'Mischievous proposal'loses in Senate, 23-20
The Senate yesterday shot down a proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution that would guarantee the right to bear and protect arms.
The measure failed, 23-20, after Sen. Howard A. Denis, a Montgomery County Republican, argued that the amendment would have jeopardized every gun law on the state books.
Mr. Denis said it was a "mischievous proposal . . . a very dangerous proposal."
He cited other states, such as Maine and West Virginia, that have run into problems with similar constitutional changes, according to newspaper accounts.
Sen. Walter M. Baker, a Cecil County Democrat and the chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee who brought the legislation to the Senate floor, said the bill would not interfere with Maryland's ability to regulate firearms.
Delegates pass bills on tracking, precautions
The House of Delegates yesterday approved without dissent one bill that would allow the state health department to track HIV cases more closely and another that would penalize doctors and hospitals that don't follow federal precautions against AIDS.
The first measure allows the state to assign unique identification numbers to people who test positive for HIV, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome. That way, the state could collect data on the number of HIV-infected people and their geographical distribution.
The state would not be allowed to trace the partners of HIV-infected people except in unusual circumstances. The full Senate is expected to pass it today.
The House also passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Protection Act, which allows the state to penalize health care workers and hospitals that don't follow the "universal precautions" against AIDS developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
The precautions are designed to prevent the transmission of AIDS between a patient and a doctor. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Also, the House Environmental Matters Commiteee approved a bill that would allow a rape victim to request an HIV test of a suspect charged in the assault.
=1 The Senate has already passed a similar bill.