Preview of bills offered

January 16, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll legislators want to hear what residents think about a county women's commission, right-to-farm laws and school board management audits.

The delegation will sponsor a public hearing on legislation proposed by the county commissioners from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday in Room 07 of the County Office Building at 225 Center St., Westminster.

Del. Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, the delegation chairman, said he will distribute a survey with a short description of the nine proposed bills at the hearing. The legislators will tally the responses and consider them when they decide whether to introduce the bills.

Because Carroll does not have home rule, the commissioners must ask the legislators to introduce their proposed laws in Annapolis. The commissioners met with the delegates in November to explain their proposals.

The creation of a Carroll Commission for Women may be a controversial topic at the hearing, Mr. Matthews said. Residents have spoken out for and against the organization.

The commissioners voted 2-1 in October to ask lawmakers to introduce the bill. Commissioner Donald I. Dell voted against it.

A steering committee of nine women, chaired by Rachelle Hurwitz of Uniontown, has proposed establishing the commission to write an agenda for government in dealing with women's issues and to provide information to women about available services.

Some Carroll legislators and residents said they are worried that the women's commission could evolve into a special-interest lobbying group supported by taxpayers.

Thirteen counties, the state and Baltimore have women's commissions.

Mr. Matthews said he also expects a proposed right-to-farm law to attract residents to the hearing. Farmers strongly support the proposal, which is aimed at reducing complaints and suits filed against them by suburban neighbors who are bothered by farm smells and noise.

At an annual Carroll County Farm Bureau dinner two weeks ago, many of the county legislators said they would support such a law, which has not been drafted.

The measure probably would include a real estate transfer disclosure statement for property purchased in the agriculture and conservation zones, notifying potential buyers that farming is a preferred activity in those areas.

Farmers, too, would like to establish a grievance committee to resolve controversies that arise from the inconvenience associated with farming operations.

The delegation also wants to hear residents' comments on a bill that would give county commissioners the authority to audit school board management practices.

The bill was defeated last year in the House Ways and Means Committee, in part because it could have been applied statewide.

Other bills being considered would:

* Allow waste used to create energy to be considered as recycling and counted as part of Carroll's state-mandated recycling effort.

* Allow the county commissioners to appoint as least nine of the 25 members of the county Economic Development Commission. Current law says the commissioners must nominate members from a list provided by the EDC.

* Allow the county to deny access to a water main or sewer line if the lines have been declared "limited access."

Current law says the county must allow residents to hook up to lines if the lines pass their homes.

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