Senate committee votes to make stalking a crime


A Senate committee approved a bill yesterday that would make stalking a crime.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee approved the bill unanimously, voting for an amended version that incorporates aspects of several similar bills.

Under the proposed legislation, certain forms of harassment -- written or verbal threats, following another person -- could be classified as a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Most of the bills submitted by senators had sought lesser penalties for first-time offenses.

Currently, the only protection in Maryland from a pattern of threatening behavior is the state's harassment law, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $500 and 30 days in jail.

Police jurisdiction:

Police jurisdiction: Schaefer administration measures to give state and federal law enforcement officers more authority to cross jurisdictional lines received unanimous approval in the House of Delegates yesterday, virtually assuring their passage by the General Assembly.

Nearly identical measures passed the Senate last month, also unanimously.

The bills are designed to permit closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies and promote better use of limited police resources at a time when many police budgets are being reduced.

The House version of the bills would allow officers and federal agents to exercise arrest powers outside their jurisdictions with immunity as long as they are part of a joint task force or investigation, or working at the request of a police officer.

The Senate versions go a step further, also authorizing such actions in emergency situations.

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