New Maryland Laws Ring in the New Year

Several new laws take effect on New Year's Day in Maryland. One involves traffic tickets.

Starting Jan. 1, drivers will have to pick their own trial date if they want to fight a citation. Under the old law, those dates were assigned by the courts automatically.

Also starting Monday, Maryland drivers who want to renew their tags in person will not be able to do so at a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) counter.  They'll be directed to a self-service kiosk instead. Officials said the goal is to cut wait times at MVA offices.

In Montgomery County, the so-called "equal benefits" bill becomes law on New Year’s Day. The measure extends benefits to same-sex domestic partners of contractors and sub-contractors who perform work for the county.

A new green law also takes effect. Starting Saturday, power suppliers that sell electricity in Maryland will have to buy more energy from solar sources. The state wants to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022.
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