Annapolis notes

January 29, 2001

Annapolis notes

Bill targets veterans

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County lawmakers are submitting a bill requiring Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening to earmark $75,000 in state tax dollars for a Hagerstown Veterans Home study.

Local veterans' groups have been shut out of the state budget for the last several years.

Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, said the bill might be an exercise in futility.

"It's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. It raises expectations we can't meet," she said.

In the past, the state has refused to study the issue because there are empty beds at a state Veterans Home in Southern Maryland.

Hecht and other local officials have argued that Washington County veterans won't use the Southern Maryland nursing home because it's too far away from their family.

Senator's name misspelled

ANNAPOLIS - A senator's name was misspelled on the plaque dedicating the new Miller Senate Office Building.

But Sen. Larry E. Haines, aka Sen. Larry E. Hughes, was taking it in stride.

"Nixon said, 'Don't worry about what they say about you, just make sure your name's spelled right," Haines told the Maryland Senate last week.

Some lawmakers joked that Haines, R-Carroll, should consider leaving the plaque alone to save the taxpayers' money.

The new casting was on order the next day.

Schaefer offers concerns

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer is worried about Western Maryland.

At a Board of Public Works meeting last week he seemed dismayed when Washington County school officials told him the county is not growing.

"I never could understand why people don't move there. You've got good roads that got built before the governor came," Schaefer said in a not-so-subtle dig at Gov. Parris Glendening, sitting to his left.

Schaefer said the state doesn't do enough for Western Maryland.

A short time later, Glendening made it a point to mention the Hagerstown Education Center of the University System of Maryland.

Mooney opposes confirmation

ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington was one of two state senators who opposed the confirmation of Lynne Battaglia to Maryland's highest court Friday.

Mooney said he's concerned Battaglia will try to interpret the state Constitution in keeping with her "far left views."

"I've had growing concerns over the type of qualifications and views of the judges this governor has appointed to the bench," he said.

For example, when the court two years ago ruled that cable companies couldn't charge late fees, the Maryland General Assembly had to step in and pass a bill to allow the fees, he said.

Cat, cell phones scheduled

ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland General Assembly will hold hearings this week on banning the use of cell phones while driving and naming the calico cat the state cat.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Commerce and Government Matters Committee will hold separate hearings on the cell phone issue at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The calico cat bill has a hearing Thursday before the House Commerce and Government Matters Committee.

To testify, all you have to do is sign up an hour in advance.

- Laura Ernde

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