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Public Health Laws

Public health laws are in place to protect the health of the public. The Annotated Code of Maryland and the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) are the two main sources of public health laws in Maryland. The laws that may be of interest are listed below with the link to the source document included.

Animal Services

View animal laws and policies.

Animal Holding FacilitiesBill prohibiting animal shelter having unreasonable noise and light on other real estate propertiesCounty Bill 2-18
Animal WelfareOscar's Law requiring certain care and shelter of animals that are not kept in a home or buildingMaryland HB 16
Exotic AnimalsProhibits ownership and sale of exotic animalsCriminal Law 10-621
Exotic Bird PermitsInspects exotic bird records and issues permitsHealth General 24-101 to 24-110
Pet Store InspectionsInspects pet stores for compliance with reptile caution notices, exotic bird records, humane and sanitary conditionsHB1662
Pets for VetsAdoption fees waived for veteransSB 0338
RabiesInvestigates animal attacks involving humans, collects and sends specimens for testing, enforces quarantines, conducts vaccination clinicsCOMAR 10.06.02
Regulation for Pet StoresRegulations for Retail Pet StoresHB1662
Research Animal AdoptionHumane Adoption of Companion Animals Used in Research Act of 2018


Spay and Neuter ExtensionExtends the Spay and Neuter Program for 10 years, until September 30, 2032SB 206
Trap, Neuter, and ReturnEstablishes a Trap-Neuter-Return Program; requiring the Health Officer to establish guidelines for the Trap-Neuter-Return Program.County Bill 86-21

Vector Control

Response to complaints about rodents, mosquito control, animal hoarding, vermin or insect infestations, West Nile Virus investigations, Lyme disease awarenessBaltimore County Code of Ordinances 12-8-107, Article 13

Disease Control

Food Borne Illness InvestigationInvestigates food and water borne illnesses related to food service facilities and within institutional facilitiesCOMAR 10.06.01
HIV and CD4 Lymphocyte Investigations and Case ReportingRequirements for physician reporting of a case of HIV or AIDS, or birth of an infant whose mother has tested positive for HIV; Institution reporting of a case of HIV or AIDS; Lab reporting of a test result for HIV infection or CD4 count; health officer follow up of a physician report of AIDSCOMAR 10.18.02
HIV Counseling and Testing ProceduresRequirements for pre-test and post-test counseling and informed consent when HIV testing is performedCOMAR 10.18.08
HIV Investigations and Case Reporting AIDSRequirements for reporting a case of AIDS and health officer follow up of a physician report of AIDSCOMAR 10.18.03
HIV Testing for Convicted PersonsHIV testing of persons accused or convicted, or both, of certain crimesCOMAR 10.52.10
HIV Testing Pregnant WomenRequirements for counseling and informed consent when HIV testing is performed on pregnant womenCOMAR 10.18.09
Minor Consent LawDefines how minors can consent to health proceduresHealth General Assembly 20-102
Olivia's LawColleges and Universities mandated to implement infectious disease outbreak proceduresHB 187
QuarantineHealth officer may issue directive to an individual or a group to remain in isolation or place of quarantineHealth General Assembly 18-901
Reportable DiseasesList of reportable diseases and conditions which health care providers, institutions and others are required to reportCOMAR
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)Clinical services for screening, diagnosis, partner identification and treatmentCOMAR 10.06.07
STI Testing and Contact TracingAssure clients and contacts that have or have been exposed to certain reportable STIs obtain appropriate treatment and follow up, and all information is entered into the state database.COMAR
TuberculosisAssure that individuals are assessed and treated according to protocol, contacts are investigated and treated accordingly, and information is entered into the state database.COMAR


