WASHINGTON — Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, has introduced a proposal intended to encourage federal employees to participate in bone-marrow donor programs that will be taken up for consideration as part of the appropriations bill for treasury, postal and general government operations later this summer.
The bill will give up to seven days paid leave in a single calendar year to any federal employee who is part of a bone-marrow or other organ donor program and is identified as a match for a recipient.
Byron said she offered the legislation as a means of stimulating participation and to provide an example for other employers to follow.
"Among the reasons people don't register for bone-marrow donations is the difficulty in obtaining paid or unpaid leave from employers," Byron said.
"Another impediment is employees may not have accrued the leave time necessary. My bill eases these constraints on federal employees and will, hopefully, encourage private sector employers to do the same," she said.
The National Marrow Donor Program has aregistry of 313,000 potential donors. But, with the chances of a match being one in 20,000, many more donors are needed to satisfy the estimated 16,000 people waiting for bone-marrow transplants.
Byron said she is being tested for her suitability as a donor.
Bone-marrow cells generate blood cells for the body, and defects in bone marrowresult in serious blood disorders, such as leukemia and Hodgkin's disease.
Bone-marrow transplants, a procedure pioneered by Nobel Prize winner Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, is the preferred method of treatmentfor blood disorders.
PLEA BARGAINING BLASTED
HAMPSTEAD -- Delegate Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, a longtime critic of plea bargaining, has said he will try again to get legislation approved to prohibit plea bargains for anyone charged with a violent crime who has previously been convicted of a violent crime.
"The practice of plea bargaining has distorted guilt and innocence, crime and punishment, beyond recognition," Matthews said.
Referring to previous unsuccessful attempts to limit plea bargaining, Matthews is hoping the nearly one-third new General Assembly members will view the issue differently.
"Plea bargaining is the best deal a criminal can have," the delegate said. "He pleads guilty to a lesser crime in return for a lenient sentence or probation."
Matthews noted that plea bargaining "has run wild. And the jury trial has become a rare event in the criminal justice system."
Bureau of Justice statistics show that nine out of 10 felony convictions are the result of guilty pleas.
"Plea bargaining run wild often induces the innocent to pleadguilty to get what they think is the better deal," he said. "When they go for the plea bargain, they know they will get a light sentence,and best of all, they can go home right away.
"If they don't plead guilty and can't raise bail money, they know they will sit in jail and wait for their trial," he said.
Matthews stressed that his bill will not abolish plea bargaining, but will put reasonable limits onits use by denying it to repeat violent offenders.
"Clogged courtdockets and cost to the state notwithstanding, the public is outraged at a system which plea bargains a rape charge to assault and puts violent criminals out on the street on probation," Matthews said.
MAYOR SWEARS IN COUNCIL
DATELINE: NEW WINDSOR
NEW WINDSOR -- Mayor James C. Carlisle will swear in the newly elected councilmen at Wednesday's regular session.
Incumbents Everett R. Ecker, D. Kenneth Grimes and Terry Petry were all re-elected May 14 to four-year terms.
Adiscussion on recycling telephone books will be on the agenda. The council also will consider annexing several acres of the Jack Gullo property on Wakefield Valley Road.
Since most of the Town Council will be participating in the annual Firemen's Carnival parade, the meeting will not begin until about 8 p.m.
DATE SET FOR HEARING
DATELINE: MOUNT AIRY
MOUNT AIRY -- The Town Council set a public hearing on two proposed changes to subdivision regulations.
The hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. July 1, before the council's regular monthly meeting.
One change would require developers to either set aside areas in subdivisions for recreation or pay a fee that would be used in the town's park system.
The other would allow the council more leeway in returning the bonding amount a developer sets aside for landscaping in a subdivision.
Also on Monday, the council approved three committee appointments offered by Mayor Gerald R. Johnson Jr. The appointments are: Louise Beck to the town election board, Sandra Day to the recycling committee and Roman Stolinski to the planning commission.
Stolinski becomes the alternate member on the planning commission. The current alternate, John Mussleman, becomes a regular member, filling the seat vacated by Faye Lopez.
EPA OFFERS SETTLEMENT