Md. lawmakers hear bills on police body cameras, marijuana use in cars

A general view of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md., Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON — Maryland lawmakers are hearing bills that propose ways of dealing with privacy in police body camera footage and marijuana use in vehicles.

Police body camera footage

A bill in the House of Delegates would require police departments to come up with a way of blurring or redacting footage to preserve the privacy of people in footage taken by police body-worn cameras if and when that footage is released to the public.

Maryland Delegate David Moon says the intent of the House Bill 462 is to strike a balance between the need for transparency when public information requests are made to release footage and the privacy of those people who may appear in that footage.

Not all police departments make use of the body camera technology, and for those who do, there can be additional costs associated with the software to blur or redact camera footage according to legislative analysis.

Marijuana use in cars

Maryland House Bill 350 would make it illegal for a driver or a passenger to use marijuana while driving or in a vehicle on Maryland roadways. Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith’s bill would make it a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500 dollars.

Valentino-Smith is submitting the bill for a second time — a similar measure passed the House of Delegates in 2017 but did not get out of the Senate.

The bill is being proposed as lawmakers look at legalizing marijuana for recreational use. A Goucher Poll released on Monday, Feb. 18 showed that 57 percent of those polled support allowing recreational use.

Both bills are being heard before the House Judiciary Committee in Annapolis.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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