ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A first-in-the-nation law enabling Maryland’s attorney general to take action against pharmaceutical price gouging is scheduled to go into effect next week, along with a number of other laws approved in the state’s last legislation session. Here’s a look at some of the laws that are set to take effect Sunday:
GENERIC DRUGS-PRICE GOUGING
A law empowering the attorney general to bring civil actions against manufacturers of off-patent generic drugs that make an “unconscionable” price increase is scheduled to take effect. However, a federal judge is considering putting the law on hold until a lawsuit is settled. The Association for Accessible Medicines contends the law is an “unconstitutional overreach” that will create instability in the market for generic drugs. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says the law will give the state a “necessary tool to combat unjustified and extreme prices.”
Many provisions in a law passed last year to make comprehensive reforms to the state’s criminal justice system take effect. Aimed at saving millions of dollars on incarceration costs and reducing recidivism, the law makes changes in policy for parole, drug treatment, victim restitution and criminal record expungement. People serving a minimum mandatory prison sentence without parole for a felony drug crime will be able to ask the court for a reduction in sentence.
A ban on the hydraulic fracturing drilling process known as fracking, which has never taken place in the state, officially takes effect.
The statute of limitations for a survivor of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit against an abuser has been extended from the age of 25 to the age of 38.
Victims of domestic violence will be able to ask a judge to implement GPS tracking in addition to a restraining order to monitor offenders. It is named for Amber Schinault, who was killed by her boyfriend in 2012 after she broke up with him.
A law pushed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will more carefully define a conflict of interest, clarifying when state officials need to keep their distance from businesses with interests before them. It also expands the law’s definition of a “close economic association” to include association between a legislator and an entity with the lawmaker is negotiating employment or arranging prospective employment. It also forms a citizens’ advisory board to offer recommendations to the legislature’s ethics board regarding changes to public ethics law.
WHISTLEBLOWER PROECTION-SCHOOL EMPLOYEES
State whistleblower protections will be extended to public school employees.
The waiting period for people to seek expungement of marijuana possession from their records will be reduced from 10 years after conviction to four years. Maryland decriminalized possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in 2014.
NO ELECTRONIC LOTTERY
The state lottery is prohibited from creating a system or program that allows a person to buy a lottery ticket through an electronic device that connects to the internet, such as a personal computer or mobile device.
Maryland Environmental Service employees will have collective bargaining rights similar to those of most state employees. The service will be required to recognize an employee organization that is elected to represent them.