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Local delegates working on a mixed bag of bills

February 22, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County lawmakers are tinkering with a number of local laws this legislative session on issues ranging from election judges' pay to the makeup of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts' board of trustees.

In addition to its broad legislative package dealing with everything from tip jar gambling to debt reduction, the Washington County delegation to the General Assembly is tackling more mundane tasks during this session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Local legislation this session is designed to:

* Give the Rohrersville Band a property tax exemption. Although the IRS considers the band a nonprofit group, the state requires it to pay $930 a year in property taxes.

* Increase the salaries of election judges. Chief judges would get $125 a day instead of $100 and other election judges would get $100 a day instead of $80. The Washington County Commissioners asked for the increase to put the judges' salaries in line with their counterparts statewide.

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At the request of Sen. Don Munson, R-Washington, the bill also would require the election board to give lawmakers the names and addresses of election judges on request.

* Change the wording of 1997 legislation that gave MIHI Inc. of Washington County a state grant. The change is needed so the nonprofit organization can use the grant to build a handicapped-accessible fishing pier at Devil's Backbone State Park.

* Allow the Washington County Commissioners to be reimbursed for travel expenses. The commissioners asked that the law conform to their practice.

* Name the new Washington County District Court building on Antietam Street after the late J. Louis Boublitz, one of the county's first District Court judges. The legislation was prompted by an effort by District Court employees.

* Change the hours of the Washington County Orphans Court, which deals with wills. The court's hours are now 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. The new hours would be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on those same days.

* Allow the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts to appoint emeritus members to its board of trustees.

Such issues are typical for the annual 90-day legislative session.

The Washington County Commissioners need legislative authority for many of their actions because the county doesn't have home rule.

Most local laws sail through the legislature, which gives courtesy to local legislation.

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