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Legislature passes bills that impact local area

April 09, 2001

Legislature passes bills that impact local area



Some bills of local interest that passed the Maryland General Assembly this session:

UNDERCOVER PURCHASES - Lets Washington County police agencies make secret purchases for undercover investigations. Right now, investigators must seek bids for purchases over $25,000.

PRIME OUTLETS - Allows Prime Outlets at Hagerstown to hold the same type of sidewalk exhibitions as Valley Mall.

FIREFIGHTER TAX CREDIT - Authorizes the Washington County Commissioners to offer a property tax credit to fire and rescue volunteers. The commissioners, if they decide to use the power, would decide the details of the tax credit.

LIQUOR LOOPHOLE - Closes a loophole in Washington County's liquor laws that allowed the inmate population at the state prison complex south of Hagerstown to count toward new liquor licenses.

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RAINY DAY FUND - Allows the Washington County Commissioners to set up a Rainy Day Fund to set aside money for tough economic times.

ELECTION BOARD SALARIES - Increases the pay for Washington County Board of Elections members and judges. The Election Board president will make $5,000 a year, members will make $4,500 a year, chief election judges will make $125 per day and election judges will make $100 per day.

HOTEL TAX - Lets the Washington County Commissioners use some hotel tax revenues to pay for advertising and legal fees associated with collecting the 6 percent tax.

SHERIFF'S SALARY - Increases the Washington County Sheriff's salary from $55,000 to $67,500 in January 2003, after the next election.

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING - Introduced by Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, stops gas stations from advertising "mid-grade" gas as "premium" on their highway signs. Some convenience stores were using misleading terms to make it seem like their prices were lower. The correct terms and grades are labeled on the pump.

PREDATORY PRICING - Protects small gas station owners from alleged predatory pricing practices of larger chains by banning the sale of gas at less than cost.

FIRETRUCK EMERGENCY LIGHTS - Allows firetruck drivers to turn on their emergency lights as a warning signal when backing into their stations. The bill was sponsored by Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, and Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington.

USS COLE RESOLUTION - Recognizes and memorializes the deaths of 17 Americans, including two Washington County residents, in the Oct. 12 bombing of the Navy warship.

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