A joint committee of House and Senate lawmakers will hear testimony on the divisive abortion issue in Annapolis on Thursday, Jan. 31, Sen. Walter M. Baker, D-Eastern Shore, announced yesterday.
The public hearing is expected to focus on several abortion bills, including a proposal to enact a "clean" codification of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion, as well as a more moderate measure requiring parental consent for minors to obtain abortions.
Two bills to mandate testing for the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS were introduced in the Senate yesterday by Sen. Nancy L. Murphy, D-Balto. Co.
One measure would require that health-care facilities inform an individual that a blood sample would be taken and tested for the presence of HIV before the person undergoes surgery. The other bill would require health-care facilities to develop written procedures for testing an individual for HIV when a confirmed exposure to the virus has occurred.
Proponents of stricter gun laws are hoping Gov. William Donald Schaefer's support will put the state back into the lead for new restrictions on weapons.
Aides to Schaefer say the administration will introduce two gun bills Friday. One would ban the sale of new assault rifles and require owners of existing ones to obtain special permits. The other would require gun owners to keep their weapons under lock and key if minors can get to them.
Both will draw opposition from the National Rifle Association, said NRA spokesman Richard Manning. He said the NRA is considering sponsoring legislation of its own, including one bill that would make it easier for people who already own a gun to get a permit to buy another one.
Schaefer is expected to announce another bill Friday that would require people on parole and probation to pay for part of their supervision. The fees could generate an estimated $2 million for the state during the budget year that begins July 1.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. announced that Peter Kumpa, a political columnist for The Evening Sun, will be joining his legislative staff to handle media relations "on a non-partisan basis" for the 47-member upper body of the General Assembly.
Kumpa, 64, who is retiring from the newspaper's staff, joined the Baltimore Sun in 1948. His later assignments included foreign coverage, the White House and national political conventions.