PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY — AIDS VIRUS
Bill would allow agency to track cases
The House of Delegates enacted a bill yesterday allowing the state health department to track HIV cases more closely than it does now.
The bill, which passed by a unanimous vote, now goes to its sponsor, Gov. William Donald Schaefer, to be signed into law.
The measure allows the state to collect data on people infected with human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, without recording their names.
The state would have to assign unique code numbers to people who test positive for HIV to protect their identities. The state health department hopes to find out how many people have HIV and determine their distribution by age group and location in Maryland.
The bill does not give health officials more power to trace the sexual partners of HIV-infected people, despite earlier claims to the contrary by Health Secretary Nelson J. Sabatini.
Current law permits partner-tracing in certain limited circumstances.
Bill would permit credit card payments
Homeowners addicted to their credit cards may soon have one more item they can charge: their property taxes.
Senate Bill 327, enacted by the House of Delegates by a vote of 118-11 yesterday, authorizes local jurisdictions to accept payment of property taxes by credit cards. It also authorizes them to charge an undetermined fee to property owners who choose to "charge it."
The bill, sponsored by Sen. William H. Amoss, a Harford Democrat, passed the House unchanged, so it goes directly to the governor for his signature.
Miller-Glendening rivalry surfaces in Senate
The rivalry between Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening bubbled up in the Senate yesterday, as Mr. Miller called the county's proposed budget "a chicanery" and "fraud."
Mr. Miller, a Prince George's Democrat, objected to the fact that Mr. Glendening had counted on an increase in local taxing authority to help fund the county's $1.02 billion budget.
State legislators still have not agreed on a final budget and tax package, and the uncertainty is affecting county officials statewide.
Mr. Glendening said yesterday that he was assured by fiscal leaders from both houses that local jurisdictions would be allowed to raise the piggyback tax on state income tax from 50 percent to 60 percent.
He said he had consulted with Del. James C. Rosapepe, another Prince George's Democrat, last Friday night, and was told he should count on the 60 percent tax.
"I must submit my budget by the end of March, I have no options," Mr. Glendening said yesterday.
As to Mr. Miller's strong words about his budget, Mr. Glendening merely said: "That's not polite, is it?"
The rivalry between the two men also played a part in a Prince George's ethics bill that died in a House of Delegates committee yesterday. The bill, which Mr. Miller wanted and Mr. Glendening said was an attempt to undercut him in future elections, would have restricted developers' campaign contributions.
The House Constitutional and Administration Law Committee voted 9-5 for the bill, but bills need 12 votes to get out of committee.