ANNAPOLIS — A bill in both the House and Senate requesting a $500,000 state grant to help finance the expansion of the Carroll County General Hospital emergency room is all but dead.
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee canceled its hearing on the bond bill, which was sponsored by Carroll Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines. The committee then voted Thursday to kill it.
The House Appropriations Committee had a hearing on the bill, buthas yet to act on it. Carroll Del. Richard N. Dixon, an Appropriations Committee member and the bill's sponsor in the House, said the bill won't pass.
The $15 million normally set aside as grant money for local projects, such as the CCGH expansion, will be targeted instead toward public school construction this year, he said.
Typically,$60 million is designated for school construction each year and is disbursed among Maryland's 24 jurisdictions.
A hospital administrator testified that the emergency room is too small to handle the volume of patients. He said CCGH officials would raise money for the estimated $1.4 million project through other means or would scale back plans.
CARROLL REJECTS TAXES
ANNAPOLIS -- All six Carroll legislatorshave voted against tax and budget bills in their respective chambers.
Republican Dels. Richard C. Matthews and Donald B. Elliott and Democratic Dels. Richard N. Dixon and Lawrence A. LaMotte voted Tuesday against a House tax plan that would raise an estimated $251.6 million in new revenue for the General Fund through changes in income, sales and cigarette taxes. It also would generate about $141 million in new transportation revenues, mostly through a 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase.
The measure, which also would authorize new taxing authorities for county governments, passed the House, 78-61.
The $12.5 billion state budget was predicated on raising additional revenue to compensate for a projected shortfall. Carroll delegates voted against the budget bill, which passed, 88-47.
Earlier this month, Sens. Charles H. Smelser, a Democrat, and Larry E. Haines, a Republican, voted against the Senate tax plan, which would have raised about $245million through different methods, and the budget bill. Both passed.
WEED BILL IS PASSED
ANNAPOLIS -- A bill requested by the county commissioners to allow them to investigate weed nuisance complaints passed the House and Senate and is headed to the governor for approval.
Weed growth must be 12 inches or higher to be constituted a nuisance. The legislation was necessary because the Carroll Health Department, which traditionally investigated weed nuisance complaints, no longer performs the duty because of budget reductions.
The bill, which exempts agricultural lands enrolled in conservation programs, would allow county government to abate the nuisance if it poses a threat to public health.