Agricultural SafetyAnimal health in agricultureAnnotated Code of Maryland Agriculture Article
Bathing Beach Toxic SubstancesSafety of water at beachesCOMAR 26.08.01
COMAR 26.08.02
COMAR 08.04.16
EPA Beach Act
Bottled WaterProcedures for obtaining proper permits for bottling and dispensing drinking water from spring construction to unit processing.COMAR 10.15.11
Building PermitsBuilding permits issued related to water and sewageCOMAR 26.04.02
Building Plan ReviewMajor projects, public water and sewer and plat reviewsCOMAR 26.04.03
CampgroundsInspections and investigations, permits for campgroundsCOMAR 10.16.03
CanningRequirements for operating canning and acidified food manufacturing plantsCOMAR 10.15.01
Crab meatProcessing regulations to ensure safe and sanitary crab meat and working conditions for employeesCOMAR 10.15.02
Drain Cover Requirement Pools and SpasRequirement for covering drains pools and spas15 USC 8003
Drinking Water SafetyRegulations to protect drinking waterSafe Drinking Water Act Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40 Part 131
Food and Drink Processing and TransportationProcessing, producing, transporting and storing items for human consumptionCOMAR 10.15.04
Food InspectionInspection of meat and poultry productsU.S. Department of Agriculture Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
Food LabelingBranding of foods and dietary supplementsU.S. Code, Food 21, Section 343
Food SafetySafety of food and recallsU.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
Food SafetyTransportation of food and additivesU.S. Food and Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
Food SafetyFood safety recommendations to prevent food related illnessU.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code 2013 and Supplements
Food Service FacilitiesAssure that food service facilities serve food that is safe for human consumption, that buildings meet proper standards for cleanliness, conduct inspections, provides training, issues foodCOMAR 10.15.03
Food, Drugs and CosmeticsSale of foods to consumersAnnotated Code of Maryland Health General Article
Frozen Dairy FoodsManufacture and sale of frozen dairy foods and icesCOMAR 10.15.05
Hazard InvestigationLocal Health Officer has the authority to investigate any condition that is dangerous to human health and to inspect schools, places of employment and businessesEnvironmental Article 10-201
Hazards—Controlled SubstancesRegulation to control the manufacturing, distribution, and use of controlled, dangerous substancesCOMAR 10.19.03
Hotels and MotelsInvestigation of complaints regarding hotels and motelsHealth-General 20-301
Indoor SmokingProhibition of smoking in indoor areas open to the publicCOMAR 10.19.04
Lead Paint Poisoning InvestigationsRegulations for techniques for abatement of lead containing substances from interior and certain exterior surfaces in residential areas and day care propertiesCOMAR 26.02.07
COMAR 26.16.02
COMAR 26.16.05
Manufactured Grade MilkProduction, processing, transportation, storage and distribution of manufactured grade milkCOMAR 10.15.09
MilkProduction, processing, transportation, storage and distribution of milkCOMAR 10.15.06
Mobile Home Park LicenseInspections and investigations, permits for mobile home parksCOMAR 10.16.02
Mobile Reciprocity LicenseLicense issued to a mobile food service which is operating in the jurisdiction; is operating within 90 miles of its base of operation; holds a valid license from the county of origin.Maryland Senate Bill 262
Nuisance ComplaintsNuisance complaints investigationGeneral Assembly Environmental 10-201
Open BurningProhibits the start of an open fire with out a permit and control officer approvalCOMAR 26.11.07
Other LicensesRegulations protecting public health and safety of occupants of migratory labor campsCOMAR 10.16.01
COMAR 10.16.03
COMAR 10.16.05
Performance Criteria for BeachesGuidance and performance criteria for beachesNational Beach Guidance and Required Performance Criteria EPA-823-B-02-004
Recreational Water Quality Criteria EPA
SeafoodProcedures for the safe handling and processing of seafood.COMAR 10.15.10
Sewage OverflowsMaryland Department of the Environment sewage overflow enforcementCOMAR 26.08.10
ShellfishProcedures for processing and handling shellfish which are sold for human consumptionCOMAR 10.15.07
Solid Waste—GeneralInvestigate complaints, review sewage and sludge applications and sites, review demolition permitsCOMAR 26.04.06
Solid Waste—MedicalApplies to entities that generate and handle special medical waste or sharps, or treat and dispose of medical wasteCOMAR 10.06.06
Solid Waste—SepticReview applications, issue permits, inspect installed, investigate failing systemsCOMAR 26.04.02
Swimming Pool and Spa LicensesRegulations to protect and promote the health and safety of those using public pools or spas including construction and disinfectingCOMAR 10.17.01
COMAR 10.17.02
CDC Modal Aquatic Code
Swimming Pools, Spas and Bathing BeachesPermits and regulations on public water systemsCOMAR 26.04.01
Swimming and Bathing Beach LicensesAnnual permit for operations of public beaches including sanitation quality of facilities and watersCOMAR 26.08.09
Water EmergencyMaryland Department of the Environment water control program; emergency water supplyCOMAR 26.04.01
Water PercolationPercolation testing and soil analysis, site plan review and ground water monitoringCOMAR 26.04.02
Water PotabilityRegulations establishing standards and procedures applicable to well constructionCOMAR 26.04.04
Water Well ConstructionPermits and inspections of wellsCOMAR 26.04.04
Youth CampsCertifications for youth campsCOMAR 10.16.06

