UPDATE on Maryland SB160

A hearing was held on Senate Bill 160 (with the Senate amendment) in the House Judiciary Committee on March 27, 2013.  SB160, if passed, would reverse the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling finding pit bulls “inherently dangerous.”  
Yesterday’s hearing was a little contentious as Delegate Simmons and Senator Frosh debated the liability language in the bill.  You can listen to the webcast of the hearing here.  At issue between the two Chambers is an amendment related the burden of proof required when a pet bites someone:
  • The House version of the bill makes it easier for dog owners to argue they had no reason to believe their animal presented a danger.
  • The Senate’s version requires a higher standard of proof – the owner must have clear and convincing evidence. 
Ultimately, the Judiciary Committee voted to pass the bill yesterday after the hearing, but it was stripped of the Senate’s amendments.
The bill now goes to the full House for a vote.  It will then make one more trip to the Senate, where it is likely to meet resistance due to the removal of the Senate’s amendment.
At this point, hopes are high that a conference committee will be appointed, and the members can work out a compromise on this very important bill.

Previous alerts for Maryland SB160 and HB78




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