Elliott Introduces Bill

January 29, 1992

ANNAPOLIS — Del. Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard, has introduced a proposal, HB 379: Hearing Aid Sales -- Right of Cancellation.

At the request of a former director of the American Association of Retired Persons, this legislation is being introduced to address the concerns of senior citizens about hearing aid sales.

Although the primary concern of the AARP was the high cost of hearing aids, the product does not lend itself to comparison shopping.

This legislation provides that a buyer of a hearing aid may cancel the purchase for any reason within 30 days of the date of delivery. The cancellation entitles the purchaser to a refund of the entire amount for the hearing aid, less 10 percent for services.

Although this legislation does not address the price of hearing aids directly, itdoes permit the consumer to return the hearing aid for any reason within 30 days, including dissatisfaction with the price.

This bill should provide a measure of consumer protection to the hearing-impaired who are in the market to purchase a hearing aid.

Those interested in testifying for this bill at 1 p.m. today before the Economic Matters Committee in Room 151 of the Lowe House Office Building should call Elliott's office at 841-3371.

HMO LAW PROPOSED

DATELINE: ANNAPOLIS

ANNAPOLIS -- Del. Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard, has introduced a proposal, HB 380: Health Maintenance Organizations -- Rehabilitation or Liquidation -- Priority of Claims.

This legislation requires that in the event of bankruptcy of a health maintenance organization, health-care providers shall have priority of claims immediately following the claims of the HMO members.

This recommendation of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is not currently included in Maryland law.

All persons interested in testifying for this bill at 1 p.m. Feb. 6 before the Economic Matters Committee in Room 151 of the Lowe House Office Building should call Elliott's office at 841-3371.

MINING PLAN QUESTIONED

DATELINE: ANNAPOLIS

ANNAPOLIS -- Del. Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll, says that his bill to require state approval of county mineral resource plans could apply to theCarroll mining plan, even if the county commissioners adopt it before the state law takes effect.

"The county has its lawyers and we have the Attorney General's Office," said Dixon. He implied that a legal interpretation could be requested, if the bill is enacted, to determine whether a mining plan previously adopted would be subject to Department of Natural Resources approval. The bill likely wouldn't takeeffect until July 1.

The Carroll Planning and Zoning Commission voted to approve a mining plan last week and sent it to the commissioners. A citizens committee worked for the last year on the plan, whichis intended to define where mining should take place, to restrict development in those areas, and to protect residents living near quarries.

Dixon, who lives in a mining area between Westminster and New Windsor, has been an outspoken opponent of the mining plan. He says it caters to mining industry concerns without balancing the interests of surrounding residents, and that the commissioners would make "a big mistake" by adopting the plan.

Dixon said that since the DNR grants water appropriation permits and establishes conditions for mining, it would be a "natural extension" for the agency to approve mineralresource plans. Counties are encouraged to include a mining component as part of their master plans for development.

County planners have sought comments from DNR officials as the mining plan has developed.

BOND BILL IS ON TABLE

DATELINE: ANNAPOLIS

ANNAPOLIS -- The county commissioners and Budget Director Steven D. Powell meet with the Carroll delegation here today to discuss a county bond authorization bill and other budget issues.

The bond authorization enables the county to borrow a specified amount through a bond sale for public projects, such as the construction of Carroll Community College and landfill expansion. Powell is expected to outline the projects and request a borrowing ceiling.

MATTHEWS TARGETS CRIME

DATELINE: ANNAPOLIS

ANNAPOLIS -- Del. Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, has introduced two crime-related bills.

One bill would require the state to establishand maintain a register that would allow the public to review sentences handed down by judges for "crimes of violence." The legislation would apply to the Court of Appeals, District Court and circuit courts. The bill, intended to make judges more accountable, was defeated last year because of associated costs.

The other bill would prohibitplea bargaining in certain situations. Plea bargaining is a negotiating process between the prosecutor and defense attorney to gain a conviction and sentence that is less than the maximum. A defendant who is charged with a serious crime for which he has previously been convicted would be prohibited from plea bargaining.

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