Expiring Laws Have Troubling Consequences

New laws often change the legal landscape, indeed, in most cases that is the intent. However, as laws are often written with lifespans instead of being open-ended, sometimes the permitted fading of a law can have even greater impact on legal affairs. Two laws in Maryland are expiring this year and they have some people worried.

One law stipulated that law enforcement departments needed to record, store, and report racial indicators of individuals pulled over for traffic violations. The expiration of this law essentially removes the statistical oversight of the intersection of race and traffic stops. The second expiring law required agencies to report data on their Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) deployments to the state.

The Maryland ACLU has spoken out against the lapse of these laws seeing them as important “watchdog” steps in proactively avoiding troubling, and sometimes abusive, trends in law enforcement.

The expiration of these laws appears to have occurred simply out of a lack of awareness that they were nearing the end of their lifespan. State legislators already have planes to reintroduce legislation to restore the laws.

Source: The Baltimore Sun