2014 General Assembly



March 20, 2014


Hello and Happy Spring to you. It's been a long time coming.


     March 17th saw a perfect storm of snow, Saint Patrick's Day and "Crossover" Day - the last day bills passed in one chamber can be sent to the other chamber without being referred to the Rules Committees. I am lead sponsor for the following legislative priorities that have now passed the House of Delegates:


HB286 - Criminal Law - Use of Handgun in Crime of Violence or Felony - Statute of Limitations


     I worked closely with Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks and other State's Attorneys to lift the one-year statute of limitations for this misdemeanor offense. It enables prosecutors to add the gun charge if evidence takes longer than a year to develop, keeping violent offenders off the street for that much longer.  


HB352 - Peace Orders and Protective Orders - Penalties - Second or Subsequent Offenses


     This bill removes the distinction between the two types of orders for purposes of repeat offenses of either type of order. As the intent of the two types of orders is the same - to keep one person safe from another who would do him or her harm - the closing of this semantic loophole only makes sense. This legislation is supported by the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, the Maryland Sheriff's Association and numerous other governmental and domestic violence advocacy groups.


HB957 - Impaired Driving - Repeat Offenders - Penalties


     Though it has been notoriously difficult in recent years to advance legislation dealing with the scourge of drinking and driving, my bill to increase the penalties for repeat offenders of certain drinking and drugged driving laws passed the House of Delegates unanimously on March 14th.  The Maryland State's Attorneys' Association and advocates for stricter drinking and driving laws strongly support this bill, which is a step toward ending the carnage on Maryland's highways.  


HB904 - Children, Youth and Family Services - Local Management Boards and State Spending 

                         - Information Collection and Report


     I drafted this legislation to get an accurate and organized picture of state spending for children, youth and families by Local Management Boards and various state entities for each local jurisdiction. I feel it will be valuable to have the data in one place, in the form of a resource guide, to accurately and efficiently assess outcomes for the great variety of state-funded programs, including grants, which seek to assist the children, youth, and families who most need services. This will benefit Prince George's County as well as other jurisdictions.


     I will continue to fight for these public safety, domestic violence and juvenile justice issues. My above legislative priorities must now pass the Senate before the session ends at midnight on April 7thTo follow the progress of the above mentioned legislation, as well as the budget we will be working on next week, please click here.

      It is crunch time in Annapolis - I will be sending out my end of session letter in a couple of weeks with an update on the status of both my legislation and other important issues that we have been working on. Let's hope that we get some well-deserved sun and warmth by that time.       




Geraldine Valentino-Smith

Delegate, Maryland General Assembly

District 23A


 By Authority of Friends for Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Elizabeth Ryan, Treasurer


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