Decriminalization loses, 43-0After months of study and a...

MARYLAND NEWSWATCH

May 06, 1992

MARYLAND STATE: — Decriminalization loses, 43-0

After months of study and a round of hearings, the Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission has taken a clear stand on the legalization or decriminalization of drugs: By a vote of 43-0, the members just said "no."

In the formal motion voted on Monday at a meeting in Crownsville, commission members said that any move toward decriminalization or legalization "is adversely inconsistent with the role of the state to provide for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens."

The commission chairman, Dr. Neil Solomon, said it would send the wrong message to current drug abusers, casual users, traffickers and to the youth of Maryland.

"The programs under way throughout the state tell people, especially young people, about the effects drugs have on one's health and general well-being," said Dr. Solomon, a former state health secretary. "As the use of drugs is beginning to decline, you do not switch horses in midstream and send the reverse message."

Several groups had contacted the commission since Dr. Solomon was named to head the panel in August, seeking its position.

The staff recommendation embodied in the motion said decriminalization "would imply that it is all right to experiment with drug use, and that drug use has an insignificant health consequence."

Maryland will keep its coveted triple-A bond rating when it sells $120 million in general obligation bonds a week from today , the governor and the House speaker predicted yesterday after returning from meetings with three New York bond rating agencies.

"They were impressed with the fact that Maryland was able to bite the bullet," said Gov. William Donald Schaefer, referring to state efforts to reduce the size of government and stabilize declining revenues by raising taxes.

House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., said everything was "not peaches and cream" in meetings with Moody's Investor Services, Standard and Poor's, and Fitch Investors, but there was reason for optimism, including four consecutive months of higher sales tax revenues.

Maryland has not borrowed money through a bond sale since last October. The high rating allows the state to borrow money at lower interest rates.

Baltimore City:

State Treasurer Lucille Maurer says she has undergone surgery for removal of a brain tumor at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Ms. Maurer, 69, said yesterday she is "recovering nicely" and could be released late this week.

She collapsed in February at a Baltimore fund-raising dinner for Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Afterward, she was described as having a blood pressure problem.

Ms. Maurer said the growth was found in follow-up examinations. She described the tumor as a meningioma, which grows between the skull and the brain.

NTC

Anne Arundel:

Two Glen Burnie boys may be alive today because the gun their father threatened them with apparently contained faulty ammunition, Anne Arundel County police said.

Frank E. Simmons, 46, later used a different gun to shoot his wife, Andrea, 33, three times in the chest before turning the gun on himself Monday, police said. Both died of wounds.

Police said Mr. Simmons aimed a .32-caliber pistol at his son and stepson and pulled the trigger as they ran from the house, but the gun did not fire.

"We believe the ammunition was faulty, which turned out to be very fortunate for the other two potential victims," said Sgt. Mark W. Howes of the homicide unit.

Baltimore County:

A 26-year-old woman has been found guilty of battering a nursing home patient, the state attorney general's office reported.

Celestyne Singleton, of the first block of Orenco Court, near Chase, was convicted on a single count of battery in Baltimore County District Court Monday. She was granted probation before judgment, which means the conviction will be removed from her record if she completes 18 months of unsupervised probation. She also was ordered to pay court costs.

Singleton was accused of battering an 86-year-old female patient Feb. 16 at Eastpoint Nursing Home, in the 1000 block of Old North Point Road.

D8 Court records show the victim suffers from dementia.

Carroll:

Mount Airy Town Councilmen Marcum N. Nance, David W. Pyatt and William E. Wagner Jr. have been re-elected.

Only 29 percent, or 488, of the town's 1,704 registered voters came to the polls Monday night, said Mason Wilburn, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Wagner was the top vote-getter with 431 votes, Mr. Nance got 310 and Mr. Pyatt 303.

Challenger Philip R. Dorsey, a retired Montgomery County employee, got 228 votes and James R. Lumadue, a member of the town's Board of Appeals, received 91.

Harford:

Residents who want a say in how county government spends their tax dollars in the next fiscal year can speak at a County Council budget hearing at 7 p.m. tomorrow at North Harford High School near Pylesville.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann has proposed a $188.6 million operating budget for fiscal 1993, which begins July 1.

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