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In Annapolis

February 08, 1999

ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney, 27, told B. Marie Byers that she's been on the Washington County Board of Education since the year before he was born.

Byers smiled and politely thanked Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, for his observation during a meeting between the county legislative delegation and school officials last week.




ANNAPOLIS - Before Sen. Donald F. Munson could fulfill a promise he made to one of his constituents, he was shocked to learn the man had died.

Three years ago, George Allen, a retired state employee, had asked Munson to get the Interstate 70 welcome center on South Mountain named after Bill Pate.

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Pate had served as Maryland's representative to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Munson had put a volunteer to work on the project, but that person left and no one ever followed up, Munson said.

About three weeks ago, Munson got a letter from Allen asking about the status of the memorial. When Munson tried to call him, he learned Allen had died.

"It was quite a distressing thing," Munson said.

Pate deserves credit for bringing an estimated $139.5 million in federal money to Western Maryland through the Appalachian Regional Commission. He died in 1979.

At one time, the Appalachian Bridge over I-70 was named the "Bill Pate Portal to Appalachia," but people complained that the wording sounded provincial so it was removed at the request of the county legislative delegation.

"His recognition was removed as well," Munson said.

The delegation agreed to move forward with the memorial request.




ANNAPOLIS - Lawmakers took a step toward requiring home builders to be licensed in Washington County.

Local home builders asked the Washington County Commissioners for the regulation to prevent the shoddy work of a few from ruining the reputation of all.

Before that can happen, the county needs permission from the Maryland General Assembly.

The county's legislative delegation voted to draft a bill that would allow the county to make its own licensing rules.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said he is concerned that the General Assembly might pass a statewide licensing law that wouldn't address Washington County's unique problems.

But Sen. Alex X. Mooney and Del. Joseph R. Bartlett, both Republicans who represent Frederick and Washington counties, said they aren't in favor of more rules.

"Either way we're increasing regulation for the home building industry," Mooney said.

Mooney's motion to table the license idea was defeated by a vote of 6 to 2.

Del. Christopher B. Shank said the delegation needs to at least have a bill ready to go as filing deadlines near. That vote was unanimous.

The delegation must take another vote before the bill would be filed.




ANNAPOLIS - The Washington County legislative delegation refused to seek more power for the county liquor board.

The liquor board, formally known as the Board of License Commissioners, argues that a change in the law would allow them to crack down more effectively on businesses that sell to minors and allow patrons to loiter in downtown Hagerstown.

Tavern owners who are charged with criminal violations often are excused from liquor board fines or suspensions after they receive sentences of probation before judgment.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said the Washington County Restaurant and Beverage Association wants to target underage drinking through a voluntary program.

"The program that Bob described has more potential to reduce underage drinking than this bill," said Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

But Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said he favors giving more power to the liquor board.

"The courts have been taking care of the buddies, essentially," he said.

A bill could be leverage to force businesses to comply with the crackdown, he said.

If a bill is ever introduced, Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, said he would want to require liquor board members to be elected, rather than appointed, to their positions.

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