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Delegation agrees on three bills

tables others

January 31, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

ANNAPOLIS -- Washington County's delegation in the Maryland General Assembly discussed eight bills Wednesday and agreed to file three as delegation bills.

The following three bills were filed as delegation bills, Karen Frank, the delegation's legislative assistant, said Thursday:

· The Washington County Board of License Commissioners, commonly called the liquor board, must get an annual audit, with copies provided to the board and delegation members.

· Certain record-keeping and filing duties of the county clerk would be altered.

· The Washington County Commissioners, rather than the governor, would fill school board vacancies. Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., the delegation chairman, said a few other counties, including Frederick, fill vacancies locally.

"I have some heartburn about this," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, the only one in the delegation to vote against the bill Wednesday.

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Other bills

Other bills that came up during Wednesday's delegation meeting would:

· Clarify law enforcement powers for Hagerstown's fire marshals: Del. John P. Donoghue and Munson will file individual matching House and Senate versions of the bill.

· Strengthen the county's regulations on tip-jar gaming: Tabled, so James B. Hovis, the county's gaming director, could talk to the delegation.

· Give the county commissioners power to require that sidewalks along public streets be maintained, except in incorporated municipalities. Also, the county commissioners may adopt regulations for removing snow and ice from sidewalks: Tabled; some delegation members were concerned about how far-reaching the regulations might be.

· Letting a state agency intercept income-tax refunds of former tenants who owe money to the housing authorities in Washington County. Tabled, so the delegation can check why the same bill did not pass last year.

· Allowing sidewalk cafés to serve alcohol in Hagerstown and allowing catering businesses to serve alcohol off-site. Robert L. Everhart, the chairman of the liquor board, said cafés in Hagerstown would first have to meet city standards before getting an alcohol license. Also, the Hagerstown Suns' pouring license would switch from a restaurant-type license to a stadium license, with no noticeable difference for customers, Everhart said. Tabled; delegation members had questions.

At least some tabled bills, plus a county request to change its excise tax, are expected to come up Wednesday, when the county commissioners meet with the delegation in Annapolis.

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