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Glendening signs four new bills into law

April 26, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Parris Glendening signed into law Thursday tougher sex offender penalties aimed at preventing incidents like the one that ended in the death of a 9-year-old Frederick boy.

Under the new law, repeat violent sex offenders can be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, sponsored the law in memory of Christopher Ausherman, who was sexually assaulted and strangled by Elmer Spencer Jr. in November 2000. Spencer was released from prison five days before he killed the boy.

"For me this is a wonderful victory. It's taken me several years to get the General Assembly to recognize that we had serious problems in how we deal with repeat violent sexual offenders," Hecht said.

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Hecht was joined at the bill-signing ceremony by Christopher's mother, Mary Voit.

Also on Thursday, Glendening signed into law legislation to:

- Make sure the proposed sale of CareFirst to a for-profit company, if it happens, is done in the public interest.

- Increase the annual salary from $20,000 to $30,000 for the five Washington County Commissioners elected in November. The next commission president will make $33,000.

- Make it a crime for an inmate to harass correctional officers by lewdly exposing themselves. Indecent exposure previously was not a crime in prison because it's considered private space.

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