Annapolis '91

How Bills Become Laws

January 16, 1991

Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, will discuss how a bill becomes a law and how the state legislature works tonight.

Matthews, chairman of the county's six-member legislative delegation, will have free information packets available.

Registration is required for the 7:30 p.m. meeting at the North Carroll Library on Hanover Pike.

Information: 374-1212.


ANNAPOLIS -- Sen. Charles H. Smelser, D-Carroll,Frederick, Howard, has introduced a bill that would authorize the Taneytown Council and mayor to set the interest rate to be imposed monthly on overdue property tax payments.

A legally established interest rate imposed on overdue property tax would serve as a penalty forlate payments, generate additional revenue for the city and provide incentive to pay bills promptly.

Taneytown officials requested thelegislation, said Smelser.

Governing bodies from 17 other municipalities and counties have been granted the authority by the General Assembly. Taneytown would be the first municipality in Carroll to be granted the authority.

Many jurisdictions with authority to set monthly interest rates for property tax payments are mandated to establish a rate below 1.5 percent or 1 percent. The bill introduced by Smelser does not stipulate a limit for Taneytown.


ANNAPOLIS -- A bill introduced by Delegate Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll, to award good drivers with "safe-driving points" is scheduled for a hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill is intended to keep drivers cited for an occasional traffic violation, such as speeding, from appealing the ticket in court in order to avoid accumulating points on their driver's licenses. Traffic citations carry with them penalty points, which eventually can lead to suspension and revocation of driver's licenses.

Under the bill, one safe driving point would be awarded for each calendar year in which a driver was not assessed points for traffic violations, to amaximum of five points. The credits then would be applied to offset penalty points assessed for violations.

The legislation would helpkeep insurance premiums in check and reduce traffic court cases and the amount of taxpayers' money spent to process them, said Dixon.


ANNAPOLIS -- Former Sen. Sharon W. Hornberger may have survived only one year in the Senate, but legislation sheintroduced is being carried forward by a Baltimore County senator.

Hornberger introduced legislation last year that would allow multi-jurisdictional wiretap orders to be placed on car phones.

Hornberger's bill was designed to aid police in their investigations of drugdealers. It was not passed.

Current law obstructs police in thoseinvestigations, she said, because car phone wiretap orders can be approved by Circuit Court judges only for within their own jurisdictions. A bill introduced Tuesday by Sen. Nancy L. Murphy, D-Baltimore County, would authorize a Circuit Court judge to issue a wiretap order valid in all Maryland jurisdictions, as did Hornberger's proposal.

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