Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 2, 2013

New laws

Significant changes take effect this year in Md.

While the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland has grabbed attention throughout the state and across the nation, there are several other new state laws that took effect with the arrival of the new year.

Most significant may be the banning of arsenic in chicken feed. Maryland becomes the first state to impose the ban, which prohibits use of roxarsone or any other additive containing arsenic.

Identity theft involving children is addressed in another new law. For a fee, parents will be able to “freeze” their children’s credit record and prevent anyone from attempting to get credit under the child’s name. State officials have said that because children have “clean” credit histories, thieves sometimes try to obtain loans and credit cards using the child’s Social Security numbers.

Automobile insurers now face tighter regulations dealing with cancellation of a policy when payment by check of the first premium is not honored.

Now the insurer must send notice of its intent to rescind the policy before it can actually impose the cancellation.

Veterans are able to display their veteran status on a motor vehicle license under another new law. If a veteran requests it, the state Department of Veteran Affairs will provide documentation verifying a veterans’ status. That will enable to Motor Vehicle Administration to issue tags carrying the veteran status.

Last year, the state Motor Vehicle Administration announced the availability of five new license plates which display the logos of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Navy. The new license plates each have the logo of a specific branch of the U.S. military along with the word “Veteran” to the left of the plate name.  Also available are five service branch license plates for active duty military.  The cost is a one-time fee of $25 in addition to normal registration charges.

As for the same-sex marriage law, Maryland is one of three states to ratify the marriages. Court clerks across the state are now permitted to issue same-sex licenses and perform marriages. The law does not force religious institutions to carry out same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages became legal after the issue was approved on a state-wide ballot in November.

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