3 Carroll bills await governor's signatureThree of Carroll...

CARROLL LEGISLATIVE BRIEFS

April 02, 1995

3 Carroll bills await governor's signature

Three of Carroll County's delegation bills passed the House of Delegates last week and are awaiting approval from Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

The bills, if signed, would:

* Require the county to contribute to volunteer fire departments' pension programs, known as the Length of Service Award Program. The bill passed the House of Delegates by a 131-0 vote. On Feb. 20, the Senate approved it 46-0.

* Amend legislation dealing with criminal background checks of county employees to include any prospective employee who would handle money. The proposal would require such employees to submit a complete set of fingerprints so the county could comply with FBI standards.

The House approved the bill by a 129-2 vote. The bill passed the Senate March 6 by a 47-0 vote.

* Officially raise the number of Carroll County assistant state's attorneys from one to two. The bill would bring legislation into line with current practice.

Members of the House passed the bill 131-1. On March 6, the Senate passed it by a 47-0 vote.

There are 141 members in the House of Delegates and 47 members in the Senate.

Delegation pulls back on planning measure

A recent decision by the Maryland attorney general's office has led the Carroll County delegation to withdraw its proposal to allow County Commissioners to delegate any duties the commissioners deem appropriate to the county Planning Commission.

"The attorney general believes they already have the authority, that the legislation is not necessary," said Sen. Larry E. Haines, chairman of the county delegation.

"He also said that if it was necessary, it should be done statewide because it affects [Article] 66B, which applies to all counties," said Mr. Haines, a Westminster Republican.

The commissioners requested the legislation last fall because of a court decision stating that a local government may not assign duties to a Board of Zoning Appeals unless those duties are spelled out in Article 66B, the state law governing zoning.

The commissioners were concerned the same rationale could be applied to the Planning Commission, which ranks items for the county's capital budget and approves final plats for development.

Neither of those tasks is spelled out in Maryland law.

Amended land bill approved by Senate

An amended version of Sen. Larry E. Haines' bill designed to bring more money into the state Agricultural Preservation Program passed the Senate Wednesday by a 42-3 vote.

Senate members agreed to recommend that 14.5 percent of the real estate transfer taxes should be designated for farmland preservation, 83.5 percent should be earmarked for Program Open Space and 2 percent should be given to the Heritage Conservation Fund.

The Senate also voted to allow individual counties to use some of their Program Open Space money for agricultural land preservation if they choose.

Program Open Space purchases land for recreation. The Heritage Fund preserves wetlands and other habitats for endangered species.

In its original form, the bill would have increased the percentage of transfer taxes designated for farmland preservation from 13.2 percent to 22.4 percent.

Mr. Haines' proposal also would have reduced taxes for Program Open Space from 84.2 percent to 75 percent and continued giving the Heritage Conservation Fund 2.6 percent of the money.

The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

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