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Mooney's bid to bar court-mandated tax hikes fails

April 09, 2000

ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney says "tax and spend liberals" on the House Judiciary Committee killed his proposal for a federal constitutional amendment.

The bill filed by Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, would have urged federal officials to pass an amendment prohibiting courts from mandating tax increases.

In several cases nationwide, court judgments against government bodies have forced them to raise taxes, he said.

The bill was passed by the Senate, but killed by the House committee last week.

Mooney said he was disappointed, but not surprised.

"I know the committee is the polar opposite of the common sense committee I'm blessed to serve on," said Mooney, referring to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee effectively killed another one of Mooney's bills by never taking a vote.

Mooney had proposed tougher penalties for students who make bomb threats. Under his bill, a judge would have been able to suspend a juvenile's driving privileges for up to two years. The current law allows for a six-month suspension.

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ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney invoked the same obscure rule that was used to bring the governor's gun bill to the Senate floor to try to bring another gun proposal to the floor last week.

"This is the year for guns," argued Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, advocating a bill to give a 50 percent tax credit for the purchase of gun locks.

His committee, Judicial Proceedings, never voted on the bill, filed by Gov. Parris Glendening's administration.

Normally, the Senate only considers legislation that has been approved by a committee. The little-used "Rule 43" allows a majority vote to bring a bill to the floor without committee approval.

The Senate voted 9 to 34 against Mooney's proposal.

Sen. Timothy Ferguson, R-Frederick/Carroll, made a similar motion for his "right to carry" gun legislation. That failed by a 16 to 28 vote.

"They're freshman legislators. They're trying to test their wings," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, who voted for Ferguson's proposal but against Mooney's.

Last month, Rule 43 was used to bring forward a bill to require built-in locks on guns sold in Maryland in 2003.

At the time, Mooney vigorously opposed the use of the rule.

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