From Annapolis

February 20, 2000

ANNAPOLIS - The Senate this week approved a new commemorative license plate for agriculture.

The so-called ag tag would be Maryland's second commemorative license plate. The General Assembly earlier this session renewed the Chesapeake Bay plate program, which raises money for bay education.

If approved by the House, the ag tags would raise money to educate people about farming. A hearing is set for Wednesday in the House Commerce and Government Matters Committee.

Both local lawmakers on that committee, Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, and Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, favor the ag tag.



More families seek food bank help

ANNAPOLIS - Despite the good economy, more Washington County families are seeking help from local food banks.

Brad Sell, director of Food Resources Inc. in Hagerstown, told a legislative subcommittee last week that the number of county families seeking assistance jumped 11 percent from the last six months of 1998 to the last six months of 1999.

From July through December 1999, 5,569 families needed free food compared to 5,015 from July through December 1998.

"I'm at a lost to explain it," Sell said.

Sell was in Annapolis to testify about the 2001 budget for the Maryland Emergency Food Network.

Advocates for the poor are asking the state to commit $1 million to the network, doubling its previous commitment, Sell said.

Washington and Frederick counties got $11,900 from the network during each of the last two years, he said.


Shank, Snodgrass unsure of race bill

ANNAPOLIS - Two local lawmakers have reservations about a proposal to identify whether police in Maryland are using racial profiling as a basis for traffic stops.

As members of the House Commerce and Government Matters Committee, Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, and Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, heard testimony about the legislation last week.

Introduced by Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings, D-Baltimore, the bill would require every law enforcement agency to start keeping track of who police are stopping and why.

Officers who show a pattern of profiling would get special training.

Both Shank and Snodgrass said they understand the concern about the problem.

But Shank said he isn't sure the bill would solve the problem.

And Snodgrass, the former burgess of Maryland, said she is worried that the cost of the plan would be too great for smaller police agencies.

"I don't know if we in rural Maryland should be included at this time," she said.


Protsch appointed to gaming board

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County lawmakers appointed Dieter Protsch to the county Gaming Commission last week.

Protsch, a retired military officer, will replace Bill Porter as a member of the volunteer group that distributes tip jar gambling profits to charity.

Porter's term had expired July 1, but he continued to serve on the commission at the request of the delegation.

Protsch's term is up June 30, 2001.

- Laura Ernde

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