New laws go into effect Tuesday in Md., Va.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A ban on grain alcohol sales and new laws aimed at helping victims of crime and their family members are taking effect in Maryland.

The new laws go on the books Tuesday.

Maryland is banning the sale of alcohol that is 190-proof and stronger. The law had strong backing from leaders of colleges, who said grain alcohol provides a cheap way for students to get drunk quickly.

Another new law requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to establish and expand programs for family members of homicide victims. The state budget includes $500,000 for a grant program to help them.

A new law will enable victims of crime to receive faster information about court cases through email. Previously, those notices came by mail through the U.S. Postal Service.


RICHMOND, Va. — A host of new Virginia state laws goes into effect Tuesday, including new rules affecting hunting on Sundays and treatment for the mentally ill.

Legislation passed earlier this year by the General Assembly and signed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe becomes law on July 1.

Under the new laws, hunters can now hunt on Sunday, which Virginia law had previously deemed a day of rest for wild birds and animals.

Another new law reduces the number of standardized tests middle and elementary school students have to take.

Also, a series of measures aimed at improving the state’s emergency treatment of the mentally ill goes into effect. The laws were passed in the wake the suicide of Sen. R. Creigh Deeds’ son.

Starting Tuesday, “A new set of emergency custody and temporary detention statues go into effect,” said Jim Martinez, director of the Office of Mental Health at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

The first change deals with emergency custody orders, which are issued when someone convinces a court to take in a loved one who might hurt themselves or others.

Deeds’ 24-year-old son attacked the lawmaker and killed himself hours after being released from a hospital because a bed at a mental illness facility couldn’t be found.

The change will increase the maximum duration of an emergency custody order from six to eight hours.

After eight hours, if a temporary detention facility is called for but isn’t found, “The DBHDS-operated state hospital will be the temporary detention facility, used for those cases.” The state hospital will have another four hours to find a mental illness facility close to the patient’s home.

A temporary detention facility comes into the picture after a mental illness professional asks the court to treat someone involuntarily because they fear that person may hurt themselves or others.

The duration of temporary detention orders has been increased from 48 hours to 72.

The Associated Press and WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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