Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Democrat, Maryland House of Delegates District 15

Maryland Delegates Discuss Upcoming Bills at Safe Silver Spring Meeting

As the 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis gets underway, various delegates attended Wednesday’s Safe Silver Spring meeting to get the opinions and support from the board members on their bills.

A few of the bills discussed were the following:

1. Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18) is working on presenting the Flash Mob Theft Act.

This measure would make acts of theft committed by multiple individuals, in unison as one crime, be considered a felony or a misdemeanor, according to a draft version of the bill.

“The idea is to provide a thoughtful nuanced tool in the tool box for law enforcement when it comes to flash mob robberies.  Right now there is a small loophole in the law that prevents law enforcement from holding flash mob robbers accountable for the crime. This closes that loop hole,” Waldstreicher said.

2. Senator Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20 of Takoma Park), of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is working on a few bills this legislative session.

[I’m] introducing legislation in the Senate that would create a new marijuana offense that would be punishable not by one year which is the current statutory specification but rather by 90 days. This would give the prosecutors the choice of prosecuting under one state statue or prosecuting under the other. The problem is now that their all a year and the defendants can always pray for a jury trial in circuit court and it’s clogging up the circuit court. There is a huge backlog of cases, more than 1700 or 1800 cases, that are waiting there,” Raskin said.

“This would liberate the circuit court to be moving much more quickly on serious assault offenses rape, murder and so on,” Raskin added.

3. Deena Hausner, from the House of Ruth of Maryland, said that her group is working on supporting three types of legislation.

One of them includes The Electronic Communications Harassment Act which will add “any form of electronic communication in the harassment bill. When the law was first passed, really email was the only way electronically harass somebody and now of course there is  Twitter, there is Facebook, there are all kinds of ways. Text messaging particularly we see for our clients,” Hausner said.

“Victims of domestic violence are routinely harassed by their abusers, especially when they leave, text messaging is really popular,” she added.

4. Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D-15), Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, shared a few of her bills along with other ideas she has heard being proposed behind the scenes in Annapolis.

“Bills I think we will see a lot of our in the child abuse/neglect area. Based on the Penn State incident there are going to be a ton of bills that are going to try to criminalize non-reporting. There are a couple of mandatory reporters. Reporters are law enforcement, teachers, mental health professionals, physicians,” Dumais said. She continued the law would make it so that, “If you don’t report child abuse, it should be a crime.”

Maryland has one of the strongest mandatory reporting laws around the country, but it doesn’t make it a crime.

A few of these caught the attention of many of the Safe Silver Spring board members. Tony Hausner, the chair of the non-profit, said they will have to convene to decide on which of the measures they are going to officially support.

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