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Legislative briefs

March 19, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

Trauma center subsidy passes in state house


ANNAPOLIS - Legislation to subsidize trauma centers through a $10 increase in the driver's license renewal fee passed the Maryland House of Delegates Tuesday.

If approved by the Senate, the cost of a five-year driver's license would increase from $30 to $40.

The money would be used to help pay trauma surgeons' costs for being on call and treating uninsured patients.

The legislation was prompted by last summer's closure of the Washington County Hospital trauma center over the issue of surgeon pay.




Mooney reverses stance on death penalty freeze


ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney reversed his position on the death penalty Tuesday, becoming the swing vote that killed a proposed moratorium.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, favored halting executions two years ago.

But on Tuesday, he voted against a proposed moratorium. The bill died by one vote in the Senate.

A recent report showed that the death penalty was not being applied disproportionately to blacks more than whites, he said.

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Mooney said he also thought about the people who were convicted of murder in the 1980s who are still sitting on death row.

"The law of the time should be carried out," he said.




Discovery Station Inc. could forfeit state grant


ANNAPOLIS - Developers of an interactive children's museum in Hagerstown will forfeit a $25,000 state grant if they decide on a new location for the project, officials said Tuesday.

Washington County lawmakers had sought legislation to give Discovery Station Inc. more time to draw on the grant, which was approved two years ago for use at the Tusing Warehouse behind the North Potomac Street parking lot.

But they were forced to withdraw the legislation Tuesday after they learned that the volunteer board is looking at other more visible downtown locations for the museum.

By state law, the grant must be used at the Tusing site, said Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.




Lobbyist speaks against chain liquor store bill


ANNAPOLIS - A bill to ban out-of-state chain liquor stores from moving into Washington County would hurt consumers, a policy analyst testified Tuesday.

Tom Firey of the Maryland Public Policy Institute told the House Economic Matters Committee that the legislation prevents competition.

Under the proposed legislation, out-of-state liquor license holders would not be able to get a package store license in Washington County.

The Washington County Restaurant and Beverage Association requested the bill.

Lou Thomas, who owns the Yellow House tavern near Boonsboro, said mom and pop establishments do a better job of checking to make sure their customers are 21.

Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County have similar restrictions.

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