As we kick off a new year, several new laws are going into effect in Maryland. One of which could save your life.
The Maryland Smoke Alarm law, passed in 2013, goes into effect January 1, 2018. It requires homeowners replace older smoke alarms with new tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium ion battery smoke alarms. The longer lasting lithium ion battery is sealed into the device, so you can't take it out while cooking or to use the battery elsewhere.
If you don't replace the detector, and fire officials or code enforcement finds out, you would have five days to replace it, or get fined up to $1,000. The new smoke alarms cost about twice as much as the old ones.
Another law taking effect Monday, the Contraceptive Equity Act. It requires insurance companies to provide most forms of contraception, including vasectomies, with no out-of-pocket costs. Insurers also have to pay for over-the-counter birth control, such as the morning-after pill.
One other new law now in effect, the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort or "HOPE" and Treatment act of 2017. It requests $2 million in additional funding for grants to support drug court programs and requires the Behavioral Health Administration to establish at least one crisis treatment center by June.