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Quicker route to Annapolis now available

January 19, 1999

Quicker route to Annapolis now available

ANNAPOLIS - People who plan to go to the State House in Annapolis this winter take note. Hagerstown is a little closer to the state capital these days, thanks to a new four-lane highway.

Local lawmakers who make the trip to Annapolis and back every week say taking Md. 100 cuts about 15 minutes off the roughly 100-mile trip.

To use, take Interstate 70 east toward Baltimore. Before the beltway, take Md. 29 south toward Columbia, Md. Look for Md. 100 near Ellicott City, Md. The new highway, which has no traffic lights, runs into Md. 97. From there, just follow the signs to downtown Annapolis.

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Shank's replacement hired

ANNAPOLIS - The Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly has finally hired someone to replace legislative aide turned delegate Christopher B. Shank.

But the job won't be full time or carry as many responsibilities.

Shank, R-Washington, said he'll train the new staff person who starts work today.

"The slack's going to fall on me," Shank said.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, delegation chairman, was held back from hiring anyone until the state House and Senate leadership agreed on new staff budgets for all the delegates.

While most delegates cheered the new arrangement on Friday, it was kind of a wash for the three Washington County delegates.

The agreement eliminated Shank's old full-time position, 60 percent of which was paid for by the General Assembly and 40 percent of which was split among the three delegates.

Instead, the delegation will get $14,400 to hire someone to work during the session only.

Individual delegates, however, will get more money for home offices and staff.

Under the new arrangement, each delegate's interim account gets a $10,000 boost so each delegate gets the same as each senator: $18,265 a year.

 

Munson gets laptop

ANNAPOLIS - A state-supplied laptop computer is forcing Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, to go digital, something he's been putting off for years.

Munson had the laptop with him last week to kick off his 25th year in the state Senate.

Twenty-two of the 47 senators are trying the new computers for the first time.

The computer, which is linked to the Maryland General Assembly's network, gives Munson up-to-the-minute information about bills and the proceedings of both the House of Delegates and the Senate.

"It's working out great," Munson said.

Eventually, computers could replace the stacks of paper that each lawmaker receives at their desks in the Senate Chamber, he said.

Munson got an Apple IIe when they first came out in the mid-1980s, he said.

He used it during a campaign and then promptly forgot about it when he got back to the business of legislating, he said.

The General Assembly computer staff gave him computer lessons and he was still pointing and clicking his way around his new Windows 95-based laptop last week. He turns for assistance to the high school pages who work in the Senate Chamber handing out paperwork and coffee.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, did not get a laptop this year.

Although the youngest senator is no stranger to computers, he was elected after the sign-up, he said.

- Laura Ernde

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