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Md. House, Senate OK police surveillance bills

March 27, 2009

ANNAPOLIS (AP) -- Maryland lawmakers have approved legislation designed to prevent authorities from violating First Amendment rights with covert police surveillance.

The House of Delegates and Senate approved similar bills on Friday.

Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, D-Baltimore, says the minor differences between the measures should be easily resolvable.

The legislation was put forward in response to Maryland State Police surveillance that resulted in dozens of people wrongly being described as terrorists in a police database.

Police used the surveillance on opponents of capital punishment and the war in Iraq for 14 months in 2005 and 2006. Members of a group that advocates for domestic partner laws and the environmental group Chesapeake Climate Action Network also ended up in the database.

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On the Net:

o Read House Bill 311: http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/billfile/HB0311.htm

o Read Senate Bill 266: http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/billfile/SB0266.htm

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