House OKs bill giving immunity to parent if baby left in `safe haven'
The House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved a bill last night that would grant immunity to a parent who leaves an unharmed newborn in a "safe haven" such as a hospital or police station within three days of the child's birth.
Del. Sharon M. Grosfeld, a Montgomery County Democrat, introduced the bill after a 19-year-old woman from her county was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years for abandoning a newborn.
The House voted 115-19 to approve the legislation. A similar bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Senate panel scales back governor's body armor bill
A state Senate committee has significantly scaled back the governor's proposal to restrict the sale and possession of body armor, amending the bill so that only convicted felons would be barred from owning the bullet-resistant vests.
The changes voted yesterday, to which the governor's office agreed, would require felons who want to own body armor to apply for a permit from the state police. Gov. Parris N. Glendening's original bill would have required anyone who wanted the vests to apply for a permit, but the proposal ran into strong opposition in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. The bill goes to the full Senate.
The committee also approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Alexander X. Mooney, a Frederick County Republican, making it a misdemeanor to wear body armor during the commission of a drug trafficking crime.
Committee compromises on DNA testing measures
A Senate committee struck a compromise yesterday on a series of bills seeking to expand the rights of convicted felons to request DNA testing of evidence to try to overturn their convictions.
The bill approved by the Judicial Proceedings Committee would give convicts the right to petition the courts for DNA testing of evidence after they have been convicted of manslaughter, murder or serious sexual offenses. The state would be required to preserve evidence for at least three years.
The measure is a compromise between a bill that would have granted that right only to those sentenced to death and other proposals that would have expanded that right to all convicted felons.
Senate approves helmet bill for kids on skates, scooters
Children using inline skates and scooters would have to wear helmets under a bill approved last night by the Senate.
Senators voted 35-11 to approve the helmet requirement, which would apply to children younger than age 16. The bill goes to the House of Delegates.
Maryland requires children younger than age 16 to wear helmets while riding bicycles.