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New Maryland Laws Take Effect October 1, 2019

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 1, 2019

New laws take effect in Maryland today.

HB0240 (CH0028) makes it a crime to threaten certain hate crimes.

SB0236 (CH0750) changes the minimum sentence that would disqualify someone from jury duty.

HB1169 (CH0396)  increased the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products including vaping products from 18 to 21.

SB0449 (CH0755) allows for same day voter registration.

The law banning bump stocks takes effect today but SB0707 (CH0252) was actually passed during the 2018 session. The law prohibits a person “a person from transporting a certain rapid fire trigger activator into the State or manufacturing, possessing, selling, offering to sell, transferring, purchasing, or receiving a certain rapid fire trigger activator, subject to a certain exception; defining “rapid fire trigger activator” as any device, including a removable manual or power-driven activating device, constructed so that, when installed in or attached to a firearm the rate at which the trigger is activated increases or the rate of fire increases…”

This is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2019 Legislative Session. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland provides a full listing. Was there a major issue from the 2019 session that was not covered in this series? The 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2019 Session, published by DLS, includes a hyperlinked list of Major Issues from 2019.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?  DLS publishes a Popular Terms List as a reference for current legislation that is often referred to by the public and media by certain popular terms.

Do you prefer paper sources?  The Law Library’s collection includes the the advance (paperback) Laws of Maryland, arranged in chapter number order with separate volumes for a Sponsor Index, the Final Status Report, and Committee Index. In addition, the Law Library’s Maryland collection includes print copies of the current Annotated Code of Maryland. The  2019 pocket parts should be coming soon.

Don’t forget – the Law Library is here if you have questions or would like additional information. Contact us!

Posted in lawlibrary, Maryland Law | 1 Comment »

New Edition of the Journalist’s Guide to Maryland’s Legal System

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 2, 2019

The third edition of the Journalist’s Guide to Maryland’s Legal System was released on Law Day, May 1, 2019. The theme for this year’s Law Day was “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.” From the judiciary’s press release:

“It is significant that we are releasing the Journalist’s Guide on Law Day,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “The Judiciary strives to improve public awareness and understanding of the Maryland judicial branch, the court system, and its role in resolving conflicts, providing justice, and upholding the rule of law. A free press is vitally important to inform the public about court proceedings and events. This guide gives journalists the tools they need to report about our legal system with the necessary accuracy and thoroughness to inform and educate the people we serve.”

Please read more of the press release here.

This is a great resource not just for journalists but for anyone who wants to learn more about our legal system.

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New Maryland Laws Take Effect October 1, 2018

Posted by Joan Bellistri on September 30, 2018

New Maryland laws take effect on October 1, 2018! Over the summer we published  posts highlighting a few of the newly enacted laws:

Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws – Expungement

Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws -Divorce and Mutual Consent

This is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2018 Legislative Session. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland provides a full listing. Was there a major issue from the 2018 session that was not covered in this series? The 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2018 Session, published by DLS, includes a hyperlinked list of Major Issues from 2018 such as the budget, education, public safety, taxes and voting rights.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?  DLS publishes a Popular Terms List as a reference for current legislation that is often referred to by the public and media by certain popular terms.

Do you prefer paper sources?  The Law Library’s collection includes the following resources:  the advance (paperback) Laws of Maryland, arranged in chapter number order with separate volumes for a Sponsor Index, the Final Status Report, and Committee Index; West’s Maryland Legislative Service with a list of sections affected; and  the 2018 Maryland Legislative Review Service, published by LexisNexis, which summarizes the 2018 Acts of the Maryland General Assembly Regular Session and organizes the 2018 Acts by topical headings. In addition, the Law Library’s Maryland collection includes print copies of the current Annotated Code of Maryland. The  2018 pocket parts should be coming soon.

Don’t forget – the Law Library is here if you have questions or would like additional information. Contact us!

 

 

 

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New Look for People’s Law Library of Maryland

Posted by Joan Bellistri on August 30, 2018

Peoples The People’s Law Library of Maryland has a new look.  We were accustomed  to the look and feel of this important website since we use it many times everyday and so were a bit surprised to see the new design with Maryland colors pop-up on the screen.

