ANNAPOLIS — Senator Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, has proposed a “Yellow Alert” system to help police catch drivers who flee the scene of an injurious or fatal collision.
“In my district alone, we’ve had five hit-and-run fatalities in the last two years,” Simonaire said. “It’s devastated our community — and all five remain unsolved.”
The Yellow Alerts would reach the public through the Emergency Alert System in the same way as AMBER Alerts (child abductions), Silver Alerts (missing persons older than 60 with cognitive impairments) and Blue Alerts (a missing offender who injured or killed a law enforcement officer).
Hit-and-run incidents have killed 96 people in Maryland since 2010.
“If you don’t get the suspect in probably the first couple hours, you’re probably not going to get them,” Simonaire said.
Simonaire is also scheduled to present a bill that would increase the maximum prison sentence for failure to remain at the scene of an injurious or fatal collision, from 10 years to 15.
“It’s over 18,000 hit-and-run cases a year” statewide, he said. “I think we have an epidemic in the fact that people don’t realize they should stay at the scene of the crime.”
Legislators Aim to Protect Dogs from Extreme Weather
Senator Ronald Young, D-Frederick, is fighting animal cruelty with a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to leave a dog restrained and unattended outside in dangerous weather.
Young’s bill would prohibit a dog’s owner from leaving it tethered or chained outdoors during a snow emergency called by state police, or when it is 32 degrees or colder outside for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, Delegate Dana Stein, D-Baltimore County, is sponsoring a similar bill that would make it illegal to restrain a dog outside for longer than 15 minutes during a National Weather Service hazardous weather warning, or for longer than an hour when the temperature is 32 degrees or colder, or 100 degrees or hotter. Delegate Karen Lewis Young, D-Frederick, Ronald Young’s wife, is a co-sponsor.
“We have three rescue dogs,” Ronald Young said. “I think one of ‘em was tied up like that.”
He is scheduled to present his bill to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday.
“Just that a dog can’t be left out in extreme temperatures without someplace to go to get out of the weather, out of the heat, out of the snow or whatever,” Ronald Young said. “Some people put ‘em on a chain and tie ‘em to a tree and forget ‘em.”
Young said he also wants a statewide animal abuser registry, which would prevent convicted abusers from buying or adopting pets.
New Senators Sworn In
Justin D. Ready, R-Carroll, and Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, were sworn in to their new positions as state senators.
They were both formerly in the House of Delegates and moved across the hall to fill the vacancies of Republicans Joseph M. Getty and Christopher B. Shank, respectively. Getty and Shank joined Gov. Larry Hogan’s cabinet.
–CNS correspondent Anjali Shastry contributed to this report.