Annapolis briefs

March 23, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

House panel hears Health Department bill

A local bill allowing the county health officer to issue civil citations for violations of the health code got little reaction but no opposition in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on Wednesday.

Washington County Delegation Chairman Christopher B. Shank presented the bill on behalf of the county government, telling committee members that the bill had "arisen out of matters where health officers are dealing with nuisance abatement such as standing water or trash."

Violations now go to District Court, and Shank said those cases can sometimes take years to resolve. The bill would allow the health officer to implement a set of fines for health code violations, with the maximum fine being $1,000.

"It's a much more streamlined approach," Shank said.

House bill 1655

House approves Medbank extension

The House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to continue the Maryland Medbank program, which provides free prescription medications to low-income residents with no other prescription coverage.


Since its inception in 2000, the program has distributed $90 million in free medication to 32,000 patients statewide, according to lead sponsor John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

Medbank is administered by a private entity that partners with pharmaceutical companies to distribute the medications.

The Senate approved a companion bill in January.

House bill 822, Senate bill 61

School Board bill hearing today

The House Ways and Means Committee will hear a proposal this afternoon that would form a task force to study how Washington County Board of Education members are elected - and whether they should be elected from districts.

Board members are now elected at large, but concerns of members of the Citizen's Advisory Council for Boonsboro schools and from other outlying areas of the county that they were not adequately represented prompted the Washington County Delegation to sponsor the bill. The bill has drawn opposition from current board members.

Bill hearings are scheduled to begin in the committee at 1 p.m.

House bill 1618

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