By: Matt Bush
Police chiefs across Maryland warn that body cameras on officers will not be effective until a change is made in state law, and now a bill making that change has cleared the House of Delegates.
Maryland's wiretapping law currently requires two-party consent to record audio. So in the case of an officer wearing a body camera, the officer would have to ask anyone they approach if it's okay to record them. If that person says no, then there's only video.
By Cynthia Prairie
VOTING RIGHTS FOR EX-FELONS: Ex-felons could regain their voting rights while on parole or probation under a bill passed Monday night by the Maryland Senate. The vote for SB340 was 29 to 18, with senators split over the wisdom of letting ex-felons register before they've fully completed all the terms of their sentences, as the law now requires, Timothy Wheeler reports in the Sun.
by: Roberto Alejandro
Special to the AFRO
Two bills attempting to set basic standards for the use of body-worn cameras by police across the state have run into a sentiment in the General Assembly that the adoption of the technology may be too early to justify statewide policy.
On March 12, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 627 sponsored by Del. Sandy Rosenberg (D-Baltimore City). The bill would set basic standards for the use and operation of body cameras for any jurisdiction in the state that chooses to adopt the emerging technology.
By Nate Rabner
Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS — A bill to allow police officers to record video and audio with wearable cameras has been advancing through the Maryland legislature with the support of law enforcement officials, echoing a national focus on police accountability, despite concerns about invasions of privacy.
“We see (cameras) as a valuable tool in law enforcement,” said Riverdale Park Police Chief David Morris, who serves as second vice president of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association. He said video recordings would encourage “better customer service” from police, as well as protecting officers from recriminations.
By: Nate Rabner, Capital News Service
The Daily Record
ANNAPOLIS — Ahead of a House of Delegates committee hearing Thursday, about 70 people gathered by the State House to remember the names of people who died while interacting with law enforcement officers.
Archie Elliott III, 1995. Gary Hopkins Jr., 1999. Dale Graham, 2008. Tyrone West, 2013 — all men who died during interactions with officers in Maryland under disputed circumstances.
By Lauren Loricchio
Catonville Times, The Baltimore Sun
Hoping to improve safety for both police officers and citizens, and also prevent the mentally ill from entering the criminal justice system, State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (District 44) and Del. Charles Sydnor (District 44B) have sponsored legislation that would create separate mental health units for the Baltimore City police department and establish an evaluation system for the unit that already exists in Baltimore County.
The legislation would establish a pilot program requiring both police departments to have units made up of officers trained to understand the needs of those with mental illness.
By Lauren Loricchio Contact Reporter
With the second week of the legislative session underway, District 44B Dels. Charles Sydnor III and Pat Young are settling into their new roles as representatives in Annapolis.
The Catonsville residents, two of 58 new delegates who began their terms Jan. 14, both say the transition to the State House has been an exciting one.
"There is so much information that is coming our way within the past two weeks," said Sydnor, 40, a senior attorney for Enterprise Community Partners in Columbia. "I'm still figuring out how to get around, how to get things processed, how to be a good representative."
By Jenna Johnson
The Washington Post
When the Maryland General Assembly reconvenes on Wednesday, there will be a sea of new lawmakers taking the oath of office.
This crop of freshmen includes a former drug dealer, a liberal blogger and a saloon owner. There are three medical doctors, several military veterans and a guy who has worked for 25 years at a plant that produces construction materials.
Here’s one interesting fact about each of the 69 newest members of the House of Delegates and Senate:
By Maryland Reporter
A group of 27 Democratic legislators asked MarylandReporter.com to publish this open letter to Gov.-elect Larry Hogan. Nineteen of the 27 are newly elected delegates being sworn in Wednesday.
Congratulations on a hard-fought election to become Maryland's next Governor. Your promise to "Change Maryland" resonated with hundreds of thousands of voters -- especially your belief that middle-class residents and working families deserve tax fairness and job creation. We agree.
A Maryland Reporter article on Friday touched a nerve with a number of newly elected members of the House of Delegates. The lead sentence said: "While the new governor-elect is a pro-business Republican, the newly elected “Democrats coming in are more progressive and more anti-business” than those they are replacing, Comcast lobbyist Sean Looney told a Baltimore-Washington Chamber of Commerce luncheon."
Seventeen freshman Democrats who will be sworn in Jan. 14 signed this letter to Sean Looney and they requested MarylandReporter.com publish it. UPDATED 11/10/2014, 2:30 p.m. Looney apologized for his 'inappropriate comments' Monday afternoon in a letter posted below.