Governor, Presiding Officers sign comprehensive sex offender reform and tough new gang law
Governor meets with Correctional Officers prior to signing Correctional Officers Bill of Rights
New Legislation Provides Added Protection to Maryland’s Parole Agents
Education Reform Act of 2010 improves Maryland’s #1 ranked public school system
ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 4, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., and House Speaker Michael E. Busch in signing tough new laws improving the public safety and protecting Maryland children from sexual predators. Today, legislation was signed into law instituting mandatory lifetime supervision for violent and repeat sexual offenders, increasing mandatory minimums for child predators, and updating the sex offender registry in Maryland.
“With my signature today, Maryland is moving forward with tough new laws to monitor and supervise sex offenders and increase mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders in our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “This comprehensive, tough and bipartisan legislation will help to ensure that every child in Maryland is protected.”
Governor O’Malley introduced legislation this session mandating lifetime supervision for violent and repeat sexual offenders, as well as legislation reconstituting and recharging the Sexual Offender Advisory Board, which will be chair by former Attorney General Joseph Curran. In addition, the Administration introduced legislation to make changes to Maryland’s sex offender registry system, coming into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act including increases to certain mandatory minimum sentences under Jessica’s Law.
“When we first took office four years ago, Governor O’Malley and I set ambitious goals to improve public safety and public education. During difficult economic times, we protected our investments and forged new partnerships that have reduced violent crime across the state and made our public schools the best in the country,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Together with the General Assembly, we built on the progress that we have made over the last four years and passed important legislation to keep moving Maryland forward.”
Building on the success of the 2009 legislative action to remove guns from the hands of domestic abusers, Governor O’Malley signed a bill today providing victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault with additional protections. HB1382, introduced by Delegate Cheryl Glenn, allows a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault to terminate a residential lease or request that their locks be changed with certain written notice, including a final protective or peace order. Lt. Governor Brown, the administration’s point person for domestic violence policy, worked with legislators and stakeholders to pass the bill.
In addition to tough new sex offender regulations, Governor O’Malley signed additional legislation to improve public safety and assist law enforcement. The State Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights establishes a defined set of rights for the employment, investigation and discipline of state correctional officers in Maryland. In the last fiscal year we drove down serious assaults against correctional staff to 50% of where they were in fiscal year 2006. The Safe Schools Act of 2010, sponsored by Speaker Busch, improves communication between law enforcement and school officials and addresses gang-related activity in school.
“This is the most comprehensive package of legislation to protect children in the past twenty years,” said Speaker Michael E. Busch. “Our children are our State’s most precious resource and, as the father of two daughters, I commend the Governor and the legislature for taking a tough stance against sex offenders and criminal gangs.”
“While our top priorities this session were to manage the state’s finances responsibly and to create and protect jobs, we also took critical steps to protect Maryland’s children and to keep neighborhoods across the State safe. Today we are signing some of the toughest laws in the nation against sexual predators,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. “This session we also gave prosecutors additional tools in their effort to protect communities in every county from the scourge of gang violence.”
In addition to public safety legislation, Governor O’Malley signed the Education Reform Act of 2010, which extends the probationary period of employment for public school teachers from two years to three and requires that student achievement data be used in educator evaluations. The Governor also signed into law an Administration-sponsored bill creating the Maryland Longitudinal Data System, a statewide system that contains individual-level student and workforce data allowing Maryland’s schools to trend student progress and curriculum based on workforce trends in our State.
In addition, Governor O’Malley signed the Higher Education Investment Fund, legislation the Governor introduced following four straight years of zero increases in tuition for in-state students. The bill will create a dedicated account within the Higher Education Investment Fund called the Tuition Stabilization Trust Account to help stabilize costs of in-state students and avoid the types of peaks and valleys in tuition costs volatile economic times can create.
In April, the Governor signed emergency legislation to strategically cut taxes for small businesses in Maryland that hire unemployed Marylanders. Last month, Governor O’Malley signed legislation to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in public health plans and improve quality of care throughout Maryland.