Senate OKs bill to extend program on minority...

Assembly Digest

March 22, 2000|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Senate OKs bill to extend program on minority contracting

The Senate approved a bill yesterday that would extend Maryland's minority contracting program for two years.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat, originally proposed increasing from 14 percent to 30 percent the share of state contracts earmarked for minority-owned businesses. That language was dropped. But the bill would apply the 14 percent figure to all state contracts of more than $50,000, not $100,000, as is done now.

Similar legislation is pending in the House. State officials are seeking an extension of the program to allow time for a study that might fend off legal challenges. Such programs have been overturned elsewhere by federal courts.

Senate panel approves nitrogen removal measure

A Senate committee approved a Glendening administration bill yesterday that would require nitrogen removal technology to be installed in all new septic systems in environmentally sensitive areas of the state.

On a 7-4 vote, the Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee approved an amended version of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's plan for improving septic systems in those areas. The proposal could increase the cost of a system by as much as $7,000.

Under amendments supported by the administration, the state would offer grants or low-interest loans to some homeowners to help cover the cost. Similar legislation is pending in the House.

Leaders introduce bill on single-subject legislation

Responding to a recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision, General Assembly leaders introduced a bill yesterday that seeks to loosen restrictions on how many subjects can be covered in a single piece of legislation.

In a broadly written opinion, the court ruled recently that mutual fund legislation passed by the Assembly in 1998 violated a constitutional requirement that bills be limited to one subject.

The new bill would amend the Maryland Constitution to change the one-subject requirement. The amendment would be subject to a statewide referendum this fall.

In Annapolis

Today's highlights:

Senate meets, 10 a.m. Senate chamber.

House of Delegates meets to consider the state budget, 10 a.m. House chamber.

House Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 1334, to increase penalties for drunken drivers, 1 p.m. House office building, Room 120.

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