Lacrosse legally belongs to Md.

Ehrlich signs bill making it state's team sport

190 measures authorized

May 12, 2004|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Adam Lambros tucked a helmet in one arm, but left his stick at home as he witnessed Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. make lacrosse the official team sport of Maryland yesterday.

Lambros, 15, testified in favor of the bill this year and wanted his picture taken as the governor signed the measure into law during a State House ceremony. "I think just being there as a player had impact," the Carroll County athlete said of his advocacy.

The bill making lacrosse the state's team sport was among the less serious of more than 190 measures that will go on the state's books because of the governor's signature yesterday (the same legislation designated the Patuxent River stone as the official state gem). Ehrlich also authorized bills reaffirming the governing authority of the state university system Board of Regents, creating a diversion program to offer nonviolent addicted criminals drug treatment rather than incarceration, and establishing a Cabinet-level state Department of Disabilities.

The disabilities measure fulfills an Ehrlich campaign promise and was a priority of the governor.

"I think people with disabilities are absolutely enthused that for the first time in Maryland government they have a seat at the table," said Kristen Cox, whom Ehrlich named as the department's first secretary.

Cox, who is blind, said it will be her responsibility to coordinate $2.6 billion in state and federal resources now spent on employment, education, health care and transportation for the disabled.

"It's a very fragmented system," Cox said. "People get lost in the system."

The General Assembly debated for years whether to adopt lacrosse as Maryland's official athletic event, but the idea always met resistance from Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, the influential president of the Senate.

Miller's great-great-grandfather was a champion jouster, and the president did not want to sully the family legacy or alter the status of jousting -- which was named the official state sport in 1962.

But this year, Miller hit on a compromise: jousting would keep its position, but lacrosse would be added to the state archives in a different category, that of team sport.

"The Number 1, 2 and 3 teams in lacrosse in the nation are from Maryland," Miller noted yesterday.

Del. Jon S. Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat who played prep school lacrosse at Park School and as an undergraduate at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., cheered the decision.

"Everybody in Maryland knows lacrosse, and nobody in Maryland doesn't know lacrosse," Cardin said.

Also signed into law was a measure increasing penalties for video voyeurism, a change stemming from cases in Elkridge and North Laurel where women were recorded in a rental apartment and in an employee bathroom at a school.

Under the new law, a videotaping offense remains a misdemeanor, but the maximum penalty will be a year's imprisonment and a $2,500 fine, up from six months and $1,000.

"I am very pleased that we are treating this serious crime with a more serious penalty," said Del. Neil F. Quinter, a Howard County Democrat who sponsored the bill.

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