Governor Larry Hogan Signs Protecting Victims Of Sex Trafficking Act Of 2017

April 19, 2017

Signs Hometown Heroes Legislation, Additional Bills to Protect Rape Victims, Aid Veterans and First Responders

Governor Larry Hogan, along with Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and Speaker of the House Mike Busch, today signed 211 bills into law during the second signing ceremony in the State House following the conclusion of the 2017 session of the Maryland General Assembly. Bills signed included the administration’s Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (SB 308/HB 632), Hometown Heroes legislation (SB 597/HB 100), additional criminal justice and victims’ rights measures, and bills to provide tax relief and support for veterans and first responders.

The governor proposed the Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 as part of the administration’s Justice for Victims Initiative during the 2017 legislative session. This legislation further defines sexual abuse to include sex trafficking, regardless of whether the sexual abuse was committed by a parent or any other person who has responsibility for supervision of a child, thereby giving authorities the ability to more effectively prosecute sex traffickers. The bill was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.

“Making Maryland safer begins with making sure that we have a criminal justice system that holds offenders accountable for their actions and the harm they cause, while also supporting victims and the community in the process of healing,” said Governor Hogan. “We are extremely proud to have worked with our partners in the legislature to pass these important measures to protect our most vulnerable Marylanders and bring criminals to justice.”

Additional bills to protect victims of crime and ensure that those who perpetrate sexual assaults and other crimes are held accountable signed today include: Children in Need of Assistance – Sex Trafficking (SB912/HB1219), Criminal Procedure – Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights – Disposal Of Rape Kit Evidence And Notification (SB349/HB255), Criminal Law – Sexual Offenses – Physical Resistance (SB217/HB429), Criminal Law – Sexual Offenses – Classification (SB944/HB647), and Criminal Law – Homicide By Motor Vehicle Or Vessel While Impaired By Controlled Dangerous Substance – Penalties (SB229/HB635).

Governor Hogan again proposed the Hometown Heroes Act this session to exempt retired law enforcement, fire, rescue, and emergency response personnel from state taxes on retirement income. Both houses of the legislature unanimously passed legislation drafted by Delegate Sheila Hixson and sponsored in the Senate by Senator Guy Guzzone that enacts a portion of the governor’s proposal. The bill allows retired first responders 55 years old or older to exempt the first $15,000 of retirement income from state taxes.

“After more than a decade of hard work by advocates and members of the legislature, we are so proud to finally provide this important tax relief to those who have put their lives on the line for us,” said Governor Hogan.

Additional bills to benefit veterans and first responders signed today include: The Hire Our Veterans Act of 2017 (SB807/HB349), Income Tax – Subtraction Modification – Police Auxiliaries And Reserve Volunteers (HB822), Property Tax Credit – Disabled Or Fallen Law Enforcement Officers And Rescue Workers – Alterations (SB282/HB231), and Property Tax – Credit For Retired Military Service Members – Eligibility (HB1234).

The governor and the presiding officers also signed legislation to prevent animal cruelty, as well as numerous departmental and local bills, during the signing ceremony. To see a full list of the 211 bills signed, click here.