Health and Criminal Justice Laws Taking Effect in Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Health and Criminal Justice Laws Taking Effect in Maryland

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- New laws to protect public health and strengthen criminal justice are taking effect in Maryland this week.           

The state is raising the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, including electronic smoking devices. Maryland also is changing the definition of a tobacco product to include electronic smoking, known as vaping.           

The vaping industry has come under increased scrutiny after several hundred people around the country have fallen ill after vaping, and some have died. There also has been a surge in underage vaping.           

Active-duty military members will still be able to buy tobacco products at the age of 18, under the Maryland law, if they present a valid military ID.           

People under the age of 18 will not be able to use any tanning devices in the state, including sunlamps, tanning boots or tanning beds. Operators of tanning facilities will be required to verify the age of anyone using a tanning device.           

Supporters of raising the age say the use of tanning devices increases the risk of skin cancer.           

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that indoor tanning causes more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the nation each year.           

Here's a look at some of the other new laws taking effect:           

CLEAN ENERGY           

Maryland is raising its renewable energy standard goals to 50 percent by 2030. The law allows subsidies for producers of renewable energy.           

CYBERBULLYING           

Lawmakers updated Maryland's 2013 law against cyberbullying minors to strengthen the law. The new law makes it an offense to send out messages online to a broad audience, instead of only directly against the minor. It also makes cyberbullying with the intent to induce a minor to commit suicide a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.           

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY           

Maryland is criminalizing the display of sexually-exploited children and digitally-generated images that are indistinguishable from real photos. The law aligns with federal standards regarding the display of lascivious images of children.           

BUMP STOCKS           

A law approved last year to ban bump stocks, which can increase a semi-automatic rifle's firing rate, takes effect.           

GUNS-NO LOANS           

A new law aims to close a loophole that has made it difficult to enforce illegal gun transfers. Previously, the law didn't define what qualifies as a "transfer" of a gun, and courts accepted the argument that the former law does not apply to a loan.           

OVERTURNING CONVICTIONS           

Prosecutors will be able to overturn convictions found to be tainted, under law prompted by difficulties prosecutors experienced in the aftermath of the Gun Trace Task Force police corruption scandal in Baltimore and policy changes regarding marijuana possession.           

MUDER FOR HIRE           

Prosecutors will be able to charge a person who solicits or conspires with another to commit first-degree murder to be charged with a felony, and the statute of limitations of three years will be removed.           

PREGNANT VIOLENCE           

A person who commits a violent crime against a woman the offender knows is pregnant can face an additional felony with an added 10 years to a prison sentence.           

PELVIC EXAMS-CONSENT           

Health care practitioners and medical students won't be able to conduct a pelvic, prostate or rectal exam while a patient is under anesthesia without explicit consent from the patient.           

HATE CRIMES           

Maryland is making it illegal to threaten to commit a hate crime.           

LAB TESTING-ADVERTISING           

A Maryland law that prohibited advertising diagnostic laboratory tests has been changed to allow it for screening, diagnosing or treating a physical or mental condition and for ancestry testing, with certain limitations.           

DRIVER'S LICENCES           

State residents will be able to choose "X'' for their gender on driver's licenses for people who are transgender or don't identify strictly as male or female.

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