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Most local bills pass in assembly

April 12, 1999

The Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly sponsored 11 pieces of legislation this 90-day session. They are:

* YMCA grant. The delegation, through House Bill 324, was seeking a $1.5 million state grant to build a new YMCA off Eastern Boulevard. The amount was reduced to $500,000 and the bill has been approved by the House and Senate.

* Washington County administrative zoning. H.B. 661 would give the county zoning administrator power to grant certain zoning adjustments without a decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Washington County borrowing authority. H.B. 663 would allow the Washington County Commissioners to get a line of credit of up to $5 million, if needed, to use in short cash-flow situations. The bill passed the House and Senate.

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* Washington County purchasing bids. H.B. 664 would clarify that county purchasing contracts be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder who submits a responsive bid. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Washington County Right to Farm. H.B. 675 would allow the Washington County Commissioners to adopt laws or regulations to protect a person's right to farm. The bill has passed the House and Senate.

* Washington County public facilities bonds. H.B. 933 would give the Washington County Commissioners the power to borrow up to $50 million over the next four years for various building projects. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Waterfowl hunting on the Potomac River. H.B. 934 would eliminate "blind site licenses," would have allowed hunters to buy exclusive use of 500 yards of shoreline for $11 a season. The bill was killed by the Environmental Matters Committee, but its contents were included in a separate bill. That bill, H.B. 1187, was passed by the House.

* Washington County home builders license. H.B. 961 would allow the Washington County Commissioners to license home builders. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Vehicle emissions. H.B. 1042 would have exempted Washington County residents from Maryland's Vehicle Emissions Inspections Program. The bill was killed by the Environmental Matters Committee.

* Washington County nuisance rules. H.B. 1016 would have increased the penalty for failure to comply with county nuisance laws. The bill was killed by the Environmental Matters Committee.

* South Mountain Battlefield Task Force. House Joint Resolution 12 would set up a task force to study the establishment of Maryland's first state park battlefield at South Mountain. The resolution passed the House and Senate.

To be enacted, a bill must be passed by the House and Senate and be signed into law by Gov. Parris Glendening.

Here are some other bills of local interest sponsored by individual members of the county delegation:

* Washington County Hospital grant. Sponsored by Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, H.B. 276 would give the hospital an $870,000 grant for a health care clinic in downtown Hagerstown. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Health insurance retroactive denials. Sponsored by Donoghue, H.B. 345 and H.B. 346 would make it harder for insurance companies to deny payment of a claim that was approved by them in advance. Both bills have passed the House and Senate.

* Volunteer physicians license. Sponsored by Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, H.B. 662 would require volunteer physicians to renew their licenses every other year rather than annually. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Volunteer fire company insurance exemption. Sponsored by McKee, H.B. 1093 would have clarified that volunteer fire companies, rescue squads and ambulance companies are not subject to insurance regulation. The bill was killed by the House Economic Matters Committee.

* State Use Industries Management Council. Sponsored by Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, S.B. 174 would change the name of the State Use Industries Advisory Committee to State Use Industries Management Council. It would also expand the duties of the group, which oversees inmate labor operations. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Threats against state employees. Sponsored by Munson, S.B. 177 would have made it a crime to threaten state employees. The bill was killed by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

* State aid for police protection. Sponsored by Munson, S.B. 175 would increase the per capita amount paid by the state to the municipalities for police protection from $1,200 to $1,800. The bill passed the House and Senate.

* Drug-free preschool zones. Sponsored by Munson, S.B. 742 would have extended drug-free school zones to preschools. The bill was killed by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

* Corrections cocktail. Sponsored by Del. Sue Hecht, H.B. 232 would make it a crime for inmates to throw bodily fluids on correctional officers. The bill passed the House and Senate.

More information is available on the General Assembly's Web Site at http://mlis.state.md.us.

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