A bill to increase the penalties for those convicted of flashing laser points at an aircraft in Maryland is headed to the state senate after passing the House of Delegates.
The bill calls for possible jail sentences of up to three years, plus fines of up to $2,500 for anyone convicted of flashing laser pointers at an aircraft. Montgomery Del. Sam Arora, the sponsor of the bill, says pilots can be blinded by those pointers.
"In Ocean City, they acted to ban the sale of these tiny pointers to people under the age of 18," he says. "But laws on the books right now... it's just a $500 fine if you blind someone with a laser pointer. And that's just not enough."
Arora says between 50 and 60 cases in Maryland are reported each year from pilots who say they've had their vision impaired while in the air from laser pointers being directed at their aircraft, though Arora believes there are many more cases that go unreported. The bill passed the House unanimously.
A slate of new legislation has received an endorsement by the Virginia State Crime Commission that they say would give law enforcement more tools to investigate and prosecute child abuse.