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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


March 19, 2007

General Assembly Journal 2007-9

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Three weeks to go in this year’s General Assembly session and yet 90% of the work remains to be done.

As the chairman of the Frederick Delegation, a major responsibility of the office is to track the status of the bills submitted on behalf of the county. That includes the commissioner’s, the county’s Board of Education, and the county’s Board of Elections packages, and the local bond bills.

I use this information as a tool to track the bills, and more importantly, as a means of communicating this status to all of the people who are interested or need access to this information. That group would include the various elected officials, the media, and interested citizens who have asked to be kept updated.

The bond bills with funding requested for local projects (often called pork) will be decided next week. There were over $120 million in local projects requested statewide, but less than $20 million is available to pay for them. I would be shocked if we received much money at all, but ever the optimist!

Here’s what we send out each week:

FREDERICK COUNTY DELEGATION BILL PROFILES

BOND BILLS to be heard by Senate

HB 196 Frederick County - Public Facilities Bonds

SB 957 First Reading House: Appropriations (Heard: February 6, 2007, 1:00 p.m.)

Senate: Budget and Taxation (Hearing: March 20, 2007, 1:00 p.m.)

This bill allows the county commissioners to sell general obligation bonds to cover county capital projects for the next two years.

HB 990 Employees' Pension System - Alternate Contributory Pension Selection

SB 961 First Reading House: Appropriations (Hearing: March 19, 2007, 1:00 p.m.) Senate: Budget and Taxation (Hearing: March 22, 2007, 8:30 a.m.)

This bill would enable the commissioners to provide a similar pension benefit to county employees who participate in the state pension system as that received by state employees

BOND BILLS already heard by House and Senate

HB 252 Collective Bargaining - Representatives for Correctional Officers

SB 565 Third Reading Passed House

Senate: Budget and Taxation (Hearing: March 1, 2007)

Allows Sheriff Chuck Jenkins to negotiate with the Fraternal Order of Police Unit that represents the Correctional Officers that work at the county jail. Deputies already have that authority, as do career firefighters.

HB 193 Way Station

SB 95 First Reading House: Appropriations & Senate Budget & Tax

(Heard: March 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.)

Provides $250,000 of funding to Way Station to construct a parking facility for use at their West Patrick Street locations.

HB 194 Agriculture and Education Complex

SB 37 First Reading House: Appropriations & Senate Budget & Tax

(Heard: March 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.)

Second year funding ($300,000) for the construction of a facility at Mt. Zion Road on Rt. 340. All regulatory and agricultural outreach facilities will be combined in one location.

HB 238 YMCA

SB 603 First Reading House: Appropriations & Senate Budget & Tax

(Heard: March 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.)

Funding ($350,000) for a major expansion of the YMCA on North Market Street.

HB 287 C&O Canal National Historic Catoctin Aqueduct

SB 94 First Reading House: Appropriations & Senate Budget & Tax

(Heard: March 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.)

Funding ($450,000) to rebuild the Aqueduct over Catoctin Creek on the C&O Canal Towpath south of Brunswick.

HB 304 Harry Grove Stadium Renovation

SB 906 First Reading House: Appropriations & Senate Budget & Tax

(Heard: March 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.)

Funding ($2,000,000) for an expansion and redesign of the Keys’ Grove Stadium ballpark.

HB 1385 Maryland Museum of Civil War History at Landon House

SB 948 First Reading House: Appropriations & Senate Budget & Tax

(Heard: March 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.)

Funding ($300,000) to build a 3,000 square foot Museum in the basement of the Landon House in Urbana.

BILLS THAT HAVE PASSED HOUSE

HB 179 Frederick County - Board of Education - Nonvoting Student Member

SB 153 House: Ways and Means Third Reading Passed House

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: Feb. 14, 2007)

Creation of a formal, non-voting student member of the Board of Education.

HB 426 Frederick County - Board of Education - Repeal of Spousal Exclusion

House: Ways and Means Third Reading Passed House

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: March 9, 2007) NO SENATE CROSSFILE

Elimination of the spousal exclusion, which currently prohibits people from running for the BOE if they have a spouse working in the system. This bill is in serious trouble, as neither Senator supports it.

HB 195 Frederick County - Alcoholic Beverages - Special License

SB 96 House: Economic Matters Third Reading Passed House

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: Feb. 16, 2007)

Allows Holy Family Catholic Church in Middletown to sell alcoholic beverages in conjunction with their fundraising activities. Similar to last year’s bill for another county church.

HB 320 Frederick County - Alcoholic Beverages - Tables and Chairs at Wineries

SB 958 House: Economic Matters Third Reading Passed House

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: March 13, 2007)

Allows Frederick Cellar in downtown Frederick to have tables and chairs in their lobby.

HB 905 Frederick Co. - Procurement Contracts - Architectural and Engineering Services

SB 960 House: Health and Government Operations

Second Reading Passed House

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: March 13, 2007)

Allows the county to use a provision in state law to award engineering contracts based on qualification, not just low bidder.

BILLS to be heard by House

HB 1091 Frederick County Board of Elections - Salary Increase

SB 959 House: Ways and Means (Hearing: March 22, 2007, 1:00 p.m.)

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: March 13, 2007)

Increases the salaries of the Board of Elections, goes into affect for the next board.

HB 1344 Frederick County Commissioners - Zoning and Planning - Public Ethics

SB 979 House: Environmental Matters (Hearing not yet scheduled)

Senate: Education Health and Environmental Affairs (Heard: March 13, 2007)

This is the bill I’ve covered so extensively in the past, the big compromise bill on ex parte disclosure and campaign finance prohibitions.

BILLS pending in House

HB 200 Frederick County - Road Projects - Repeal of State Match Requirement

House: Environmental Matters (Heard: February 15, 2007, 1:00 p.m.)

No Senate Crossfile

This is the bill that would allow the County to spend excise tax money on highway and road projects without having to wait for matching funds from the state. The bill’s success will be tied to whether the senators support it or not.

BILLS Unfavorable or Withdrawn

HB 199 BOCC - Prohibition of Discriminatory Housing Practices

House: Health and Government Operations WITHDRAWN

The Fair Housing bill that was facing a major amendment that would have changed the bill. This will be back next year. The question is how will the Board of County Commissioners deal with the issue of housing discrimination for gays and lesbians.

HB 192 Alcohol Beverages – Underage Consumption

House: Judiciary UNFAVORABLE

This is a three-time loser. Clearly, this bill doesn’t have snowball’s chance in Hell of passage; so hopefully, it won’t be back again next year.



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