New Laws Take Effect in Maryland on July 1


New laws taking effect in Maryland include steps to provide funding for Planned Parenthood to mitigate potential federal cuts and require schools to teach about the dangers of opioid addiction.

A state tax break for emergency services personnel also is going into effect, along with measures aimed at protecting bees and opening the nation’s only Guinness brewery.

Here’s a look at new laws taking effect on July 1:

Planned Parenthood

Maryland’s legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, was the first in the country to pass legislation this year to backfill potential federal cuts to Planned Parenthood. Supporters say it will help protect access to preventative care services for nearly 25,000 Planned Parenthood patients at nine health centers in the state, if the federal government cuts funding.

It directs $2 million from Maryland’s Medicaid budget and $700,000 from the state’s general fund to family planning services. The legislature passed the bill with enough votes to override a veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, and the bill became law without his signature.

Taxpayer Protection

Safeguards aimed at protecting Maryland taxpayers from tax fraud and identity theft take effect. The law strengthens the ability of the comptroller’s office to stop tax fraud, protect taxpayer information and hold fraudulent filers and tax preparers accountable.

The law gives added responsibilities to the Field Enforcement Division of the Comptroller’s Office to investigate potential tax fraud. It also allows the agency to seek injunctions against tax preparers suspected of fraudulent and criminal practices.

Opioid Education

The Start Talking Maryland Act requires Maryland schools to have specific education programs on opioid addiction.

It requires public schools to include the dangers of heroin and opioids in drug education starting as early as third grade and into college. It also requires public schools to have naloxone, which can reverse opioid overdoses. Schools also are required to have staff trained to use naloxone.

Hometown Heroes

A state tax break is going into effect on retirement income of law enforcement, fire, rescue or emergency services personnel who are 55 or older. The law exempts the first $15,000 of retirement income from state taxes.

Minimum Wage

Maryland’s minimum wage will increase from $8.75 to $9.25, part of incremental increases approved in 2014 to take place over several years.