation).
Winner – Xerox (one of the companies who own the speed cameras)
- The General Assembly failed to reform any of the speed camera enabling
legislation that allowed a parked car to get cited for a speeding ticket. DUH.
Loser – anyone who drives
- Nothing worse than that flash bulb going off when you drive through a school zone at 11PM, when children are most assuredly home asleep. $45 later, Xerox thanks you.
Winner – Tort lawyers
- The General Assembly failed to reform the Solesky case, which characterized Pit Bulls as inherently dangerous and put landlords, insurance companies, and dog lovers on notice of additional legal hurdles.
Loser – Pit bull lovers
I mean really, is this guy really inherently dangerous? –>>
Winner – Cancer patients, and other people with demonstrable, medical need for medical marijuana
- Medical Marijuana has passed in Maryland! How it will affect pending and future cases is up in the air, as the bill in its current form is quite limited to research and treatment centers, such as Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Loser – Everyone, until 2016 – when the bill goes into effect.
Winner – Bluetooth manufacturers
- Using a cell phone while driving is now a primary offense (see here for a discussion of primary versus secondary offenses) and is now completely banned.
Loser – Anyone caught using a cell while driving
- Soon (October 2013) a police officer can pull you over and if you have other issues (i.e. drugs in the car, suspended license) can search your car (under the right circumstances) and arrest you.
Other winners and losers
- Loser: taxpayers – footing the bill for the gas tax as well as a number of fee increases.
- Loser: transparency – the assembly failed to close a campaign finance loophole for LLC’s and corporations.
- Winner: Tenants – Eviction will now require a court order.
- Winner: Soft-shell crab sandwich (now the official sandwich of the State of Maryland)
- Loser: Crab Cake Sandwich (but still #1 in our hearts)
- Loser: NRA – the governor’s Gun Control bill passed (we’ll have a thorough legal analysis of the bill once we have a few months to digest all of its parts. See here).
- Winner: Immigrants – They can now get driver’s licenses, provided they can meet certain requirements. **this may run afoul of the “Real ID” Act, which is a federal law with certain licensing requirements. This will have to shake out in court.
- Winner: Gov. O’M – like it or not, he got his agenda passed almost without exception. Say what you will, he is a skilled politician who is not to be underestimated.
Baltimore Criminal Lawyer: bottom line
There were few fireworks this General Assembly session, with most of the Governor’s agenda being pushed through. The Gun Bill generated a large bluster of media hype, but as you’ll see in our later analysis, much of it is hyped and much may be ado about nothing as the NRA has already promised to file a federal lawsuit blocking some of its provisions from enforcement. As we move forward, we’ll continue to watch the Maryland Marijuana laws develop, as well as the gun requirements. Once we get an opportunity to digest both pieces of legislation, expect a full breakdown. Until then, don’t forget to call your favorite Baltimore Criminal lawyer for any need for lawyerly advice (or the occasional tongue in cheek joke)!