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School Terms & Smoking Legislation in Annapolis

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(AP) The Maryland General Assembly has given final approval to a measure to let local school boards decide when school starts.

A final vote by the Senate on Monday sends the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan, who has opposed the bill. The House and Senate passed the measure with enough votes to override a veto by the governor.

Hogan signed an executive order in 2016 to require schools to start after Labor Day.

Supporters of the governor say longer summer breaks give families more time together, but critics say it shortchanges education. Others say different jurisdictions have different calendar demands.

Sexual Abuse

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(AP) The Maryland House of Delegates has passed a bill to end the statute of limitation for when victims of child sexual abuse can file lawsuits.

The House approved the measure 136-2 Monday. It now goes to the Senate.

The measure would change the current law, which says people who say they were victims of abuse as a minor have until they reach 38 years of age to file a lawsuit against their alleged perpetrators. The measure also would allow anyone who was prevented from suing due to age an additional two years to file a lawsuit.

Separately, the House also passed a measure to require background checks anytime someone buys a rifle or shotgun. Supporters say Maryland law now has a loophole that enables private sales of long guns without background checks.

Smoking & Vaping

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Maryland lawmakers are looking at raising the age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21 from the current 18.

In addition, another measure would ban certain vaping packaging aimed at minors.

The Capital News Service reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers tried smoking by the age of 18.

Delegate Dereck Davis said that his bill is aimed at keeping minors from trying cigarettes before the legal age.

Meanwhile, the measure by Delegate Ned Carey would require such products be child-safe and tamper-evident in their packaging.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.