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Annapolis Notes - Sen. Mooney blasts policy

March 19, 2001

Annapolis Notes - Sen. Mooney blasts policy



Mooney protests Smart Growth policy


ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney protested Maryland's Smart Growth policy on the Senate floor last week.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, argued that the policy keeps poor people trapped in inner-city neighborhoods because it doesn't allow growth in suburbs.

"The intent of this is to simply guide people where they can live. I have some serious problems with it," he said.

Smart Growth supporters in the Senate defended the policy's twin goals of reducing sprawl and preserving farmland.

"I'm not sure what you are for if you're against Smart Growth. The simple fact is we can't afford to gobble up farms and forests at the rate we're doing it," said Sen. Brian E. Frosh, D-Montgomery.

The Senate backed the policy by a vote of 35-11, with Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, voting the opposite of Mooney.

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The vote gave tentative approval for the creation of a new state Office of Smart Growth at the request of Gov. Parris Glendening.

Glendening's spokesman Michael Morrill said that Mooney should talk to local officials about the policy.

"He has no understanding of this policy at all," Morrill said.

Emissions test fee hike killed


ANNAPOLIS - Maryland residents won't have to pay a higher fee to get their cars tested for emissions.

The House Environmental Matters Committee killed a bill last week that would have increased the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program fee from $14 to $20.

"I'm delighted. That's the happiest news I've heard all day," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

The Motor Vehicle Administration had requested the higher fee to meet the increasing costs of running the program.

Motorists in many parts of the state, including Washington County, must have their cars tested every other year to make sure they aren't spewing too many pollutants.

County bill dies on technicality


ANNAPOLIS - A bill to help two Washington County social workers get credit for the time they worked as contract employees was killed on a technicality last week by the House Appropriations Committee.

"Maybe they can breathe life into it again," said Washington County Department of Social Services Director David Engle.

The Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly sponsored the bill at Engle's request to help the two social workers get credit for a combined nine years of service as contract workers.

The employees lost credit for that service because they were on Washington County government's payroll for a few months before being hired as state merit employees, Engle said.

While the bill was intended to apply to those two employees only, a lawyer for the House Appropriations Committee was concerned that it would create a loophole for others.

Committee member Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, said she was out of the room when the issue came up, but she hopes the technicality can be resolved if not this year, then next.

County contractor nominated for council


ANNAPOLIS - A Washington County contractor has been nominated to serve on the state's Advisory Council on Prevailing Wage Rates.

The nomination of Dominick J. Perini of Perini Construction Inc. must be approved by the Maryland Senate.

The advisory council sets the prevailing wage rates that must be paid to employees performing many of the state's public works projects.

Boonsboro family lobbies against license


ANNAPOLIS - A Boonsboro family came to Annapolis last week to lobby against the creation of a state fur-trappers license.

The Leggett family said that as farmers they need to protect their livelihood by controlling insects and wildlife.

They believe that a bill before the House Environmental Matters Committee is a "ploy by animal rights organizations to end trapping."

"Please don't let animal activists whittle our rights away in order to pad their own pockets," said a letter signed by Charlotte M. Leggett, Clarence A. Leggett, Betty A. Leggett and Ronald L. Leggett.

Potomac Center count could be addressed by state


ANNAPOLIS - Concerns recently raised about the dwindling number of residents at the Potomac Center in Hagerstown should be addressed by a Maryland General Assembly report.

Lawmakers are instructing the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to write a report about moving the developmentally disabled residents into group homes, said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

Among other things, the report due Nov. 1 will address how the state determines whether a non-verbal resident wants to move to a group home, as well as family involvement in the placement process.

Shank bill targets thefts from gas pumps


ANNAPOLIS - A Washington County lawmaker wants to deter the problem of gas station pump and runs.

Under a bill filed by Del. Christopher B. Shank, anyone convicted of stealing gas could lose their license for up to 30 days. Repeat offenders would automatically lose their license for 30 days.

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