Fiscal and Administrative

Acute General and Specialty HospitalsLicensing requirements for hospitalsCOMAR 10.07.01
Adult Foster CareLicensing requirements for adult foster careCOMAR 07.02.17
Assistance to Health OfficerCode related to assistance to the health officer to administer lawsBaltimore County Code 3-2-604
Assisted Living ProgramsLicensing requirements for assisted living programsCOMAR 10.07.14
Code of Baltimore County Regulations (COBAR)Codes related to pools, zoning, towing and others enacted by the County CouncilCOBAR
Comprehensive Care FacilitiesLicensing requirements for extended and comprehensive care facilitiesCOMAR 10.07.02
County Board of Health Powers and DutiesCodes related to pools, zoning, towing and others enacted by the County CouncilHealth General Assembly 3-301 to 3-309
Day Care for Medically Disabled AdultsLicensing requirements for extended and comprehensive care facilitiesCOMAR 10.12.04
Local Board of Health DutiesRole of the Board of HealthBaltimore County Code 7-539
Local Health OfficerRole of the Local Health officerHealth General Assembly 3-301 to 3-309
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs for AdultsLicensing requirements for adult psychiatric rehabilitationCOMAR 10.21.21
Residential Treatment Centers for Emotionally Disturbed Children and AdolescentsLicensing requirements for residential care for emotionally disturbed childrenCOMAR 10.07.04
State Funding for Local Health ServicesAmount of General Funds from the state provided to local health departments for core fundingCOMAR 10.04.01
Treatment Foster Care ProgramsLicensing requirements for treatment foster careCOMAR 07.02.21

Health of Children and Adults

Abatement of NuisancesNuisances and unsanitary conditions abatementHealth General Assembly 20-301
Birth CertificatesCopies of birth, death and fetal death certificatesHealth General Assembly 4-217
Child CareChild care home licensingFamily Law Article 5-508
Correctional Facilities - Substance Use Disorder TreatmentRequiring correctional facilities to provide medication assisted treatmentHB116

Disease Reporting in Facilities

Reporting of Infectious diseases to Health DepartmentHealth General Article 18-102
Emergency PreparednessRequirements for county and facility emergency preparednessHealth General Public Safety Article 14-110
Good Samaritan LawProtects the public when assisting in an emergency, expanded to include overdoseHB190
Group Homes for ChildrenRegulations for therapeutic group homesHealth General Article 10-922
Health Occupations Article 20-302
Human Services Article 2
COMAR 14.31.06 Independent Agencies
Immunizations—MeningococcalRequirements for meningococcal vaccination of individuals enrolled in institutions of higher education who are living in on campus housingCOMAR 10.06.05
Immunizations—School EntryRestrictions for schools to admit or retain a student unless the parent or guardian has furnished evidence of age appropriate immunityCOMAR 10.06.04
Inspections of FacilitiesInspections of hospitals and other care facilitiesHealth General Article 19-308
Health General Article 19-307
Health General Title 19, Subtitle 18
Health General Article 14-206
Health General Article 5-519
Permits and InspectionsEnvironmental impacts and hazards permits and inspectionsAnnotated Code of Maryland Environmental Articles
School-Based Health CentersConditions for participationCOMAR
School Health ServicesStandards for studentsCOMAR 13A.05.05.07
Sexually Transmitted InfectionsExpedited Partner Therapy for Chlamydia and GonorrheaCOMAR 10.06.07
Substance Use Disorder ProgramLicensing of substance use disorder programGeneral Health Article 8-404
Syringe ServicesAuthorizing syringe services program to prevent diseaseSB279
Tanning Device Use by MinorsRestricts use of tanning devices by minorsCOMAR 10.52.06
Tattoo and Body PiercingRegulations on handling and disposing of sharp waste that have had contact with body fluids; requirements for proceduresCOMAR 10.06.06G
COMAR 10.06.01H
Tobacco Sales to MinorsMay not distribute tobacco products to a minorBaltimore County Code Title 12 13-12.01
Transportation Safety—Bike HelmetsHelmets required for under age 16, including passengers, who ride bikes on the roadTransportation General Assembly Article 21-1207.2
Transportation Safety—Bike TrafficTraffic laws apply to bikes and motor scootersTransportation General Assembly Article 21-1202
Transportation Safety—Cell PhonesTexting is banned, hand held cell phone restrictions and all use banned for learnersTransportation General Assembly Article 21-1124
Transportation Safety—Child Safety SeatsAll children under eight years of age must be secured in a federally approved child safety seat unless the child is four feet, nine inches or taller. The child restraint must be right for the child's size, age and weight.Transportation General Assembly Article 22-412.2
Transportation Safety—PedestriansPedestrian rights and rules to prevent injuryTransportation General Assembly Article 21-202
Transportation Safety—SeatbeltsDrivers and front seat passengers must wear seat beltsTransportation General Assembly Article 22-412

Contact Us

Department of Health

6401 York Road, Third Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21212


Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Health: 410-887-2243

TTY: 711

Director and Health Officer

Gregory Wm. Branch

Deputy Health Officer

Della J. Leister, R.N.

Deputy of Finance and Administration

Lawrence Richardson


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