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Maryland lawmakers consider Amber's Bill

Maryland state legislators are holding hearings on a proposed piece of legislation referred to as Amber's Bill. It was named for a woman who was killed in Berwyn Heights in 2012 by her ex-boyfriend who was reportedly distraught over their break-up. He was found guilty of killing her by slashing her throat. She had obtained a protective order against the man, but that was not enough to protect her.

The proposed law would require GPS tracking of known abusers. Those in favor of the law say that it can save lives. As one delegate who is sponsoring the bill noted, nearly half of all states have a similar program and "it has worked out successfully."

Those who have voiced concerns about the bill question who would pay for the cost of the monitoring if the person designated to be monitored can't afford it. Another concern is the fact that while it monitors the abuser, there's no way to know where the victim is.

However, as Amber's mother pointed out, there are ways to determine whether the abuser is in close proximity to the victim and to alert him or her. Friends and family of Amber spoke before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee to argue in favor of the bill, HB 4. No one testified against it. They're encouraging Maryland residents to contact their state legislators to express support for the bill. As Amber's stepfather said, if the bill doesn't pass, "more women are going to die."

Anyone who is concerned for his or her safety or that of a loved one should immediately contact law enforcement and take whatever steps are necessary to help ensure his or her safety. An attorney can help with actions such as securing a protective order and also provide resources and information on other steps that a victim and his or her children can take to protect themselves.

Source: WBAL-TV 11, " House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Amber's Bill," Saliqa Khan, Jan. 29, 2016

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