Council adds to its wish list for legislators Once again, it will ask to drop Liquor Board duties

October 25, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Howard County's General Assembly delegation will hear testimony next week on some golden oldies -- local bills that were introduced in previous years but never became law.

The County Council, for example, will ask yet again to be relieved of its Liquor Board responsibilities. The last time the delegation lightened the council's load was in 1985 when it allowed the council to surrender its Health Board function to a group appointed by the council.

Del. Martin G. Madden, R-13B, will try again to require people giving $500 or more to council members' campaigns to declare that fact when seeking zoning changes. Mr. Madden also hopes to limit prospective jurors to one trial every two years and to a one-day selection process. He began paving the way for such a plan last year.

The retreads are among 15 bills the delegation has been asked to sponsor in the 1994 session of the General Assembly. The delegation will hold a public hearing on the requests at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in the county office building.

New this year are a bill requiring non-union public school employees to pay a fee for representation in contract negotiations, a bill to outlaw bare-breasted female dancing, and two bills that require state money.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker is also reprising a request from last year. He wants $1 million in state funds to design, plan and construct a Howard County agricultural center. The county would have to put up an equal amount to qualify.

The other requests are $300,000 for a performing-arts center at Wilde Lake High School auditorium, and $220,000 for preservation of the Ellicott City Colored School.

Both requests have matching-fund requirements. The Howard County Arts Council would have to put up $400,000, and the county would have to supply $300,000 for the arts center. The central Maryland chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society would have to match the Colored School request.

Mr. Ecker also wants support for legislation to require payment of taxes and assessments prior to property transfers, shorten by one month the time in which the county Economic Development Authority must submit its financial report, and extend the life of the county's building excise-tax law.

The law expires June 30.

Sheriff Michael A. Chiuchiolo seeks a change in the way his salary is determined. The General Assembly delegation determines the next sheriff's four-year salary -- now $38,000 a year -- after hearing arguments from the incumbent sheriff. Sheriff Chiuchiolo prefers that the county Compensation Review Commission recommend salary increases and make its recommendation subject to the approval of the County Council.

State's Attorney William R. Hymes wants permission to appoint two deputy state's attorneys. He can now appoint one.

Councilman C. Vernon Gray, a 3rd District Democrat, D-3rd, hopes the delegation will sponsor a bill that would require mobile-home owners to offer to sell their parks to a tenants' association before selling the parks to anyone else.

The Howard County Education Association has asked Del. Virginia M. Thomas, D-13A, to sponsor two bills on the association's behalf. One would designate secondary school nurses as public school employees.

The other would allow the association to charge a fee to nonmembers who are represented by the association in contract negotiations. The fee could not be more than the association's annual dues.

The bill to outlaw bare-breasted female dancers is sponsored by Del. Madden and is aimed at Good Guys Bar and Grill in North Laurel. The bar surrendered its liquor license in June and became a private club with $10 annual dues and a $10-per-visit cover charge to see women dance nude.

The bar had earlier been fined $1,000 by the county Liquor Board for allowing nude dancing.

After Mr. Madden received a legal opinion from the state attorney general saying nude dancing violated county law, the bar worked out a compromise with state and local authorities.

The agreement allowed dancers to perform topless as long as they wore G-strings and were at least 6 feet from patrons.

The owner, the manager and two dancers at Good Guys have filed suit in U.S. District Court, contending that the forced termination of nude dancing at the bar violates their constitutional rights.

Mr. Madden's bill would make topless dancing illegal and would also make establishments that allow customers to supply their own alcohol meet the same requirements as establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol.

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