AG Gansler: Lawmakers Pass Important Protections for Maryland Families
Key wins include marriage equality, energy conservation, arsenic ban, expanded Internet protections and ID theft safeguards for children and parents
Annapolis, MD (April 10, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler thanked members of the Maryland General Assembly today for approving key legislation during the 2012 legislative session that will help protect the civil rights, environmental health, credit history and personal safety of thousands of Maryland families for years to come.
“I am very grateful that so many priority bills important to our work protecting Marylanders and promoting a better, more equitable community received favorable consideration from our elected representatives,” said Attorney General Gansler. “These initiatives will serve the people of Maryland well as we move towards a more prosperous and environmentally conscious future.”
Attorney General Gansler’s legislative priorities:
- Marriage Equality: (HB438, SB241) Amending State law to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples while protecting the religious free exercise of religious institutions. Lead sponsors: Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch (by request of Gov. Martin O’Malley)
- Championing Energy Conservation: (HB940, SB869) Preserving the environment and supporting the hospitality industry by saving energy and money, this law requires hotels built after October 1, 2012 to equip each room with a keycard or sensor device that will automatically shut off the lights within 30 minutes of the room being vacated. The device may also be configured to adjust the temperature in the room once it has been vacated for more than 30 minutes. Lead sponsors: Senator Joan Carter Conway and Delegate Dana Stein
- Arsenic Ban in Chicken Feed: (HB167, SB207) Maryland becomes the first state in the nation to ban arsenic additives, such as roxarsone, in chicken feed, which can be harmful to public health and the environment. Attorney General Gansler has been working on this issue at the state and federal levels since 2007. Lead sponsors: Senator Paul Pinsky and Delegate Tom Hucker
- Protections from Internet Harassment: (HB8, SB175) This legislation, which was signed into law Tuesday morning, broadens current state law that protects children and adults from harassment to include text messaging, social media and other forms of electronic communication. Lead sponsors: Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Mary Washington.
- Safeguarding Children from Identity Theft: (HB555, SB295) This law helps prevent children from becoming victims of identity theft by allowing parents to place a preemptive freeze on their children’s credit reports (Legal guardians also are provided with the right to have a freeze placed on the credit histories of those in their care.). This prevents identity thieves from opening credit or other accounts in the child’s name. Lead sponsors: Senator John Astle and Delegate Craig Zucker
Attorney General Gansler thanked OAG staff who worked diligently during the legislative session to help pass these and other important initiatives: Director of Legislative Affairs Kisha A. Brown, Consumer Protection Division Deputy Chief Steve Sakamoto-Wengel, Special Assistant for the Environment Erin M. Fitzsimmons and Health Education and Advocacy Unit Deputy Director Meredith L. Borden. He also recognized the tireless efforts of Daniel A. Friedman, Counsel to the General Assembly, and his team, Assistant Attorneys General Sandra B. Brantley, Bonnie A. Kirkland and Kathryn M. Rowe