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Solicitation ban bill brought back to life

April 04, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A Washington County bill to ban roadside solicitations for charity died and then was brought back to life within 24 hours.

The action happened in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, on which Sen. Alex X. Mooney sits.

When the bill came up for a committee vote Wednesday, Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, said he opposed the legislation on the grounds that it would take away people's personal freedoms.

The committee killed the bill on a 7-to-3 vote.

Mooney said that even though he opposes the legislation, he did not intend to kill it. He was the only opponent of the bill in the eight-member Washington County delegation.

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Mooney told delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee about the bill's loss and McKee arranged to have a letter hand-delivered to the committee within hours.

The letter from Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, asked the committee members to rethink their action based on the importance of the legislation to the local community.

"I think that's a very important bill because it's just a traffic accident waiting to happen," Munson said.

Solicitors stand on Halfway Boulevard near Valley Mall and approach people in their cars. Often, they are seeking money for out-of-state charities, he said.

Other counties have enacted similar bans.

Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Brian E. Frosh, D-Montgomery, said it would take a unanimous vote of the committee to reconsider the bill. Mooney did not oppose the reconsideration.

The bill passed 10-1 the second time around, with Mooney as the lone vote against.

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