Happy New Fiscal Year! It's Oct. 1, and that means that new laws, budgets and policies are going into effect in various local jurisdictions, including Maryland and D.C. Here are some of them.
Gun Control: Maryland new strict gun control measure takes effect today, banning 45 types of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and mandating that gun buyers get fingerprinted. A hearing is scheduled for this afternoon on a lawsuit challenging the new law, though.
Death Penalty: Though Maryland has not executed anyone in years, the use of capital punishment is now banned.
Sales Tax: D.C.'s sales tax drops by a quarter-point today to 5.75 percent, the lowest in the region.
Longer Library Hours: D.C.'s public libraries will now stay open for extended hours four days a week and on Sundays, offering patrons more chances to check out books, use computers or partake in programs.
SmarTrip: Metro's SmarTrip cards now cost $2, down from $5. Also, Metro has changed exit fare requirements: if you're more than $1.50 in the red, you won't be able to exit a station.
Smartphones: Using a phone while driving is now a primary offense in Maryland, which means that a police officer can pull you over for little more than texting or talking while driving. The fine will also go up to $75, from $40.
Seatbelts: Also in Maryland, starting today all passengers traveling a vehicle will have to wear a seatbelt. Not doing so is a secondary offense, which means that police need another reason to pull you over. The offense carries a $50 fine.
Shark Fins: Shark fin sales are now banned in Maryland.