Lawmakers vote to lift Sunday auto sales ban Move accommodates CarMax

others object

January 04, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Howard County's General Assembly delegation last night approved a proposal to lift the ban on Sunday automobile sales in Howard, paving the way for the CarMax used-car "superstore" chain to open its sixth outlet and bring as many as 500 new jobs to the county.

The legislation is expected to be approved by both houses of the General Assembly as a courtesy to the Howard delegation.

Representatives of 10 of the county's 13 car dealerships opposed Sunday automobile sales, saying at a public hearing last month that Sunday sales would harm their businesses.

But County Executive Charles I. Ecker asked the delegation to move to lift the ban on Sunday sales to accommodate CarMax, a subsidiary of Circuit City Stores, which said it would not bring its operation to the county because of the ban.

The county delegation was unanimous in its approval of the legislation, but some members expressed concern about the impact on the families of employees who usually don't work on Sundays and might be required to do so. Montgomery and Prince George's are the only counties that allow Sunday automobile sales.

"I just hope the businesses will take the wishes of those who don't want to work on Sundays into account," said Sen. Martin G. Madden, a Republican.

The delegation also approved proposed measures that would allow the County Council to regulate cigarette sales and require that fines paid by people convicted of domestic abuse be used for education about the problem.

The delegation rejected a bill that would have established voting districts for Board of Education elections and postponed action on several other bills until the members meet in Annapolis later this month.

Under the cigarette bill, businesses that sell tobacco products would have to acquire a license to do so. Without a license, violators would be subject to civil and criminal charges.

Del. Shane Pendergrass, a Democrat, introduced the bill in an effort to curb teen-age smoking.

"It doesn't solve the problem, but it might well solve a piece of the problem," she said.

Del. Donald E. Murphy, a Republican, said the legislation was like many other laws that punish businesses for the actions of others.

"I just find the way we deal with the sales of cigarettes to minors is a joke. We do nothing to the minors."

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