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For Immediate Release

Contact: Meg Butler (410) 841-3683

May 13, 2019

 

Laura & Reid’s Law Signed by Governor Hogan

Legislation Protects Expectant Mothers

 

Annapolis – Today, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law, Senate Bill 561, Laura & Reid’s Law, sponsored by Senator Justin Ready, (R-District 5). With the passage of Laura & Reid’s Law, a crime of violence against a woman the perpetrator knows or believes is pregnant will be able to be charge with an additional felony and a jail sentence of up to 10 years in addition to any other sentence imposed for the underlying crime. “I’m grateful for Governor Hogan’s support and signature on this critically important legislation that takes a big step in protecting pregnant women,” said Senator Ready.

"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. Even worse, pregnancy-associated homicide in Maryland is 10 times the national average. This added penalty will give prosecutors stronger tools to go after abusers and protect pregnant victims,” Ready continued.

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.

"Laura & Reid's Law offers the access to justice for women and their families previously unavailable,” concluded Senator Ready,  “I want to again thank my colleagues in the Senate and House – particularly, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee chair, Bobby Zirkin and House Judiciary chair Luke Clippinger, as well as Governor Hogan, for helping to ensure women will 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

Senator Ready was also pleased that SB 228, Pretrial Release Restrictions for Sex Offenders was signed into law today. SB 228 makes a small but important clarification in the language governing the pretrial release of a criminal defendant. Current law didn’t allow a court commissioner to order the with-out bail holding of a person who was “required to register” as a sex offender but had not, currently the law said only “registered”. A small change to the law makes a substantial difference. A commissioner will now be able to hold defendants that could have used the wording to their advantage.