LEAD PAINT POISONING
House votes to study extent, treatment
The House of Delegates yesterday voted 119-5 for a study of lead paint poisoning, which has been called the top environmental threat to children's health.
The study would seek to determine the extent of lead poisoning exists in Maryland and the costs of compensating victims and treatment. It would be monitored by a 15-member commission that would recommend a way to pay for treatment.
The bill now goes to the state Senate.
The study would be paid for by a $5-per-unit fee charged to the owners of rental houses and apartments built before 1978. Landlords with fewer than four units would be exempted.
The bill originally proposed to tax the sale of paint and use the proceeds to address lead paint poisoning. But under pressure from paint industry opponents, a House committee weakened the legislation to give it a better chance of passing.
Even small amounts of lead in the bloodstream can lead to reduced intelligence, behavioral problems and even death, experts say.
Delegates pass measure to allow longer trucks
Maryland would join the vast majority of states that allow trucking companies to use 53-foot semitrailers under a bill that passed the House of Delegates yesterday.
The measure was approved 96-37 over the objections of opponents who said longer trucks are unsafe.
If enacted by the Senate and signed by Gov. William Donald Schaefer, the bill would increase the maximum length of trucks in Maryland from 48 feet to 53 feet. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only other states with a 48-foot limit.