From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler is proud to announce his legislative agenda for the 2016 Maryland General Assembly. With help from several members of the General Assembly, a total of 13 bills, suggested by Sheriff Gahler, will be introduced during the 2016 legislative session. The bills range in topic; focusing mainly on traffic safety, gun ownership and fighting the scourge of heroin in our communities.
As previously announced, through the work of Sheriff Gahler’s Heroin Overdose Prevention Effort (HOPE) workgroup, Delegates Kathy Szeliga and Andrew Cassilly are introducing bills aimed at curbing heroin abuse in our communities. These measures will increase penalties for those attempting to sell heroin near methadone clinics and other treatment facilities; give law enforcement in Harford County access to real time data concerning heroin overdoses; and require medical personnel be contacted whenever NARCAN is used to prevent a suspected overdose. As of December 29th, law enforcement has responded to 198 suspected heroin overdoses in Harford County. Of those 198 overdoses, 27 have turned fatal.
“Heroin is a serious threat to the well-being of our community,” says Sheriff Gahler, “and these tools will help law enforcement across the state combat this growing problem and bring those responsible for its spread to justice.”
Sheriff Gahler will also work closely with Delegates Seth Howard and Michael Malone, as well as Senators Wayne Norman and Robert Cassilly to protect the right of all Marylanders’ to bear arms. One of these bills seeks to cut the license fee in half for residents attempting to purchase a handgun. Another strives to provide training exemptions for recognized correctional officers and retired federal law enforcement officers attempting to obtain a Handgun Qualification License (HQL). Sheriff Gahler also hopes to authorize the Secretary of State Police to temporarily waive the requirement for a specified firearms training course for those deemed to be in imminent danger.
Recent incidents across the country have demonstrated a lack of public awareness and education surrounding expectations and legal requirements during a traffic stop. At the end of the day, officers everywhere want to ensure the safety of those they are charged to protect. To that end, effective education concerning interactions with law enforcement during a traffic stop is critical. Partnering with Delegates Andrew Cassilly and Mary Ann Lisanti, Sheriff Gahler hopes to require that every driver’s education school in Maryland provide education on the basics of positive and productive interactions with law enforcement during a traffic stop.
During the 2015 legislative session, seven counties throughout Maryland worked with Delegates and Senators to introduce legislation providing their law enforcement agencies the ability to participate in the Warrant Intercept Program. This Program authorizes the Maryland Comptroller’s Office to withhold someone’s Maryland income tax refund if there is an active warrant issued by the courts for their arrest. Delegate Theresa Reilly will introduce a bill that opens this program to jurisdictions throughout the State of Maryland.
“These legislative measures are important for the safety and rights of citizens throughout Harford County and the State of Maryland,” says Gahler. “The invaluable support I’ve received from these members of the General Assembly is a testament to their dedication to the people of Maryland. I will join them in Annapolis to do all I can to help these measures pass, and become law.”
Heroin Abuse Prevention Effort
HB-15 Szeliga – Public Health – Hospital Reporting-Harford County
Requires hospitals and other medical facilities report information to Law Enforcement and Emergency Services personnel when an individual is admitted to a facility for a suspected opioid overdose. This legislation will apply only to facilities in Harford County.
HB-24 Szeliga – Public Health – Overdose Response Program
Requires anyone who is certified to administer naloxone (NARCAN) to an individual experiencing or believed by the certificate holder to be experiencing an opioid overdose to release the treated individual to medical personnel. Require individuals certified to administer naloxone be informed that they are required to release an individual who has been administered NARCAN to the care of certified medical professional.
HB-34 Cassilly – Public Safety – Possession with intent to distribute near treatment facility
If an individual is within 1000 feet of a state licensed opioid treatment facility attempting to distribute, manufacture or sell an opioid on the scheduled list of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) the individual can receive additional criminal charges.
Currently No Sponsor – Motor Vehicle – Historic Vehicle-Seat Belts
Requiring the occupants of vehicles designated as Class L Historic vehicles; manufactured after 1972 to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in use.
HB in Draft Del Cassilly – Motor Vehicle – Drivers Education
Change in the Maryland driver’s education curriculum to add a requirement that drivers education schools teach students the proper techniques and instructions to follow when a police officer is conducting a traffic stop on the vehicle they are operating.
Public Safety and Police Operations
HB in Draft Del. Reilly-Income Tax Refunds-Warrant Intercept Program Statewide
Altering the requirement for the Comptroller to withhold Maryland income tax refunds of specified individuals with outstanding warrants in all parts of Maryland. Requiring participating county Sheriffs and Police agencies to opt in to the Warrant Intercept program.
HB in draft Del. Reilly – Income Tax Refunds – Warrant Intercept Program-Harford County
Adding Harford County to the current Warrant Intercept Program. Altering the requirement for the Comptroller to withhold Maryland income tax refunds of specified individuals with outstanding warrants to include residents of Harford County or individuals who have outstanding warrants from Harford County;
HB in draft Del. McComas – Public Safety-Handgun Qualifications License (HQL)
Adding additional categories of individuals who should be exempt from completing the training required to obtain a HQL in Maryland. Providing exemptions for current and retired correctional officers/deputies who reside in Cecil, Carroll and Harford Counties and provide an exemption for retired out of state law enforcement officers and federal law enforcement officers
HB in draft Del. Fraser-Hidalgo – Privileged Communications – Critical Incident Stress Management
Prohibiting a critical incident stress management team member from disclosing specified communications or information acquired from a law enforcement officer, a correctional officer, or an emergency responder in the course of providing critical incident stress management services. Prohibiting a critical incident stress management team member from being compelled to testify in specified proceedings or investigations
Gun Ownership and Firearms Safety
HB in draft Del. Howard – Maryland State Police Handgun Permits – Reporting Requirements
Requiring that the Maryland State Police report to the Maryland General Assembly on a semiannual basis an update on all handgun permit activity to include categories of permits issued, length of time from application to permit issuance or denial and other information pertinent to handgun permits in Maryland
SB in draft Sen. Norman – Public Safety – Handgun Permit – Temporary Training Waiver
Authorizing the Secretary of State Police, on making a determination that an applicant has demonstrated evidence of imminent danger against the applicant, to temporarily waive a specified requirement to complete a specified firearms training course. Requiring the completion of a specified course within 60 days after the issuance of the permit in imminent danger cases.
HB in draft Del. Malone – Public Safety – Handgun Qualifications License (HQL) – Fee reduction
To reduce the fee paid to the Department of State Police to obtain a HQL from $50 to $25.
SB in Draft Sen. Cassilly – Public Safety – Handgun qualifications license (HQL) – Training
Removal of the provision that requires an applicant for an HQL to fire one round of live ammunition as part of a training requirement to own a handgun in Maryland.