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Glendening signs two Washington County bills into law

April 10, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - Two bills that will cost Washington County government about $6,400 a year were among the first to be signed into law by Gov. Parris Glendening on Tuesday.

One gives Washington County Orphans Court judges a $1,000-a-year pay raise. The other lets the Washington County Commissioners exempt the Hagerstown Soccer Club Inc. from paying property taxes.

Eleven hours after the 90-day session ended, Glendening signed 95 bills into law.

The most far-reaching changes Glendening signed into law Tuesday are designed to strengthen Maryland's ability to respond to a terrorist attack.

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Separate bills address the need to prevent terrorists from accessing public records, create a Security Council to advise the governor, and expand the governor's powers in case of an attack.

"We all hope we never have to use any of these powers. If an event does occur in Maryland we are far, far better prepared right now as a result of laws we've signed today," Glendening said.

Most of the bills Glendening signed Tuesday deal with local issues.

"All politics are local. These bills are very important to a lot of people," Glendening said.

The two Washington County bills will:

- Increase the salaries of Washington County Orphans Court judges from $6,000 to $7,000 a year starting Dec. 2, 2002.

The Maryland Department of Legislative Services estimates the pay raise will cost the county about $5,300 a year. The salaries were last increased in 1989, from $4,700 to $6,000.

- Allow the Washington County Commissioners to exempt the Hagerstown Soccer Club Inc. from paying property taxes on its 20 acres of fields in Cearfoss.

The club pays about $1,100 annually in taxes on the property, according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.

Washington County delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, did not attend the bill-signing ceremony, held on the second floor of the State House.

"The important aspect of our job is to move the legislation and get it passed. It's his job to sign it," McKee said.

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