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Some New Laws Will Save Lives, Honor Fallen Military Heroes

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on September 26, 2005:

Senator Dyson It took a lot of perseverance, but Marylandís newly licensed drivers and all of those who share the road with them will be a lot safer come October 1, 2005 when a bill I have sponsored for 10 years, Senate Bill 57, goes into effect. Beginning October 1, newly licensed teen drivers can only transport themselves for the first four months after they receive their provisional driverís license. This law has been proven to save countless lives in the majority of the states in the country and will do so in Maryland.

As I have said many times, but it bears repeating, new teen drivers do not need the distraction of having another passenger or more in their car when they are first learning to drive on their own. Just the other day, I noticed four teens in a car ahead of me in the left lane. They were laughing, swaying their hands in the air to what I assume was loud music and several times, the car veered off into the right lane as this ďparty bargeĒ roared down Route 235. Let me also add that they were going well over the speed limit. This image reinforced to me why October 1 is such an important day.

But that is not the only law that will improve teen drivers that I strongly supported. Senate Bill 50 that also becomes effective October 1. Teens under the age of 18 who hold a learnerís permit or a provisional drivers license will no longer be able to use their cell phones or any other wireless devices. The only time teens under the age of 18 can use their cells are when they are in danger and have to call for help.

Both of these laws had bi-partisan support including the governorís during the 2005 General Assembly Session and passed overwhelmingly.

Another bill that I was pleased to co-sponsor was a bill to honor our fallen military heroes. It also goes into effect on Oct. 1. This bill, Senate Bill 823 requires the Secretary of State to issue a State flag to the family of a member of the military when the member is killed in the performance of duty.

This bill also requires the flag to be presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs when the deceased is a member of the military. The bill also states that the Secretary of Stateís office is to issue a state flag to the family of a firefighter, policeman or sworn member of the office of the State Fire Marshal who is killed in the performance of duty and the state Senator from their district is to present it to their surviving family.

This is the least we can do for our brave soldiers fighting for our freedoms overseas and the firefighters and policemen and woman who protect us abroad as well as for the families who grieve their loss..

A strong law and order bill that I was pleased to co-sponsor also goes into effect on Oct. 1. This law, Senate Bill 107 protects our minors against sexual predators. The bi-partisan bill will not let judges give probation before judgment -- letting them off with a slap on their hands-- if one of the following crimes involves a person under the age of 16: first degree attempted rape; second degree attempted rape; first degree attempted sexual offense; second degree attempted sexual offense; continuing rape or sexual abuse of a child or sexual abuse of a minor.

I expect even harsher bills to be introduced in the 2006 General Assembly that will come down hard on convicted sexual offenders. I will either sponsor or co-sponsor these measures. People who have committed these crimes are the lowest forms of humanity and we need a better system to keep them accountable for their actions. Senate Bill 107 is a starting point, but by no means the end of this issue.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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