Meningitis bill for college students approved by House...

Assembly Digest

March 11, 2000|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Meningitis bill for college students approved by House

The House of Delegates approved a bill yesterday that would require college students to receive a meningitis vaccination.

The measure, which was introduced in response to meningitis deaths on Maryland campuses, would require students who live on campus to have the vaccination or sign a waiver saying they had been informed of the risks of the disease.

A Senate committee approved a similar bill earlier this week, signaling that the legislation will win final General Assembly approval.

Move to give coverage to deaf children killed

A House committee killed three bills yesterday that would have required health insurance plans to cover the cost of providing hearing aids for children.

Proponents had sought help for parents whose children are born with severe hearing deficiencies. Custom-made hearing aids for infants can cost from $700 to $4,000.

Insurance companies opposed the legislation, arguing that it would drive up the cost of health insurance for all. In defeating the proposals, the Economic Matters Committee stuck to its policy of rejecting any insurance requirements until the costs have been evaluated by the state's Health Care Commission.

Judges to get pay raises granted other state workers

Judges will get the same pay raises as other state employees under legislation that won final General Assembly approval yesterday.

The governor has proposed that state workers receive a 4 percent raise next year. Legislators have not acted on that proposal. Under the measure approved yesterday, judges will receive whatever raise the Assembly approves for other state workers.

A commission had recommended across-the-board raises of $10,000 for each judge, but that figure was rejected by legislators. Judicial salaries range from $103,000 for district judges to $121,600 for members of the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.

Model building code bills win unanimous Senate vote

The Senate unanimously passed two bills yesterday that would create a model building code to encourage the redevelopment of older urban centers.

The bills, which would launch Gov. Parris N. Glendening's "smart codes" initiative, now go to the House of Delegates. Glendening has described the bills as an extension of his 1997 Smart Growth law, which is designed to curb sprawling development.

The legislation would not require counties and municipalities to adopt the model building code but would create financial incentives for them to do so. The code would remove barriers to rehabilitation of older properties and development of smaller parcels in urban areas.

Move to take guns away in domestic disputes fails

A Senate committee killed a bill yesterday that would have required judges to take guns away from people who are the subjects of protective orders in domestic violence cases.

The measure died in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee despite support from Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and advocates for victims of domestic abuse.

Members of the committee expressed reservations, saying the bill would take some discretion away from judges and trample on the rights of gun-owners. Similar legislation was defeated last year.

House votes to repeal inheritance tax

The House unanimously approved a bill yesterday that would repeal the state's inheritance tax, though some supporters grumbled that the savings to taxpayers would be reduced by an amendment raising the fees to probate wills.

The legislation would save heirs about $50 million a year by eliminating the inheritance tax. Lawmakers agreed, however, to raise probate fees by $8 million a year to help fund the offices of local registers of wills.

The measure now goes to the Senate.

Balto. County car dealers to retain Sunday closing

Baltimore County car dealers will continue to be closed on Sundays.

Sen. Michael J. Collins, head of the Baltimore County Senate delegation, said yesterday he withdrew the legislation to overturn the county's long-standing "blue law" after several local lawmakers expressed opposition to it.

Collins had introduced the bill on behalf of CarMax, a large car dealership in White Marsh. Other car dealers in the county opposed the bill, saying they preferred to remain closed on Sundays to save costs. In Maryland, Sunday car sales are allowed only in Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

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