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Mooney opposes exposure bill

April 03, 2001

Mooney opposes exposure bill



Annapolis

By LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A few hours after the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill to stop prison inmates from indecently exposing themselves, a local lawmaker may have single-handedly killed the bill in his committee.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney helped the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee kill a bill Tuesday that would criminally charge inmates who expose themselves to prison employees and visitors. The vote was 6-5.

But since similar bills have already passed the Senate and House, the legislation could still get final approval before the session ends Monday.

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The other seven Washington County lawmakers voted in favor of the bill.

"I think it's important for the women working in men's prisons and vice versa," said Sen. Jennie Forehand, D-Montgomery.

Anne Arundel County correctional officers had testified that jailhouse regulations against indecent exposure failed to protect them from repeated incidents.

Charges against inmates have been dropped when the courts ruled that the incidents were not indecent exposure because they didn't occur in a public place.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, said he voted against the legislation because he feared government might next intrude in private homes.

"There could be a lot of unintended consequences with this," he said.

Earlier on the House floor, lawmakers argued that the bill would cost too much and contribute to overloading the prison system.

"Our prison system is busting at the seams. This bill makes absolutely no sense at all," said Del. Clarence Davis, D-Baltimore city.

It passed the House by a vote of 125-11.

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