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Annapolis Notes

February 01, 2009

Serafini files first bill

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, sponsored his first bill last week -- legislation making it illegal to buy a child.

The House of Delegates' Judiciary Committee heard the bill Tuesday. Serafini was appointed to fill a vacant seat during last year's legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Serafini said he was expecting the committee to give him a "hard time." However, the committee asked Serafini no questions about the bill after his presentation, and he said the process went smoothly.

Delegation supports renaming portion of highway for Nicholson

Washington County's delegation to the Maryland General Assembly is supporting naming a portion of Interstate 70 in honor of slain Smithsburg Police Officer Christopher Nicholson.

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Delegation Chairman Del. LeRoy E. Myers, R-Washington/Allegany, said the delegation will send a letter in support of the dedication to the Maryland State Highway Administration.

The portion of I-70 requested for the honor is the same area where a 50-vehicle pileup occurred in January. Two women were killed in that crash.

Serafini elected vice chairman of delegation

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, was elected vice chairman of Washington County's delegation to the Maryland General Assembly during the delegation's weekly meeting Wednesday.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, gave up his position as vice chairman and nominated Serafini to take his place. The vote was unanimous, but three members of the delegation had not yet arrived.

Delegation will introduce three bills

Washington County's delegation to the Maryland General Assembly will introduce several bills:

  • The first concerns the regulation of electricians, specifically requirements for master electricians.

  • The second would increase the salary of the Washington County Board of Education president from $5,600 annually, to $6,200. It also would increase Washington County board members' salaries from $5,500 to $6,100 annually.

  • The third would allow Washington County officials to designate the Washington County Mental Health Authority Inc. as the mental-health advisory committee for Washington County.

    Delegation writes letter about bond bills

    The Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly has written a letter asking the legislature not to consider bond bills this year in light of economic circumstances.

    However, if the General Assembly decides to approve bond bills, local lawmakers say they will fight to make sure Washington County gets a piece of that money.

    A bond bill is state money for a capital project. Each year, there is a pool of money for local government requests.

    Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, said it would be hard to denounce bond bills because "everyone is doing it."

    Mooney, Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington, said they've received requests for bond bills they have been delaying introducing out of respect for the delegation's position on bond bills.

    Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said Washington County lawmakers should lead by example by not requesting any bond bills.

    "I don't think anything has changed for the economy or the budget since last week," Shank said. "I still believe that just because everyone else is doing it, is not in my opinion, (a reason we should)."

    While there is money for bond bills in Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed budget, Shank said that money could be removed to reduce the state's budget.

    -- Erin Cunningham

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