Helmet bill opponents roll the dice, hope for luck in Senate

Annapolis Watch '92

February 17, 1992

The anti-helmet faction played all-or-nothing politics last week and came up on the nothing side.

Members of A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE) lobbied hard to keep Sen. Philip C. Jimeno from introducing an amendment to the bill to make not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle a secondary offense.

That would have meant that riders could be ticketed for riding without a helmet only if they had violated another traffic law.

The anti-helmet forces believed the amended bill would make it through a committee vote but the bill as written would fail.

So they asked Mr. Jimeno, D-Anne Arundel, not to offer the

amendment.

Mr. Jimeno agreed. And the bill passed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, 6-5.

Now ABATE will try to amend the bill on the Senate floor.

But Mr. Jimeno can't help them out by sponsoring his own amendment. "I have to stand by the committee vote." He said he would vote for secondary enforcement if someone else amended the bill.

Student of life

Sen. Frederick C. Malkus, 79, a Dorchester County Democrat, proves every week that you're never too old to learn something new.

Last week, for example, Mr. Malkus questioned a Hagerstown man who had appeared before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to describe how his homosexuality had made him a victim of discrimination on the job.

After the man's emotional testimony, the senator got right to the point. "How can you tell if someone is gay?" Mr. Malkus asked.

The man said there's no way to know from appearances.

Obviously puzzled, Mr. Malkus asked: "Then how do you get together with one another?"

No staffers, please

Democrats in the House of Delegates caucused last week to give one another some advice on doing their jobs and getting re-elected.

Del. Anne Healey, D-Prince George's, led a session on "Effective Media Relations." And Del. Samuel I. Rosenberg, D-City, talked about effective use of computers in the legislative office.

The seminar was open only to Democratic members of the House. But the ban wasn't just aimed at Republicans. The invitation also noted, "No staff permitted."

The reason, said caucus chairman Henry R. Hergenroeder, a Democrat of Baltimore, was simple: "Staff members have been known to run against their delegates."

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