State withdraws bill to limit access to autopsy reports...

ASSEMBLY DIGEST

February 16, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

State withdraws bill to limit access to autopsy reports

The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene withdrew a bill before the General Assembly yesterday that would have restricted access to the text of autopsy reports in Maryland.

Del. John Adams Hurson, a Montgomery County Democrat and chairman of the House Environmental Matters Committee, said the bill was withdrawn because news media organizations raised concerns about it.

The proposal would have prohibited anyone from viewing the text of medical examiners' autopsy reports except the relatives of the deceased, hospitals, police and other government officials. The documents are available to the public.

Cancer hasn't spread in Glendening, tests show

Tests on lymph nodes removed during Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Feb. 8 skin-cancer surgery have shown no evidence that the cancer has spread, doctors told the governor yesterday morning.

The surgery for early-stage melanoma -- performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital -- included removing a portion of his scalp and grafting skin to the area. Doctors say Glendening does not require additional treatment.

The governor has been recovering in Government House since the surgery and is expected to return to work with a light schedule next week.

House OKs bill to increase monthly Medicaid funds

The House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill yesterday to increase the monthly allowance given to low-income nursing home residents for personal needs.

The bill -- sponsored by House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. -- would increase from $40 to $50 the money for residents who qualify for Medicaid coverage. Residents typically use the allowance for personal needs such as cable television and haircuts. It hasn't been raised in 14 years.

A similar measure is waiting for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee. Last year, the Senate approved similar legislation, but it died in a House committee.

Governor appoints four to state school board

Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced four appointments to the 12-member state school board yesterday.

Former Baltimore County school board President Dunbar Brooks was selected to fill the remaining 3 1/2 years of a seat vacated by Raymond V. "Buzz" Bartlett. Bartlett resigned last month when he became president of the Council for Basic Education.

Glendening reappointed two members to four-year terms -- president Marilyn D. Maultsby of Baltimore and JoAnn T. Bell of Prince George's County -- and named Caroline R. Gifford of Howard County's Wilde Lake High School to the one-year student term.

Delegates urge creation of water resource panel

Maryland's ground-water supplies are threatened by contamination from industrial waste, landfills and septic systems and by increasing demands for water for development and farms, according to the six dozen members of the General Assembly who want to reverse the trend.

Seventy-two lawmakers, including a majority of the House of Delegates, have signed a letter asking Gov. Parris N. Glendening to create a Water Resource Protection Commission to review local, state and federal laws and make recommendations.

The lawmakers said that Maryland has never had to worry about its drinking water before, but that as conditions change, "the question of how much potable ground water we have left ... cannot be answered today."

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