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Area GOP lawmakers see agenda they like

December 16, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - When they get to Annapolis next month, Republican lawmakers will see something they haven't seen in a long time - a legislative agenda they can agree with.

"It represents a sea change from the outlook of the prior administration," Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington said.

While Gov. Parris Glendening favored gun safety legislation, Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. wants to crack down on criminals with guns.

Ehrlich plans to offer legislation in January for Project Exile, which mandates stiff sentences for repeat offenders and people charged with crimes involving illegal guns.

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He also plans to seek bills establishing charter schools and setting up a state government body to manage the delivery of health and human services through faith-based institutions.

Local Republican lawmakers were reserving final judgment until they see the specifics, but said they agree with the concepts.

Republicans have tried to pass Project Exile legislation in the past but were not successful.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said he hopes Ehrlich can break the bottleneck.

Del.-elect LeRoy E. Myers Jr. did not want to comment about Project Exile. But he said he supports the concept of charter schools as long as it does not go as far as becoming a voucher program.

"I've always looked at private schools as a choice," he said.

Because of his Christian background, Myers said he would support faith-based initiatives.

Shank said the REACH cold weather shelter is a good example of a faith-based effort in Washington County. REACH stands for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

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