Counties have retained the authority to prohibit cash-for-phone machines in a bill voted favorably out of the House. HB 918 sets a state-wide licensing and regulation scheme for Automated Purchasing Machines (APMs).
As previously reported on Conduit Street, these unstaffed kiosks allow customers to insert phones or other electronics and receive cash on site. They are currently banned in both Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Citing the need for local governments to respond to public safety and theft concerns, MACo sought to preserve the right for other counties to ban the machines should they become an issue in the future. APMs operating in counties without a ban would have to comply with the state-established regulatory scheme.
While the companion Senate bill has not received a vote, MACo has received indications from Senate leaders that the Senate will support and pass HB 918 with the MACo amendments. The bill is scheduled to be heard March 27 in the Senate Finance Committee.