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Governor Hogan Signs Important Crime and Public Safety Measures Into Law

Includes First-In-The-Nation Legislation to Toughen Penalties for Cyberbullying

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today signed into law several important measures to improve public safety. These are among 195 bills the governor signed today alongside Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones.

We are very proud to enact these critical public safety measures to continue to make our state safer,” said Governor Hogan. “One of my most important responsibilities is to protect Maryland citizens, and these common sense measures will help us defend the most vulnerable among us and reduce the number and prevent future victims of crime.”

Crime and Public Safety

Senate Bill 793: Community Safety and Strengthening Act
This legislation authorizes Johns Hopkins University to establish a police department of 100 officers.

House Bill 707: Drunk and Drugged Driving Offenses—Penalties
The 2019 session was the third year in a row in which Governor Hogan introduced the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act. This legislation includes provisions from the governor’s proposal and increases maximum penalties to 10 years for individuals convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense on three or more prior occasions as well as on impaired drivers convicted of causing death or a life-threatening injury on their second and/or subsequent offense.

House Bill 181/Senate Bill 103: Criminal Law—Electronic Harassment and Bullying Also known as Grace’s Law 2.0, this first-in-the-nation legislation makes cyberbullying with the intent to induce a minor to commit suicide a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The bill is named in honor of 15-year-old Grace McComas, who on Easter Sunday 2012, took her own life, having been attacked by online bullies, while her parents had no recourse to stop it.

Human Trafficking

House Bill 871/Senate Bill 690: Criminal Law—Human Trafficking and Prostitution Offenses
This legislation includes Governor Hogan’s legislation to classify felony human trafficking as a violent crime.This was the second year in a row in which the governor introduced this important legislation. The legislation also creates a human trafficking subtitle in statute and recodifies prostitution offenses to separate different types of offenses.

House Bill 734/Senate Bill 689: Criminal Law—Labor Trafficking (Anti-Exploitation Act)
This legislation establishes the offense of labor trafficking, a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 25 years and/or a $15,000 maximum fine.

Hate Crimes 

House Bill 240/Senate Bill 232: Hate Crimes—Threats
This legislation expands criminal law to include penalties for those who threaten to commit a hate crime. Governor Hogan included $5 million in his FY 2020 budget to enhance security at facilities in Maryland that are potential targets for hate crimes.

House Bill 420/Senate Bill 139: Criminal Law—Threat of Mass Violence
This legislation expands the definition of the threat of mass violence so that it applies to cases in which the threat of a crime of violence would affect five or more people, as opposed to the current law that says five or more people must perceive the threat.

House Bill 168: Public Safety—Reporting of Hate Crimes
This administration legislation expands the categories of hate crime incidents that law enforcement must report to the Maryland State Police and for which the Maryland State Police must collect, analyze, and report.

Veterans

Senate Bill 521: Veteran Suicide Prevention—Comprehensive Action Plan
This legislation requires the Maryland Department of Health to develop a comprehensive action plan to increase access to and availability of professional veteran health services to prevent veteran suicides.

Freedom of the Press Day

House Joint Resolution 9/Senate Joint Resolution 2: Freedom of the Press Day
This resolution designates June 28 as Freedom of the Press Day in honor of the five victims of the Capital Gazette shooting. Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters lost their lives in the shooting. The Gazette was recently awarded a special Pulitzer Prize citation “for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief.”

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