Lights Bill Is Killed

March 06, 1991

ANNAPOLIS — An attempt by Carroll volunteer firefighters to gain permission to equip their personal vehicles with portable flashing lights has been --ed for a third straight year by the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee voted 19-2 against the bill sponsored by the Carroll delegation that would have allowed designated fire-police officers to useflashing red and white lights on their vehicles at the scene of an accident or other emergency. Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, the delegation chairman, was one of the two delegates voting for the bill.

The County Volunteer Fireman's Association sought the law to protect the fire-police officers -- volunteers who are deputized by the County Sheriff's Department and who help police direct traffic and clear accident scenes.

Several fire-police officers who attended the hearing said they have nearly been run over by motorists who did not notice flares in the road or hand-held flashlights.

The Maryland State Police opposed the bill, saying the flashing lights could confuse the public. They also expressed concern that fire-police officers might abuse the privilege and turn on the lights en route to an emergency scene. The agency's opposition effectively doomed the bill, said Matthews.


ANNAPOLIS -- The House Environmental Matters Committee rejected, by a 19-2 vote, a bill sponsored by Delegate Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard, to require state residents owning a vehicle to contribute toward the state's Vehicle EmissionsInspection Program.

The committee's chairman, Delegate Ronald A. Guns, D-Eastern Shore, made it clear to Elliott and committee membersat the hearing that he objected to the bill, which would have spreadcosts for the program designed to meet federal clean air standards.

Currently, only seven metropolitan counties, including Carroll, and Baltimore City pay for the inspection program, which the state musthave to receive federal money for transportation improvements. Up toseven more counties could be added because amendments added to the Clean Air Act last year made pollution standards more stringent.

Most rural counties on the Eastern Shore, however, would remain exempt from the program. Guns represents several of those counties. Motorists in the metropolitan areas now pay for the program through an $8.50 fee charged every two years to have their cars inspected.

Elliott recommended two options: levying a statewide surcharge estimated at $3.80 annually for every Maryland resident registering a vehicle ; or pro-rating the fee on a county-by-county basis, based on whether the jurisdiction is in the program and its estimated overall contributionto air pollution in the program area.


ANNAPOLIS -- Construction of the Public Safety Training Center, originally slated to receive about $7 million this year, could be deferred tohelp balance the fiscal 1991 budget.

The legislature has proposedtransferring the $7 million to the general fund.


* Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll, Baltimore, was elected to the Senate in 1990. He is a member of the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee. His telephone number in Annapolis is (301) 841-3683; in Carroll, 876-4530 or 876-6564.

* Sen. Charles H. Smelser, D-Carroll, Frederick, Howard, has been in the Senate since 1967.He served in the House from 1955 to 1963. He is a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and chairman of the Senate Capital Budget Subcommittee. His telephone number in Annapolis is (301) 841-3704.

* Delegate Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll, has been in the House since 1983. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Budget and Audit and the Joint Committee on Pensions. His telephone number in Annapolis is (301) 841-3371; in Carroll, 848-6943.

* Delegate Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll,Howard, has been in the House since 1987. He is a member of the House Environmental Matters Committee. His telephone number in Annapolis is (301) 841-3371; in Carroll, 848-5373.

* Delegate Lawrence A. LaMotte, D-Carroll, Baltimore, has been in the House since 1983. He is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health and Environment and a member of the House Environmental Matters Committee. His telephone number in Annapolis is (301) 841-3109; in Baltimore County, (301) 461-5548.

* Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, has been in the House since 1967. 239-3400.

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