Legislative Digest


April 02, 2005|By From staff reports

Ehrlich allows bill providing malpractice reform to become law

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. allowed a bill paving the way for malpractice insurance refunds to doctors to become law without his signature yesterday.

Ehrlich said in a letter to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller that he did not veto the bill, which makes technical corrections to the law legislators passed in a December special session despite the governor's veto, because it is necessary to prevent medical malpractice insurers from leaving the state.

However, he said the legislature's malpractice solution falls short of the legal reforms needed to keep insurance rates down in the long term. He urged lawmakers to take up other lawsuit reforms he has proposed.

Senate OKs bill banning cell phones for teen drivers

The state Senate passed a measure yesterday that would ban the use of cellular phones by drivers with learner's permits or provisional licenses, a move that is part of a broader effort to restrict teenage driving.

In a vote of 32-14, the Senate approved legislation proposed by Del. William A. Bronrott, a Montgomery County Democrat who has been one of the lawmakers leading the charge to reform teenage driving laws. The legislation must return to the House of Delegates for approval of changes to language in the bill before going to the governor for his signature.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration largely has supported this and other measures proposed by Bronrott and others to help curb fatalities among teenage drivers.

House approves regulation of immigration consultants

The House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill yesterday to regulate immigration consultants.

The bill would require consultants to advertise accurately and prohibit them from giving legal advice or collecting money for services they don't perform. The bill also would allow victims to receive up to three times the amount paid, plus attorney's fees.

The Senate unanimously passed a similar bill Monday.

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