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New Maryland laws start today

July 01, 2006

Laws governing stem cell research, property taxes and reimbursement for trauma physicians are among those going into effect today in Maryland. A few apply specifically to Washington County.

A sample of the new laws:

State-funded stem-cell research must consider ethical and medical implications; research leading to human cloning is limited; a stem-cell research fund has been created.

Certain facilities cannot emit more than specified amounts per year of oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and mercury.

The State Prescription Drug Benefit Plan's co-payment is limited to a $20 charge for enrollees for a 90-day prescription filled through the voluntary mail-order option.

The gross-income requirement for property tax agricultural-use assessments has been altered for land less than 20 acres; the director of assessments and taxation may waive valuation and assessment requirements for property owners who are at least 70 years old or disabled.

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The definition of "new permanent full-time position" has been changed in Washington County for property tax and state tax credits for business entities that build or expand premises.

A portion of nonresidential construction of additions has been exempted from Washington County's building excise tax.

Community colleges no longer eligible for funding because of their size will receive a certain percentage of funding for a specified number of fiscal years.

The computation of state aid for community colleges will change starting in fiscal year 2008.

Dietary, maintenance and supply officers will be part of the Correctional Officers' Retirement System.

The earnings limitation is exempted for retirees of the Correctional Officers' Retirement System who are re-employed as correctional officers.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is required to establish and administer a grant program for supplemental services and supports for community college students with disabilities.

The reimbursement rate will increase for level II and level III trauma centers keeping trauma physicians on call.

- Andrew Schotz

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