House panel OKs bill to allow companies to charge late...

Assembly Digest

March 30, 2000|By From staff reports

House panel OKs bill to allow companies to charge late fees

Moving to reverse a Maryland Court of Appeals decision, the House Economic Matters Committee approved a bill yesterday that would allow companies to return to the practice of charging late fees on customers' bills.

The proposal goes to the House of Delegates. The Senate has approved a similar measure, meaning it is likely to win final passage.

The bill as amended by the House committee appears to have the support of Gov. Parris N. Glendening. At his request, the panel reduced the monthly fee, capping it at 10 percent of the monthly bill or $5, whichever is greater. The bill had called for a 10 percent, or $10 maximum fee.

School construction wages head for vote in House

The House Economic Matters Committee voted yesterday to approve the governor's proposal to boost wages for school construction workers, clearing the way for final passage.

The union-backed legislation would require that workers on school projects be paid the "prevailing wage" in their region, which is the law for other state public works projects. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits a vote on the House floor.

Supporters said school construction workers should benefit from the same wages as workers on other state projects. Opponents argue the legislation will inflate construction costs and limit the number of schools that can be built.

Assembly gives go-ahead to Presidents Day holiday bill

The General Assembly gave final approval yesterday to legislation mandating that state public schools close for the Presidents Day holiday.

The bill goes to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who is expected to sign it into law.

Currently, public schools are required to be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after; the week from Christmas Eve through Jan. 1; Martin Luther King Jr. Day; the Friday before Easter and the Monday after; and Memorial Day.

Senate approves measure on penalties for gun crimes

The state Senate approved a bill yesterday that would stiffen penalties for gun-related crimes.

The measure would make it a felony punishable by a minimum five-year prison term for a convicted violent offender to possess a handgun. It also would prohibit court commissioners from granting bail to someone charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, was approved 42-4. A House version of the bill faces an uncertain future in the Judiciary Committee.

In Annapolis

Today's highlights:

Senate meets, 10 a.m., Senate chamber.

House of Delegates meets, 10 a.m., House chamber.

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