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Delegate is sure air money will be saved

March 18, 2002

Even though the Senate has eliminated a $2 million subsidy for Hagerstown's air service to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the cut may be only superficial.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany, said he'll make sure the money remains in the 2003 budget.

"It'll stay. It's a three-year program," Taylor said confidently last week.

The service, which also serves his hometown of Cumberland, Md., just got off the ground in late December.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said Senate leaders wanted to cut the program so they would have a bargaining chip in the budget conference committee, where the final decision will be made.

Power wielded during committee meeting


Lawmakers who chair committees wield most of the power in the General Assembly, as Sen. Walter M. Baker distinctly demonstrated last week.

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Baker, D-Eastern Shore, who chairs the Judicial Proceedings Committee, thought he made it clear during a voting session that the committee should kill a bill to prevent judges from reducing the sentences of child sexual offenders.

He was concerned that its passage would jeopardize the passage of a separate bill dealing with sentence revisions in general.

But as he called the roll, there were a lot of "yes" votes going around.

Baker stood up and called a 15-minute recess, abruptly stopping the vote.

"You guys want to play games, here play games," Baker said and walked out of the committee room.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Timothy Ferguson, R-Frederick/Carroll, who is on the committee, went into Baker's office and both emerged smiling several minutes later.

The verdict: the bill will be held.

The move kept the bill alive, but it doesn't bode well for the bill's future just three weeks from the end of the legislative session.

Gun control advocate explains hunting bill


Sen. Brian E. Frosh, D-Montgomery, is known around the state capital for taking strong positions in favor of gun control, so it was ironic that he was charged with explaining a very complicated hunting license bill on the Senate floor last week.

When he was finished, gun-rights advocate Sen. Walter M. Baker, D-Eastern Shore, complimented Frosh on his detailed hunting knowledge.

Frosh said he has only been hunting once.

"The sign said 'bear left' so we went home," Frosh said. (Groan.)

- Laura Ernde

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