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Notes from Annapolis

January 20, 1997

ANNAPOLIS - As he gave his State of the State address last Wednesday, Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening had a message for those thinking casinos might be finding a home in the state.

"Only an irresponsible government would risk Maryland's future - and our children's future - on the spin of a roulette wheel. In other words, let me make this very clear: no casinos, no slots, no exceptions," Glendening said.

Those words prompted applause from much of the General Assembly. One member even gave the governor a standing ovation. That was Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

Among the issues the Washington County delegation in the General Assembly must sort out during the legislative session includes whether to approve raises for the sheriff and members of the Board of Education, and how much those raises should be.

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Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, warned her collegues last week that constituents back home might take issue with their elected officials approving salary increases at a time when many residents are forced to pay higher water and sewer rates in response to the county Water and Sewer Department's debt crisis.

Some delegation members pointed out that the issues are not directly related, and that the money for the salaries does not come from the same fund as money for the Water and Sewer Department.

Snodgrass agreed, but said the delegation needs to educate potentially upset constituents who might not be familiar with the specifics of local government budgeting.

"They won't understand that," she said.

If at first you don't succeed, just get a new law.

At least that's the attitude of the Washington County Commissioners.

Just last year the commissioners asked for, and received, legislative approval to increase the passing grade for the electrician's exam from 70 to 75. The belief was the state was going to also increase the score, so the county wanted to be in line with the state.

But the state never changed its passing score, leaving the county forced to come back this year and request that the passing grade be lowered back to 70.

Amid the debate in the state Senate last week over whether minors should be prohibited from getting tattoos, there was the following dissenting argument from a tattoo parlor owner in Glen Burnie, Md.:

In many families, she said, it is a tradition for a child to get a tattoo on his or her 16th birthday.

Bills of local interest currently under consideration in the General Assembly include:

  • Senate Bill 14, sponsored by Munson. The bill would require the state to assess enforcement charges in deadbeat parent cases against the parent not paying support. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee gave the bill a favorable report.

  • S.B. 37, sponsored by Munson and Sen. C. Edward Middlebrooks, R-Anne Arundel. The bill would prohibit parents to get out of paying child support by going to jail. The Judicial Proceedings Committee gave the bill a favorable report with amendments.

  • S.B. 52, sponsored by Munson. The bill would make it a crime to kill, taunt or interfere with a police dog or police horse. The bill is being considered by the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

  • S.B. 121. The bill would allow judges to dismiss "frivolous or malicious" lawsuits filed by prison inmates. The bill has been assigned to the Judicial Proceedings Committee. A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m.

  • House Bill 45. sponsored by Stup and Del. George Owings, D-Calvert/Anne Arundel. The bill would impose against parents and other adults who give and sell tobacco products to minors the same fines currently assessed against stores that sell tobacco to minors. The bill has been assigned to the Environmental Matters Committee. No hearing date has been set.


For more information about these bills and other legislative action, go online to http://mlis.state.md.us for the General Assembly's site on the World Wide Web.

- By Guy Fletcher

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