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For Immediate Release

Contact: Meg Butler (410) 841-3683

April 9, 2019

 

Laura & Reid’s Law Overwhelmingly Passes General Assembly on Final Day  Legislation Protects Expectant Mothers

 

Annapolis – Last night, a few minutes before the 2019 Session ended, Senate Bill 561, Laura & Reid’s Law, sponsored by Senator Justin Ready, (R-District 5), passed the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates unanimously.   As amended, SB 561 makes a crime of violence against a woman the perpetrator knows or believes is pregnant an additional felony with a jail sentence of up to 10 years in addition to any other sentence imposed for the underlying crime.

Laura Wallen was a beloved teacher from Howard County who was murdered by her boyfriend, Tyler Tessier’s. Tessier was charged with first degree murder for Laura’s death, but since Reid was only 14 weeks in development and not yet viable outside the womb, the State’s Attorney was unable to charge him with Reid’s murder or any other crime associated with his loss.

"As I worked with the Wallen Family, I learned that nationally one in ten pregnant women will experience physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. Homicide is the leading cause of pregnancy associated-death and African-American women younger than 25 years of age are most affected. Even worse, pregnancy-associated homicide in Maryland is 10 times the national average. I introduced SB 561 to give greater protection to these women,” Ready continued.

"Laura & Reid's Law offers the access to justice for women and their families previously unavailable,” concluded Senator Ready,  “I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and House – particularly, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee chair, Bobby Zirkin and House Judiciary chair Luke Clippinger for all they did to ensure women would be able to receive additional protection,”  concluded Senator Ready

For more information and updates on this legislation, please visit https://www.facebook.com/LauraAndReidsLaw/?ref=settings