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Maryland nuisance bill killed

February 26, 2001

Maryland nuisance bill killed



By LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - A Maryland Senate committee has killed a local lawmaker's proposal to toughen state nuisance laws.

Prompted by several extreme cases in which residents refused repeated requests to clean up their homes, the bill was defeated by an 8 to 3 vote of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, who filed the bill at the request of health officers across the state, could not be reached for comment Monday.

The bill would have increased the maximum fine for a nuisance from $50 to $1,000.

The fine has been the same since it was first set in 1886, supporters of the bill testified at a committee hearing last week.

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Health officers also asked for the ability to spend up to $5,000 to fix a problem instead of $500.

Washington County Director of Environmental Health Rod MacRae testified in favor of the bill.

"I was disappointed, of course, but these things happen," MacRae said.

He is now pinning his hopes on a similar bill filed in the House of Delegates by Del. James W. Hubbard, D-Prince George's. A hearing date has not been set.

Munson's office said his bill was killed by lawmakers who felt it would have given too much power to health officers and would have increased fines too much.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, voted against the bill. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Health officers had testified that some people ignore nuisance laws because the penalties aren't tough enough.

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