Legislative Digest

March 20, 2009

SWAT-reports bill gets Senate approval

The Maryland Senate has unanimously approved a bill to require law enforcement agencies to issue monthly reports to the attorney general on SWAT team deployments. The bill, passed on a 43-0 vote yesterday, would require reports on the number, purpose, general location and results of Maryland SWAT team deployments. The House of Delegates is considering similar legislation. Last summer, police raided the home and killed the dogs of an innocent Berwyn Heights mayor after drug smugglers sent a package containing 32 pounds of marijuana to his residence. Police now say the smugglers hoped to have a courier pick up the package shortly after it was dropped outside Mayor Cheye Calvo's front door. Officers kicked down the door and shot Calvo's dogs during the raid but later cleared him and his family of all wrongdoing. Calvo testified in favor of the legislation, as did families from Howard County who were the subjects of recent raids.

Associated Press

Senate backs in-state tuition for Md. Guard

A measure to exempt members of the Maryland National Guard from paying nonresident tuition at public colleges and universities in the state has been passed by the Maryland Senate. The bill would take effect July 1. Currently, members of the state's National Guard must qualify for in-state status in the same way that other people do. Active duty members of the military are exempt from nonresident tuition if they are stationed in Maryland or live in the state. In-state tuition was about $8,000 in 2008, compared with $23,000 for out-of-state students, at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Associated Press

Drug-overdose bill divides delegates

Advocates of a "good Samaritan" bill argued that it would encourage people to seek help for those suffering from drug or alcohol overdoses, but critics expressed concern that it would provide immunity for a wide array of crimes. The proposed legislation would offer limited immunity for the person making the call and the one experiencing the overdose, but it would not protect callers from prosecution if they provided the drugs or alcohol to the victim. "This bill saves lives," Prince George's County Del. Kriselda Valderrama, a Democrat and lead sponsor of the bill, said Wednesday. While critics were careful not to express opposition to the intent of the bill, they voiced concern about its possible implications. Del. Luiz Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat, said he was worried the bill would provide a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for certain crimes.

Capital News Service

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