People’s still provides the links we refer to everyday – the legal directory, the legal clinics listing, and, of course, all of the legal information on topics important to Maryland citizens.

The front page provides a link to the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center as well as the phone number where live assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. (I appreciate the live chat button on every information page as it makes for easy referrals – to  information and live assistance in one convenient place.)

The People’s Law Library of Maryland is an important tool that we use all of the time.  It makes assisting those that call in or email with questions so much easier as long as they have a computer or smart phone.  People’s articles can be a part of almost every reference response for non-attorney questions.  We are fortunate to have such a great resource in Maryland.

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Maryland 2018 Session: New Maryland Laws Effective July 1, 2018

Posted by Joan Bellistri on August 28, 2018

Most new Maryland laws become effective October 1.  However, there are still a number that have an effective date of July 1.  Many of those laws concern alcoholic beverages but some of the other issues include:

A full list of laws with a July 1 effective date is here.

There were also a number of laws with a June 1 effective date which include the BUDGET RECONCILIATION AND FINANCING ACT OF 2018  SB187 /CH10.  A full listing is here.

And just one bill became law on June 30, SB885/CH622. It alters the statutory formula that determines the compensation required to be paid to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Fund on condemnation of land.

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Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws -Expungement

Posted by Joan Bellistri on August 24, 2018

This excerpt from the 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2018 Session at E-8 provides a good discussion of the 2018 changes to the expungement law per HB382/CH686 and SB101/CH143:

Under the Criminal Procedure Article, a person who has been charged with the commission of a crime, including a crime under the Transportation Article for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed, or who has been charged with a civil offense or infraction, except a juvenile offense, as a substitute for a criminal charge may file a petition for expungement listing the relevant facts of a police record, court record, or other record maintained by the State or a political subdivision of the State, under various circumstances listed in the statute. House Bill 382 (passed) clarifies that a person may petition for expungement of any civil offense or infraction, except a juvenile offense. The bill repeals the requirement that the civil offense or infraction be a substitute for a criminal charge.

Chapter 515 of 2016, also known as the Justice Reinvestment Act, authorized the expungement of convictions for several specified offenses, the vast majority of which are misdemeanors. Expungements of these convictions are subject to specified procedures and waiting periods. Senate Bill 101 (passed) authorizes the expungement of a felony conviction for theft, possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, and burglary. The bill specifies that a petition for expungement of a felony is subject to a waiting period of 15 years from when the person satisfies the sentence or sentences imposed for all convictions for which expungement is requested, including parole, probation, or mandatory supervision. For a further discussion of Senate Bill 101, see the subparts “Criminal Law” and “Public Safety” within this part of this 90 Day Report.

These changes will go into effect October 1, 2018.

To learn more about expungement and expungement resources, check out expungement on the Maryland People’s Law Library and our wiki page. In addition, the Maryland Courts website includes information on how to expunge your records and a video.

 

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Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws -Divorce and Mutual Consent

Posted by Joan Bellistri on August 21, 2018

This excerpt from the 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2018 Session provides a good discussion of the 2018 changes to the divorce law concerning mutual consent.

Under current law, a court may grant an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent if (1) the parties do not have any minor children in common; (2) the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property, as specified; (3) neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland Rules; and (4) both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.

Senate Bill 96/CH849 (passed) repeals the requirement that both parties appear before the court in order to be granted an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent. Senate Bill 120/CH850 (passed) repeals the restriction that limits absolute divorces on the ground of mutual consent to parties without minor children in common. Instead, it requires the written settlement agreement submitted to the court to also resolve all issues relating to the care, custody, access, and support of minor or dependent children. The parties must attach to the settlement agreement a completed child support guidelines worksheet, if applicable. The bill also establishes that as a condition to granting an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent, the court must be satisfied that any terms of the settlement agreement relating to minor or dependent children are in the best interests of those children.

In regards to Twelve-month Separation , Oral Amendment to Divorce Application Statutory provisions set forth a process by which a court may grant a limited divorce, which does not sever the marriage but does grant the complaining party the right to live separate and apart from the other spouse. A limited divorce also can address issues of custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and use and possession of a family home. A court may grant an absolute divorce based on numerous specified grounds, including the ground of 12-month separation when the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce. House Bill 1368/CH782 (passed) authorizes an oral amendment to a previously filed application for a limited or absolute divorce, that is made by a party with the consent of the other party at a hearing on the merits in open court, to qualify as “the filing of the application for divorce” in statutory provisions regarding an absolute divorce on the ground of a 12-month separation.

