Delegation agrees to push local bills

January 16, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County lawmakers agreed Wednesday to seek five local bills on issues ranging from massage parlors to liquor license fees.

Lawmakers did not discuss what promises to be their most controversial request from the Washington County Commissioners, a transfer tax, because it did not reach them in time for their meeting.

At its first meeting of the 90-day session, the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly voted unanimously Wednesday to seek bills that will:

  • Permit local regulation of massage parlors to prevent them from being used as fronts for prostitution.

  • Increase the cost of pouring licenses at larger establishments by $250 each.

  • Allow the Washington County Sheriff to let people charged with nonviolent crimes await trial on home detention.

  • Allow the Washington County Commissioners to conduct criminal background checks on prospective employees.

  • Exempt the county from having to advertise when it wants to lease property for less than $2,000 a month.

The Washington County Commissioners voted Tuesday to ask lawmakers for the authority to tax real estate transfers. A 1 percent tax would generate an estimated $1.2 million a year.

Lawmakers might discuss that issue next Wednesday, said Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, who was unanimously elected delegation chairman for the session.

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