Several New Maryland Laws Set For October First - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Several New Maryland Laws Set For October First

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SALISBURY, Md. - They've been targeted for years, but soon drivers and front passengers won't be alone in the buckling up requirement. Back seat drivers beware: You'll now get a ticket too for not wearing a seat belt, starting October 1.

"Every occupant of a motor vehicle will be required to wear a seat belt, by law," said Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis.

And if they're under 16-years-old, the driver will have to pay up. It's one of many new laws that go in to effect next month, including hands-free devices for drivers. Violating that law now becomes a primary offence.

"I didn't know you could be pulled over just for that, but I do think it's safe," Salisbury resident Cindi Ashcraft said.

But the reviews are mixed. Some still question other distractions drivers face.

"I don't see how holding a phone to your ear is a whole lot different than eating a sandwich while you drive, but I suppose if it keeps people safer than that's a good thing," Laura Baasland said.

Another new law attempts to keep people safer - online. Grace's Law now makes cyber bullying illegal.

"I think they waited far too long to get that in place since so many people live their lives on the Internet," Baasland added.

It's now a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.  The law is named for a girl who committed suicide after being harassed and threatened over the Internet and in school.  According to the law, anyone who uses an "interactive computer service" to cause "serious emotional distress on a minor, or places a minor in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury" can face the charges.

And speaking of doing time - the death penalty will no longer be an option. Those convicted of murder in the first degree will be sentenced either to life, or life without the possibility for parole.

And medical marijuana has also been approved, but only for academic medical center programs.

And then, perhaps the most interesting new law is on shark fins. Following a similar ruling by Delaware earlier this year, "possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading, or distributing a shark fin" is prohibited.

Some are exempt from possessing fins in certain circumstances, including "a specified person, museum, college, or university."

For more information on all of the new laws passed, you can find the Maryland Legislative Wrap-Up here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/pubs-current/current-legislative-wrap-up.pdf

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