County delegation to discuss bills proposed for legislature Delegates to seek comment at public hearing Saturday

January 07, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll County's state legislators want to hear what residents think about bills proposed by the county commissioners.

So the legislators have scheduled a public hearing from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.

The commissioners have asked the delegation to submit 14 bills, including one that would give them line-item veto power over the school board's budget.

The legislators also will ask for input on three bills requested by other local groups.

Saturday's hearing will be in Room 7 of the County Office Building on Center Street in Westminster.

The 1993 General Assembly session begins Wednesday.

"We don't have our minds made up. We want to hear what they [citizens] think," said Delegate Richard C. Matthews, a Republican who chairs the Carroll delegation.

The purpose of the hearing is to get residents' input, he said.

The delegates will distribute three pages containing short synopses of the bills and will ask residents to write on the handouts whether they support or oppose the bills or are undecided, Mr. Matthews said.

Residents may take the sheets home and write their comments, then mail them to the delegation, he said.

In past years, about 30 people have attended the hearing, Mr. Matthews said.

Last month, the delegation met with the commissioners to discuss the 14 bills. Some legislators indicated then that they might not support certain proposals.

Sen. Charles H. Smelser, D-Carroll, Frederick, Howard, questioned why the commissioners want the line-item veto power over the school board's budget, because they had the power temporarily last year and didn't use it.

The commissioners also want to be able to review and reduce funds for the school board that were previously approved by the county.

Delegate Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard, said the proposals would become statewide issues, and special interest groups would work to defeat them.

Delegate Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll, said he could not support a bill that would allow the county to do criminal background checks on prospective employees. The commissioners did not show a need for that, and the background checks could violate privacy, he said.

Other bills the commissioners proposed include:

* Performance audits of the Board of Education -- to allow the commissioners to conduct performance audits of the board's management practices.

* Massage parlor licensing -- to allow the county to license such establishments.

* Transient vendors -- to allow more restrictions on anyone who does business in the county for less than one year at any single location.

* Collection of administrative fees for child support enforcement from absent parents -- to allow the county to set and collect fees to defray costs of providing child support enforcement services.

* Notice for termination of the Resident Trooper Program -- to require the state to provide three-year notice before ending the program.

* Reserve fund for a county police department -- to establish a reserve fund for the capital needs of a future police force.

* Transfer of police retirement benefits -- to allow the transfer of state police retirement benefits to other systems.

* Additional jurisdiction of District Courts -- to give the District Court jurisdiction for exclusive, original hearings in more cases of violations of county ordinances or regulations involving civil penalties.

* Administrative fees for newly enacted forest conservation program -- to allow the county to adopt fees to defray costs of administering the program.

* Creation of a Solid Waste Authority -- to allow a quasi-governmental body to oversee the county's solid waste disposal efforts.

The delegation also will take comment on three bills proposed by constituents. They are:

* Emergency lighting in vehicles -- to allow fire and police volunteers who direct traffic at accident scenes to use portable blinking amber lights in their vehicles while they're performing those duties.

* State's attorney special assistants and investigators -- to allow the state's attorney to hire more special assistants and investigators.

* New class of alcoholic beverage license -- to allow caterers to obtain licenses to serve beer and wine at their events. Caterers would be limited to six such events a year.

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