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Doleman museum funding extension was part of late-session action

April 12, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — Publicity and an extended deadline for claiming state funding will help the Doleman Black Heritage Museum with its fundraising efforts.

On the last day of the legislative session Monday, the Maryland General Assembly voted, as part of a fiscal 2012 capital budget agreement, to give the Hagerstown museum's board another two years to present evidence of matching money to claim a $25,000 grant.

The state approved the grant in 2009. The museum had until June 1, 2011, to prove it had matching money, but now will get two more years through a request by Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

Alesia Parson-McBean, a museum supporter, said a benefactor has stepped forward with a donation.

"This is definitely the funds that we need to ensure that we can move forward," she said Tuesday.

The museum group plans to reveal the benefactor at a news conference next week.

The Doleman museum bill was one of several related to Washington County decided in the final days of the 2011 legislative session.

Two of those bills were filed by Donoghue. One changes the definitions for practicing physical therapy. The other changes the definition of abuse at a state residential center.

Other local bills approved in the session's waning days were:

  • A Washington County delegation bill to require criminal history checks for local liquor license applicants was approved Monday. A Senate version of the bill, filed by Sen. Christopher B. Shank, passed a few days earlier. House and Senate versions of other county initiatives also passed near the end of the session, including measures allowing microbreweries and wine festivals in Washington County, repealing the requirement that Washington County make an annual $500,000 contribution to a water and sewer debt-reduction fund and elevating the status of alternates on the county board of elections.
  • Separate versions of a bill proposing quicker and fairer sanctions for parole and probation violators. Del. Michael J. Hough, R-Frederick/Washington, sponsored one version; the other version was Shank's.
  • A bill sponsored by Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, clarifying that a campground should not be defined as a "public service company" under the state's utilities law.
  • A bill by Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington, altering the guidelines for local government spending connected to Program Open Space.

Another Edwards bill that was approved gives a tax credit for tuition for teachers at correctional and juvenile facilities. A third bill changes the definition of a "qualified distressed county" for certain purposes.

  • Two election-related bills filed by Sen. Ronald N. Young, D-Frederick/Washington, creating a more accurate statewide voter registration list and letting people register to vote online.



Bill signing

Shank's version of the wine-festival bill was among six local bills Gov. Martin O'Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. were scheduled to sign on Tuesday.

Four on the list were sponsored by Edwards, including:

  • Changing the law governing small rural electric cooperatives
  • Changing the requirements for service stations' fuel signs
  • Increasing the penalty from $500 to $2,500 for damaging stakes or markers placed on someone else's property by a civil engineer, surveyor or real estate appraiser or their assistants
  • Changing the law governing a type of hydrogenerating facility

A second Shank bill on the signing list will add the Internal Investigation Unit of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.

Edwards and Shank did not attend Tuesday's bill-signing ceremony.

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