New laws in Maryland take effect on Sunday

WASHINGTON — Maryland will be the first state in the nation that could take action against pharmaceutical companies that gouge prices of “off-patent generic drugs.”

That is one of several laws that take effect on Sunday.

Here are some of these laws.

Essential Off-Patent or Generic Drugs — Price Gouging — Prohibition

The law prohibits a manufacturer or wholesale distributor from engaging in price gouging of an essential off-patent or generic drug. It authorizes the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to notify the Attorney General of an increase in price of the drugs.

Justice Reinvestment Act

The law requires a risk and needs assessment of inmates as soon as feasible after sentencing and a plan for rehabilitation while in custody. It authorizes expungement for convictions for specified misdemeanors after a number of years under specified conditions.

Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) Prohibition

This prohibits a person from engaging in fracking, a technique used to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gavel and chemicals, of a well for exploration or production of natural gas.

The law repeals a provision of law that requires the Department of Energy to adopt specified regulations.

Child Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

The new law extends the statute of limitation to sue from age 25 to age 38.

Conditional Release — Electronic Monitoring (Amber’s Law)

Named after Amber Schinault, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend against whom she had an order of protection, the law allows victims to request that a person be placed on electronic monitoring.

Ethics Reform

The law carefully defines “close economic association” and clarifies when an official should stay away from a business or entity, prohibiting them from using the prestige of office to award contracts.

Public School Employee Whistleblower Protection Act

One of the provisions of this new law protects public school employees who report that an employer has engaged in unlawful activity.

Marijuana Possession Expungement

The law reduces the amount of time to seek expungement of marijuana possession from their records.

Internet Sales — State Lottery Tickets

The law prohibits the state lottery from establishing a system or program that allows a person to purchase tickets through than electronic device that connects to the internet.

Collective Bargaining

Employees of the Maryland Environmental Service will have the ability to collectively bargain.

NBC Washington and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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