State Senate passes `prevailing wage' bill for school...

Assembly Digest

March 10, 2000|By From staff reports

State Senate passes `prevailing wage' bill for school projects

The Senate voted yesterday to approve Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposal to expand Maryland's prevailing wage law to cover most school construction projects.

The measure cleared the Senate 30-14, with most Democrats in favor and nearly all Republicans opposed. The legislation is expected to win House of Delegates approval as well.

Under the bill, school systems would have to pay prevailing wage rates -- which are often driven by union scales -- on projects in which the state pays at least half. Opponents say the bill will drive up construction costs, allowing fewer schools to be built.

Primary change for city wins approval from House

A bill to change Baltimore's primary election date was approved by the House of Delegates yesterday, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Baltimore residents voted to change the city's general election to coincide with presidential elections, meaning the next general election for mayor will be in 2004 instead of 2003.

Under state law, the city's mayoral primary is scheduled for 2003. Del. Salima S. Marriott's legislation would fix that quirk.

The House voted 136-1 to approve the bill, but it's unclear whether it will go further. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller pushed last year for a different change to the city's election date, but ran into opposition from Marriott.

This year, he has expressed reservations about her bill.

New type of financing passed by state Senate

By nearly unanimous vote, the Senate passed a bill yesterday to give Baltimore another way to finance redevelopment projects.

The legislation would allow the city to borrow money without voter approval by using a process known as Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

City officials have said TIF could be an important economic development tool, particularly for the planned west-side development and in depressed city neighborhoods. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.

Presidents Day added as required school holiday

The House of Delegates voted unanimously yesterday to add Presidents Day as a required school holiday.

If approved by the Senate, as expected, the bill would create the second required holiday in as many years. Last year, the General Assembly added Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which until then was optional.

Bill would add liability to HMO medical directors

For the second year in a row, the Senate has passed a bill that would make HMO medical directors liable for their decisions and subject to disciplinary action by the state medical board.

The bill, which was approved yesterday without opposition, would bring medical directors under the authority of the state Board of Physician Quality Assurance.

A similar bill last year was killed in the House of Delegates.

In Annapolis

Today's highlights:

Senate meets, 11 a.m., Senate chamber.

House of Delegates meets, 11 a.m., House chamber.

Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee hearing on SB 812, to require pawnbrokers in Baltimore and Baltimore County to take digital color photographs of people and certain items, including guns, bicycles and stereos, 1 p.m., Senate office building, Room 200.

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