Lawmakers ready for piece of public's mind

January 02, 1998


Staff Writer

Washington County's delegation in the Maryland General Assembly will hold its annual public hearing next week to hear comments and suggestions about state issues.

The hearing will be Saturday, Jan. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon at South Hagerstown High School's auditorium.

"It gives the public an opportunity, prior to (the legislative) session, to voice any concerns they have or suggestions," said Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, who chairs the county delegation.

Individuals and group representatives are invited to speak to the eight-member delegation about any issue that could come before the General Assembly. Speakers do not have to register prior to the hearing.


Donoghue said he expects several organizations to attend, such as the League of Women Voters and nonprofit groups seeking state assistance.

The General Assembly begins its annual 90-day session Jan. 14.

County lawmakers are expected to deal with a variety of local matters this year, including tip jar gambling, state assistance for the county's water and sewer debt, and state funds for roads and schools.

There also will be many statewide issues, including how the state's budget surplus will be handled, a move to toughen drunken driving law, and possible pay raises for legislators and top state officials.

In past years the hearing had been held in late fall, but scheduling conflicts forced it to be moved to just four days before session begins. Donoghue said that doesn't cause any problems, and should allow the issues raised at the hearing to be fresh on the minds of lawmakers when they do start in Annapolis.

"I think the closer to session the better," he said.

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