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Annapolis notes 3-11-02

March 11, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

Annapolis

Yet another local lawmaker is suffering from health problems this session.

Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington, was getting around with help of a wheelchair last week because of an arthritis flare-up.

Meanwhile, Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said physical therapy doesn't seem to be helping his knee, which was injured in a December car accident.

The good news is the youngest member of the delegation, 30-year-old Sen. Alex X. Mooney, has shown some improvement to his ailing eyes.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, is still wearing sunglasses to counter sensitivity to light, but he seems to be recovering from eye problems that arose five weeks after laser eye surgery that corrected his nearsightedness.

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Del. John P. Donoghue's committee has crafted legislation that ensures the continuation of the Senior Prescription Drug Program.

For a premium of $10 a month, seniors who sign up for the program fill their prescriptions for $10, $20 or $35 each, depending on the drug. Yearly benefits are capped at $1,000.

"I think the seniors will be happy," said Donoghue, D-Washington.

The program should continue through 2005 unless the federal government passes a prescription drug plan for Medicare recipients, according to a bill written by the House Economic Matters Committee.

The cost of the program is covered mainly by CareFirst's 2-percent premium tax exemption.

A vote trade by two local lawmakers is working out better for Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, than Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

Hecht's bill passed the House last week after winning the support of Shank's committee.

But Hecht's committee killed Shank's bill, despite Hecht's backing.

Hecht's bill, which now moves to the Senate, would allow drivers of low-emission vehicles to use the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Shank's bill would have allowed kennels on land protected by agricultural preservation easements.

The two agreed to support each other's bills in a handshake deal on the House floor a few weeks ago.

A Washington County man has been reappointed to the Maryland Economic Development Commission.

Gov. Parris Glendening has tapped Malcolm D. Davis, owner of Davis, Renn and Associates of Hagerstown, for another three-year term.

The appointment must still be confirmed by the Senate.

- Staff writer Laura Ernde

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