SHA says political sign season has begun

July 24, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Saturday was a small milestone date for Maryland political candidates trying to attract voters' eyes.

That was the first day candidates were allowed to place election signs on property outside of state rights-of-way.

The State Highway Administration sent a reminder last week that advertising and campaign signs are not allowed on medians, shoulders, existing traffic sign structures or other right-of-way areas.

"Maintenance crews will remove illegally placed signs and hold them at local maintenance shops for a short time to enable owners to retrieve them," SHA's announcement says.

That hasn't happened so far in Washington County, although real estate and advertising signs have been removed, Gary Shank, SHA's resident maintenance engineer in the county, said Friday.


Unsuccessful candidates in the Sept. 12 primary must remove their signs by Sept. 27. All campaign signs must come down by Nov. 22, which is 15 days after the general election.

Health coalition wants higher tobacco tax

A coalition called Health Care For All is asking all Maryland General Assembly candidates to pledge to support a $1-a-pack increase in the state's tobacco tax.

"Maryland voters are going to ask candidates this year - whose side are you on, the tobacco companies or our children and the uninsured," Vincent DeMarco, the president of Health Care For All, wrote in an e-mail.

The state's Department of Legislative Services has figured that the tax would bring in $211 million, said Glenn Schneider, the executive director of the coalition, also known as Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

But, he said, Health Care For All is counting on a more conservative estimate of $155 million per year.

Most of the money would be used to expand health-care coverage. It also would pay for tobacco-use prevention and cessation efforts, a health-insurance program for small businesses and specialist care through community health centers.

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