Traffic Ticket Legislation Amended, Advances in Senate

SB 560, legislation sponsored by Senator Jennie Forehand to modernize Maryland’s system for traffic citations, has been amended and granted initial approval by the Senate. This follows days of delay as the bill was held, pending potential amendments. MACo has joined with the Maryland Sheriffs Association and the Maryland Chiefs of Police in supporting the bill — arguing that current law providing a court date for ticket recipients who don’t request one (a process apparently unique to Maryland) means many law enforcement officers spending undue time in court (waiting for no-shows) and keeps them from performing their more essential duties.

The amendment added on the floor of the Senate, offered by Senator Bobby Zirkin, includes several provisions — summarized by the new language added to the bill’s “title” (a short description of the bill’s effects):

requiring the notice to include a certain statement of the possible consequences if the person fails to comply within a certain time period; authorizing the District Court or circuit court to issue a warrant or provide a certain notice to the Motor Vehicle Administration if a person fails to comply with certain notices; providing that a warrant may not be issued for a certain noncompliance until after the expiration of certain time periods

MACo has supported giving drivers reasonable notice of their rights and duties when ticketed, and has not raised conceptual concerns with the amendment language.

Following the short debate over the amendment, the bill passed its “second reading” (the stage where the full Senate may offer amendments prior to a final vote) and will likely be brought up for its “third reading” vote later this week.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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