4 County Legislators Still Shepherding Bills

Elliott, Haines Pushingconsumer Measures

March 29, 1992|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff writer

ANNAPOLIS — Heading into the last full week of the General Assembly session, four of Carroll's six legislators still are guiding their initiatives through the legislature's maze.

Del. Donald B. Elliott and Sen. Larry E. Haines are working on passing consumer-protection measures.

Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte, a Democrat, has a Senate hearing Wednesday on his bill, which would impose disciplinary sanctions on medicalprofessionals who agree to fulfill a public service requirement as acondition of their educational scholarships but then shirk their obligations.

And Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Democrat, is working to recover $1,500 in taxes for the Westminster church he attends, and to save millions for the state through the creation of an early retirementprogram.

Sen. Charles H. Smelser, a Carroll Democrat who prefers killing

bad legislation to introducing his own initiatives, sponsored two bills. One was killed. The other, which would freeze state job reclassifications for the next year -- and corresponding salary increases -- is languishing in a Senate committee.

Republican Del. Richard C. Matthews' four initiatives to toughen criminal laws and court procedures all were killed before reaching the full House.

Five of Elliott's seven initiatives are alive after House action. Two of his measures would provide consumer protections for those who need hearing aids.

One bill would allow hearing aid purchasers to cancel apurchase for any reason and receive a refund within 30 days. The legislation was prompted by Richard Warehime, a New Windsor resident andformer American Association of Retired Persons representative.

Elliott, a Republican, said the hearing-impaired have difficulty distinguishing one hearing aid from another, and often discover after the purchase that the expensive device doesn't meet their needs.

"This is a small step. I do a lot of things in small steps," said Elliott.

Another Elliott bill -- which died in a Senate filibuster last year -- would merge state boards for audiologists, hearing aid dealers and speech-language pathologists. Elliott contends the merger would help raise professional standards of hearing aid dealers by placing them under health laws rather than business laws. Consumers would reap benefits, he said.

Elliott's money-saving bill, which would requirethe state to recover medical equipment for redistribution to other Medical Assistance Program recipients, passed the Senate last week andis headed to the governor for approval.

Haines is shepherding a bill through the House that would require the state Real Estate Commission to develop a property disclosure form revealing facts about the condition of a home. Real estate agents and home sellers would be required to deliver the statement to prospective purchasers. The bill passed the Senate, 40-4.

"With home ownership one of the largest investments people make, disclosure is important," said Haines, a Republican and owner of a Westminster realty company. "It will benefit sellers as well as buyers by limiting liability."

Dixon is trying to recoup property taxes paid by the Union Street United Methodist Churchfrom 1980 to 1988. Church property was mistakenly taxed after a parsonage was torn down, he said.

He also is co-sponsoring a bill, headed for the Senate, with the House Appropriations Committee chairman that would provide incentives for state employees with 25 years experience to retire.

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