Busy Times In Annapolis As Legislators Try To Get Their Bills Passed

Crossover Day is coming on Monday

Delegate Jesse Pippy (Photo from Md. General Assembly)

Annapolis, Md (KM) With weeks to go before the Maryland General Assembly adjourns for the year, it’s starting to get busy at the State House in Annapolis, according to Frederick County Delegate Jesse Pippy. He says Crossover Day is this coming Monday, March 18th. That ‘s when any bill to have a chance of becoming law must pass either the House of Delegates or the Senate, and “cross over’ to the opposite chamber. “There’s kind of a mad  rush in the week leading up to crossover which is what we’re in now,” he says.

Pippy says one bill that has passed the House would allow children who are victims of sexual abuse to testify remotely in court against their accusers. They would not have to be in the court room. “When an abused child has to face their abuser in court, in many times they won’t testify. And what happens is these predators get off Scott free,” he says. “This is tool that’s been upheld by the Supreme Court that enables an abused child to testify remotely in certain cases when having to face their abusers.”

Another bill would deal with visual surveillance for prurient intent. Pippy says under Maryland law, producing child pornography is a crime with penalties. “But there’s a loophole in which if you placed cameras in like let’s say a public dressing room, and it happened to pick up inappropriate images, that would not actually be considered a production of child pornography and it’s a very minor thing,’ he says.

Pippy says this law would tighten up that loophole. “What our legislation does is that it  increases the penalties to make sure that we’re not giving these predators any loopholes,” he says.

The other sponsors of this bill are Delegates Chris Bouchat, Karen Simpson and Chris Tomlinson.

A bill covering artificial intelligence is making progress. “So that deals with individuals taking your likeness and then placing that on a fake image, whether it’s for revenge porn or a deep fake,” says Pippy. He says it has passed a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, and is expected to be taken up by the full committee this week.

The 2024 Maryland General Assembly Adjourns for the year on Monday, April 8th at midnight.

By Kevin McManus