House committee favors establishing women's commission

March 18, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

A bill to establish a Carroll County women's commission got a favorable reception from a House of Delegates committee yesterday. But committee members worried aloud that only one of the six Carroll delegates is sponsoring the bill.

In contrast, a bill to establish a women's commission in Garrett County sailed through a brief hearing before the House Commerce and Governmental Matters Committee without opposition.

Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte, a Democrat who represents Carroll and Baltimore counties, told the committee that he was surprised by the controversy the women's commission proposal generated in Carroll County.

"Garrett County is not exactly a hotbed of radical liberalism," Mr. LaMotte said.

He said he found it "hard to believe in 1994 that there is so much controversy around a bill to establish a commission for women."

Supporters of the Carroll women's commission proposal outnumbered opponents at yesterday's hearing. Two women testified against a women's commission, 10 in favor.

The committee is expected to vote on the bill this week.

Committee Chairman Gerald J. Curran, a Baltimore City Democrat, suggested that, as a compromise, the committee could send the full House an amended bill that would authorize the county commissioners to create a women's commission but would not establish one by General Assembly action.

Committee members questioned Rachelle Hurwitz, the Uniontown area resident who formed the Carroll women's commission steering committee, on the majority of the county delegation's rejection of the bill.

The proposal was submitted to the delegation by the county commissioners, who favored establishment of the commission in 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Donald I. Dell opposed.

Ms. Hurwitz told the committee that Carroll Del. Richard N. Dixon, D-5A, assured her he would back the legislation and that Del. Richard C. Matthews, R-5A, said he would vote with Mr. Dixon.

When the Carroll delegation voted on the proposal last month, the vote was 5-1 against it. Mr. LaMotte was the only one of the six Carroll legislators to vote in favor of introducing it. He later went against legislative procedure by introducing the measure after the delegation had voted it down.

Mr. LaMotte said yesterday he had not tried to change his colleagues' minds on the legislation.

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