Assembly Digest

ASSEMBLY DIGEST

March 19, 2005

Bid to cut vehicle pollution dies in Senate committee

A bill to reduce air pollution from cars and trucks died yesterday in a state Senate committee after it was opposed by the Ehrlich administration, automobile manufacturers, car dealers and business groups.

The so-called Clean Cars Bill was killed in a 6-5 vote by Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Environmental and public health groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the American Academy of Pediatrics, had supported tighter standards employed by California and seven Eastern states because of rising child asthma rates. Opponents feared raising the price of cars.

Senate approves measure on state elections board

The state Senate passed a bill yesterday that would give the legislature greater control in selecting the state elections administrator.

Under the measure, adopted by a 32-15 vote, the party out of power in the governorship -- currently the Democrats -- would be allowed to select two of five state elections board seats. Currently, the governor makes the elections on his or her own.

The bill also would allow the state elections administrator to serve until the legislature approves a replacement after the board decides for removal.

Ballistic `fingerprint' repeal tabled in House committee

The House Judiciary Committee appears to have killed a bill that would have repealed the state's ballistic fingerprinting program, an idea supported by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Del. Neil F. Quinter, a Howard County Democrat, said committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. declared the repeal dead Thursday night, after Quinter tried to amend the legislation.

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