These changes will go into effect October 1, 2018.

For assistance and more information on family matters please see the following:

  • The Family Law Self Help Center provides self-represented litigants with legal information and forms for family law matters such as divorce, custody, visitation, child support and name changes. Located at the Law Library, the Family Law Self Help Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. (but closes for lunch from 1:00 – 2:00).
  • Maryland Courts Self-Help Center  provides phone (410-260-1392) and live chat assistance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. 
  • The Law Library’s wiki site includes pages dedicated to Family Law Resources, including referrals, forms and reference materials.
  • The Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County’s website includes a “Learn About” page addressing Family Law Cases.
  • The Maryland Courts’ website includes information about Family Law Issues, such as adoption, child custody, child support, divorce, marriage and name change.
  • The Maryland People’s Law Library has many articles on family law topics

For more information or help getting started with your research, contact the Law Library!

Posted in lawlibrary, Maryland Law | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

New Laws in Maryland – The 90 Day Report: A Review of the 2018 Legislative Session

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 11, 2018

The 90 Day Report is published each year at the conclusion of the legislative session. The 2018 report was issued on April 13, 2018, less than a week after the last day of the session.  Seems pretty amazing since the report is more than 400 pages. It begins with a list of the major issues and where to find the information in the report. The major issues are identified as budget, business, education, consumer protection, health, public safety (which includes the courts), state government and transportation.

The bulk of the report is divided into 12 parts labeled A through L with a Part M being a list of bills.  Issues of interest to the legal community can be found in Part E “Crimes, Corrections, and Public Safety” and Part F “Courts and Civil Proceedings.”

Future blog posts will dig deeper into the 2018 Session by reviewing this report.

 

Posted in lawlibrary, Maryland Law | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Legal Self Help Videos for Maryland

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 18, 2018

movie cameraRepresenting yourself in a civil case or just interested in learning about the law and Maryland courts?

The Access to Justice Department of the Maryland Judiciary has created a library of videos for the self-represented: My Laws, My Courts, My Maryland: A video series for the self-represented.

Family Law videos include three videos on guardianship. The Getting Started videos cover topics such as how to find legal help, legal research, deciding to represent yourself and how to work with a lawyer.  A number of topics are covered under Law Topics including expungement, rent court, foreclosure and small claims. In Court Basics learn about filing fees, getting ready for court and interpreter services.

 

For every video there are:

  • Transcripts in English and Spanish
  • A printable tip sheet summarizing the video
  • Links to resources, fors, and court services

To see all the topics covered see the full listing of videos.

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New Maryland Laws Take Effect on October 1, 2017 – Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

Posted by Joan Bellistri on September 29, 2017

lawsNew Maryland laws take effect on October 1, 2017! We published a series of posts highlighting a few of the newly enacted laws, but this is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2017 Legislative Session. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland provides a full listing.

Was there a major issue from the 2017 session that was not covered in this series? The 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2017  Session, published by DLS, includes a hyperlinked list of Major Issues from 2017 such as the budget, education, public safety, taxes and voting rights.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?  DLS publishes a Popular Terms List as a reference for current legislation that is often referred to by the public and media by certain popular terms.

Do you prefer paper sources?  The Law Library’s collection includes the following resources:  the advance (paperback) Laws of Maryland, arranged in chapter number order with separate volumes for a Sponsor Index, the Final Status Report, and Committee Index; West’s Maryland Legislative Service with a list of sections affected; and  the 2017 Maryland Legislative Review Service, published by LexisNexis, which summarizes the 2017 Acts of the Maryland General Assembly Regular Session and organizes the 2017 Acts by topical headings. In addition, the Law Library’s Maryland collection includes print copies of the current Annotated Code of Maryland. The  2017 pocket parts should be coming soon.

Don’t forget – the Law Library is here if you have questions or would like additional information. Contact us!

Posted in lawlibrary, Maryland Law | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »