- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - New laws approved in Maryland’s last legislative session take effect Thursday. Here are some things to know about them:

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SECOND CHANCE

People with certain nonviolent misdemeanor criminal records will have their records blocked from public view under certain conditions after three years. The law is aimed at helping people with criminal records get jobs. It applies to people who have served their sentences, including probation and parole, and who have maintained clean records.

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SPEED LIMIT

State highway officials will be able to increase the state’s speed limit from 65 to 70 miles per hour on specified highways.

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ANAYAH’S LAW

Maryland social service agencies will be able to keep children in foster care if there is severe abuse by biological parents or if parents do not protect their children from serious mistreatment. The law is named for Anaya Williams, a 21-month-old Frederick girl who officials say died in a beating by her father after she was returned to her parents under a federal law that generally requires state social service agencies to try to reunite families.

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DIVORCE LAW

Couples in failing marriages won’t be required to have a one-year separation to get a divorce, if they do not have any minor children in common and reach a settlement agreement that resolves all issues related to a dissolved marriage, such as alimony and distribution of property.

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INFORMATION ACT

An update to the Maryland Public Information Act takes effect. A five-member compliance board will address fee disputes, and an ombudsman will handle disagreements between government agencies and members of the public attempting to access records.

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CRIMINAL EXPUNGEMENT

People can file petitions to have crimes expunged from their records if the act on which the conviction was based is no longer a crime.

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YELLOW ALERT

The Maryland State Police will be required to develop an alert program to find missing drivers in hit-and-run incidents that result in serious injury.

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HANDGUN IDENTIFICATION

The state is repealing a requirement for handgun manufacturers to provide gun dealers with shell casings of bullets fired from handguns.

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CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS AND POLYGRAPHS

Maryland correctional officer applicants will be required to pass a polygraph exam.

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INTERN PROTECTION

State prohibitions against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace will be extended to interns.

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