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Md. House passes bill on violence before a minor

The House of Delegates has passed a measure to increase penalties for someone who commits a crime of violence in front of a minor.

The House approved the bill 132-0 on Monday. It would apply to people who commit a violent crime in front of a minor who is at least 2 years old and younger than 16.

The measure is the top legislative priority of Attorney General Doug Gansler.

Under the bill, a person would be eligible to up to five years additional imprisonment for committing a violent crime before a minor.

Supporters say dozens of studies on child development have shown that viewing or hearing domestic violence can have a long and devastating effect on a child.

The measure now goes to the Senate.

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