Forestation bill advances
The Senate overwhelmingly approved yesterday an administration bill aimed at preserving Maryland's forests by regulating how many acres of trees must be replanted to make up for those lost through commercial or residential development.
The bill's passage in the Senate was virtually guaranteed because 33 senators had signed on as co-sponsors. The final vote was 42-5.
The bill now moves to the House of Delegates, where it died last year on the final day of the legislative session. This year, Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Kent, said he doesn't expect the bill to have any problems when the House takes it up next week.
Bay plates the rage
Three months into the program, commemorative Chesapeake Bay license plate are running wild.
The state Motor Vehicle Administration has sold more than 69,200 sets of the plates, which feature a drawing of a great blue heron and the phrase, "Treasure the Chesapeake." State officials had expected to sell 100,000 of them during all of this year.
In a ceremony at the Annapolis City Dock yesterday, Gov. William Donald Schaefer congratulated organizers on the program that has raised more than $720,000 for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a non-profit organization. "We're starting to bring the bay back to life, and I see progress," Mr. Schaefer said.
The license plate sets, which are printed on recycled aluminum, sell for $20. Issues that feature the letters, "BAY," sell for $100 to $500 a set. Persons interested in ordering the plates may call 950-1MVA.
Convinced that teachers should have a greater role in deciding what credentials they need, the House of Delegates yesterday approved, 99-25, legislation to establish a new state board to set educational and other standards in the profession.
A similar but less far-reaching measure was vetoed by Governor Schaefer last year.
The new version, which now goes to the Senate, would establish a 25-member board, eight of whom must be public school classroom teachers. The remainder would include appointees recommended by teacher organizations, faculty members from teaching colleges, and the state superintendent of schools.
The new board would assume authority for teacher certification that currently resides with the State Board of Education.
Cruise ship gambling
Overcoming visions of casino ships loaded with gamblers plying the Chesapeake Bay, the House of Delegates approved a bill yesterday that is actually intended to lure cruise ships to the port of Baltimore.
The bill authorizes gambling aboard passenger vessels once they pass the Key Bridge outbound, but defines such ships as weighing 1,250 dead-weight tons, with a capacity of at least 900 passengers. In other words, not your average runabout.
Such vessels also must be licensed and registered as cruise ships and must be on an itinerary of at least 36 hours originating in the port of Baltimore but with an interim or final destination outside of the continental limits of the United States.
Quote of the day
"It's all-encompassing. It would cover any sexual orientation, even anything that is normal."
Delegate John S. Arnick, D-Baltimore, explaining a failed bill that would have required reports of crimes against individuals because of their sexual orientation
1'10 a.m.: Senate convenes, State House.
11 a.m.: House convenes, State House.
1 p.m.: Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considers bills involving property tax issues, Room 100, Senate Office Building.
There are 18 days remaining in the 1991 General Assembly session.