ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Although the Maryland General Assembly had their legislative session cut short due to the novel coronavirus striking back in mid-March, they still managed to pass along over 640 bills with the moved up sine die.

While an overwhelming majority of those bills will go into effect on Oct. 1, there are some that have been set to take effect starting July 1.

Here are some of the highlights:

St. Mary’s County – Repealing laws surrounding the Agricultural Land Preservation Program(HB90)

This bill repeals “certain provisions of law relating to the authority of the County Commissioners of St. Mary’s County to enter into certain installment purchase agreements and create debt to acquire certain development rights for agricultural or forestry land as part of the St. Mary’s County Agricultural Land Preservation Program…”

Law Enforcement Body Camera Task Force (HB739) 

This bill creates a task force which will present findings to the General Assembly, which will examine “study options for the economical storage of audio and video recordings made by law enforcement body-worn cameras and make recommendations for storage considering the budgets of State, county, local, and campus law enforcement jurisdictions.”

Many jurisdictions in Southern Maryland such as St. Mary’s and Calvert County already have body cameras on officers, however cost has been a major barrier to departments statewide not making similar leaps.

Higher Education – Nonresident Tuition Exemption for Military Personnel, Spouses, and Dependents (HB506)

This bills contain a number of provisions that will likely provide benefits within the higher education system. The bill “expands the conditions under which a spouse or financially dependent child of an active-duty service member of the U.S. Armed Forces is eligible for resident (i.e., in-state) tuition to also encompass a dependent who was accepted to attend a public institution of higher education when the member was stationed, residing, or domiciled in the State.”

According to the bill: “The Maryland Higher Education Commission advises that there were more than 4,900 spouses and dependent children of active-duty service members attending public four-year institutions of higher education in fall 2018.”

Alcoholic Beverage License for Barbershops and Beauty Salons in Anne Arundel County(SB361)

In Anne Arundel County, you may soon be able to have a cold one or a glass of wine while you get your hair cut or styled. As the bill states: “A license holder may provide up to 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine by the glass for on-premises consumption only while performing activities generally related to beauty salons or barbershops or while the customer is attending a fund-raising event at the barbershop or beauty salon.” There will be an annual fee on the license of $100.

Bay Restoration Fund – Authorized Uses(HB78)

This bill expands the criteria for how Bay Restoration Funds can be allocated. According to the bill’s summary, “the bill also specifies that the types of stormwater control measures that a local government can receive BRF funding for under current law (if the local government has implemented a system of charges to fully fund a stormwater management program) include stormwater measures relating to water quality, climate resiliency, or flood control.”

Wage Payment and Collection – Order to Pay Wages(SB119)

Any complaints about unpaid wages that is can be ordered of an employer by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry had its threshold raised from $3,000 to $5,000.

To see a full list of bills that made it through the Maryland General Assembly, click HERE.

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