District 31 legislators set sail separately

January 06, 1995|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Teamwork is a concept that the District 31 General Assembly delegation doesn't seem to talk about much.

With the beginning of the 1995 legislative session less than a week away, the members say they have a number of ideas they hope to work on individually but little they want to do together.

They don't even agree on what to do about the one issue that concerns all of them: a more stringent auto emissions testing program that was to begin Jan. 1.

Democratic Sen. Phillip C. Jimeno, who believes the program costs motorists too much money and time said he will submit legislation that would stop the new program to allow the General Assembly to study it further and possibly revise it. Meanwhile, he said, the state would continue use the simpler, cheaper system.

Republican Del. Victoria L. Schade said she is co-sponsoring a bill that would get rid of the vehicle emissions testing program.

She said the program started as a seven-year test to make sure that car manufacturers were creating vehicles in which the emissions were cleaner and therefore safer for the environment.

Now that the testing has shown that car manufacturers are doing their job, she said, the program is useless.

"We shouldn't be trying to enhance the program; we have proved what we set out to do," she said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the testing program in 1986 in an effort to curb urban smog by cracking down on auto emissions. Last summer, state officials said the state's biannual emissions checks of cars and trucks would have to be beefed up, made more costly and expanded to cover drivers living in six rural counties beyond the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Ms. Schade said she will also co-sponsor legislation to raise the speed limit on certain rural state highways to 65 mph.

She said her main effort, however, would be legislation to allow the recall of a judge when voters "feel he has been particularly lenient."

Republican Del. John Leopold said he wants to make car owners throughout the state pay for the emissions testing program, even if they live in counties where the tests are not required.

Under the existing program, car owners in the counties that have a problem with air pollution because of vehicle emissions pay for the tests when they are administered.

This year, six counties were added to the eight already involved in the program. Mr. Leopold said including an emissions fee as part of the auto registration fee throughout the state would be cheaper.

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