ANNAPOLIS — The House passed two bills on Wednesday that would give the county commissioners authority to borrow money for public projects and to lend to Carroll's 14 volunteer fire companies.
The bills now go to the Senate, where they are expected to pass because they apply only in Carroll.
The commissioners would be authorized to borrow up to $15 millionthrough a bond sale for capital projects for fiscal 1993, including development of the Carroll Community College, school construction, landfill expansions and closures, road improvements and park development.
The other bill would allow the commissioners to borrow up to $2million through the bond market and to use the proceeds to make loans to the fire companies for equipment purchases and facility expansions.
The county could offer the fire companies lower interest ratesthan traditional lending institutions.
GUN BILL IS DEFEATED
ANNAPOLIS -- The Senate defeated a constitutional amendment sponsored by Carroll Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines that wouldhave guaranteed citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
The vote against the gun rights bill was 23-20, with three senators abstaining and one excused from voting.
"I knew I had to work on it," saidHaines. "If I had more time, maybe I could have salvaged it."
Thebill, which would have guaranteed individuals the right to keep and use guns "for the defense of self, family, home, and state, and for hunting and recreational use," passed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, 6-5, on March 13.
If the bill had passed the General Assembly, it would have been placed on the November ballot as a referendum.
"I think citizens would have supported it," said Haines, adding he may reintroduce the bill another year.
Haines said the bill's chances were hurt because Senate leadership opposed it, and the Schaefer administration is intent on passing gun-control legislation.
Courts have ruled that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitutiondoes not guarantee individuals' rights to keep and bear arms, but that states can grant that right.
BROWN'S BILL IS APPROVED
ANNAPOLIS -- The House passed a bill Thursday promoted by Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown that would allow elderly or disabled homeowners to defer payment on annual increases in their municipal property tax assessments.
The bill, sponsored by the Carroll delegation, would permit Maryland's 154 municipalities to grant the deferral.
The legislation would freeze assessments at current levels for homeowners who qualify and enroll.
The legislation would require that a lien be placed on the property for all deferred taxes and interest until repayment, which likely would occur when heirs assume ownership of the home.
Brown has pushed for the legislation because he believes elderly Westminster residents on fixed incomes are havingdifficulty hanging onto their homes as property tax assessments riserapidly. He testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 28.
Counties have the authority to grant deferrals to the elderly or disabled, but only Montgomery County has enacted such a program.
The bill was sent to the Senate.
TRUANT BILL IS WITHDRAWN
ANNAPOLIS -- The Frederick County delegation has withdrawn a bill that would have created a pilot program in Carroll andFrederick counties allowing law enforcement officials to issue civilcitations to youths they believe to be truant.
The bill would have authorized fines, if the school determined that the student was truant.