Drug program at riskThe state's worsening fiscal condition...

CAPITAL MATTERS

February 21, 1991

Drug program at risk

The state's worsening fiscal condition has imperiled a planned expansion of a program that provides residential treatment for drug- and alcohol-dependent adolescents.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer and fellow members of the Board of Public Works declined yesterday to approve a $6.4 million, 28-month contract that would have paid for 32 beds at treatment centers throughout the state.

The state program, which currently supports 20 beds, was recommended for expansion by the governor's drug and alcohol abuse commission. Officials said the expansion would have allowed about 80 more teens to get help each year.

The program pays for individuals whose families do not have private insurance, cannot afford to pay for treatment themselves and do not qualify for federal assistance. "The consensus of the board is rather than expand, we will continue [with] what we have," Governor Schaefer said.

GOP for open meetings

House Republicans formally endorsed yesterday a Senate bill that would strengthen Maryland's open meetings law.

"Maryland's current open meetings law is unique in the scope and breadth of its loopholes," said House Minority Leader Ellen R. Sauerbrey, R-Baltimore County. "It's almost impossible to violate the letter of the law as it now stands -- the exemptions are that loosely drafted."

The bill, drafted by a Senate work group last summer and fall, is scheduled for a public hearing today before the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee. The measure would establish a new "Open Meetings Law Compliance Board" to make quick rulings on which meetings must be legally opened to the public, and it would tighten or eliminate many of the law's current exemptions.

Many of the proposed changes have been opposed by the Schaefer administration and by representatives of county and municipal governments and school boards.

Quote of the day

"I've stopped writing now because they are no longer private letters."

-- Gov. William Donald Schaefer commenting on letters he has written that have drawn unpleasant publicity

Today

10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.

11 a.m.: House Appropriations Committee considers reorganization plan for Departments of Human Resources and Health and Mental Hygiene, Room 130, House Office Building.

1 p.m.: Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee considers bill to strengthen Maryland's open meetings law, Room 200, Senate Office Building.

1 p.m.: House Judiciary Committee considers "statute of repose" legislation involving lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers and others, Room 120, House Office Building.

2 p.m.: House Appropriations subcommittee considers budget of the judicial branch of government, Room 431, House Office Building.

There are 46 days remaining in the 1991 General Assembly session.

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