MARYLAND passes laws to increase public safety, employment, environmental stewardship and mental health resources

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law Thursday measures aimed at increasing public safety, employment, environmental stewardship and mental health resources.

The Republican governor, who prioritized initiatives to support police and fight crime this legislative session, signed legislation to increase transparency in the criminal justice system and create a statewide weapons testing center to coordinate resources to investigate and test gun cases to improve the prosecution of firearms crimes

“Violent crime continues to be a top priority for Marylanders, and today we are signing our Judicial Transparency Act, so the public knows more about the sentences handed down for violent offenders,” said Hogan. “We are further expanding our warrant apprehension efforts and strengthening firearms crime prosecutions.”

Hogan opened her remarks before signing 103 bills with House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Pro Tem Melony Griffith, noting that it was the first time two Black women had presided over the House and Senate together. Maryland Senate at the signing of a bill.

The criminal justice measures marked a compromise between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

Hogan criticized the legislature for not acting on his crime package at the end of the 90-day session. He specifically called for the passage of his Violent Firearms Offenders Act, which would have created stronger penalties for criminals who illegally use and possess firearms, as well as those who illegally provide firearms to criminals, but the bill of law favored by the governor did not advance.

Democrats have not supported mandatory minimum prison sentences, choosing instead to focus on prevention and rehabilitation.

“I believe our comprehensive community safety plan is focused on prevention, intervention, justice and rehabilitation, and provides the necessary tools and resources for the executive branch to address the most critical needs of our state’s criminal justice system. ,” said Griffith, a resident of Prince George’s County. Democrat, he said.

The Governor also signed a bill to extend tax incentives for manufacturers that locate or expand in the state and create new manufacturing jobs and for non-manufacturers that locate or expand in Maryland Opportunity Zones.

Jones, a Democrat from Baltimore County, said the measures signed Thursday demonstrated the state’s commitment to rebuilding the foundations of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are putting Marylanders back to work, investing in our students and education, placing a greater emphasis on mental and behavioral health, ensuring safer communities, creating a clean and sustainable environment, and protecting your private information in a safer environment. growing virtual world,” the speaker said.

With 988 set to become the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in July, the governor signed a measure to create a fund to support behavioral and mental health call centers.

In his remarks, Hogan highlighted the signing of the Conservation Financing Act, which he said makes Maryland the first state to enact legislation that leverages private capital to advance water quality, conservation and climate goals.

He also signed the George “Walter” Taylor Act to stop the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in firefighting foam. The law is named for a firefighter of 31 years who died of occupational health cancers related to PFAS exposure. The new law will also restrict the use of toxic “forever chemicals” in food packaging, rugs and carpets.

The new law will take effect on July 1, although most restrictions will not be implemented until January 1, 2024.

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