A bill to tighten local regulations on pawnbrokers aimed at cutting off potential streams of cash for heroin users will become law Wednesday, although it will happen without County Executive Barry Glassman’s signature.
Glassman has the option to veto Bill 17-006, which the seven member County Council passed unanimously on May 9, but he will instead allow it to become law without signing it, according to county administration spokesperson Cindy Mumby.
The bill will take effect 60 days after it becomes law, according to Mumby, unless it were to be petitioned to referendum, which is considered unlikely, as a petition would require signatures from at least 5 percent of the county’s registered voters.
“My concern is the bill, as currently written, is misleading to the public in their efforts to comply with the law,” Glassman wrote in a letter dated May 25 to the bill’s lead sponsor, Councilman Patrick Vincenti. “A simple clarification will make what I believe is a good law even better with the suggested clarification.”
Glassman sought advice from the state’s Office of the Attorney General regarding a requirement that all items be held by pawnbrokers for 30 days after they are brought into a shop and the pawnbroker has reported the transaction to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
He was concerned that the county requirements could be pre-empted by state laws, which require pawnbrokers to hold secondhand precious metals for 18 days only.
A May 23 letter from Assistant Attorney General Sloane F. Kinstler buttressed Glassman’s concern.
“The legislative history of Title 12 of the Business Regulation Article demonstrates that the General Assembly arrived at the 18-day hold period through a balancing of the competing commercial and law enforcement interests involved,” Kinstler wrote. “State law, therefore leaves no room for local jurisdictions to strike a different balance.”
The 30-day hold…