It's less than seven days and counting until the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly ends at midnight Monday, and the fates of a number of Harford County-centered bills remain to be decided in those waning days.
As of Tuesday afternoon, a number local bills were close to final passage, but others faced a more uncertain outcome.
A few others are dead or are about to be.
Already approved by the Senate is SB-475, which raises the base salary of the next Harford County state's attorney from $98,500, annually to $125,000 from 2014 to 2016 and then to $130,000 in 2017. The state's attorney also will continue to receive an annual increase based on the consumer price index, which is not to exceed 3 percent in any given year.
The bill is awaiting final action in the House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee.
Another local bill nearing passage is HB-1170, which relaxes existing requirements that a holder of a liquor license be a Harford County resident. The legislation would require the responsible license holder owning 25 percent of the business reside within a 100 miles of the Town of Bel Air.
HB-1170 has passed the House and is awaiting action of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Also getting close to final passage are two local education-related bills, HB-1060 and HB-838.
The first establishes a Northeast Maryland Additive Manufacturing Authority to foster the transfer of additive, or 3-D, printing and related technologies between federal agencies such as those operating at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and colleges, schools and businesses in Harford and Cecil counties.
The second bill establishes a task force to study vocational technological education needs in Harford County with an eye toward expanding such programs or building new facilities to meet student demands in Harford's public school system.
HB-1060 passed the House of Delegates and is on the Senate floor following a favorable committee report. HB-838 passed the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Another bill of local interest on both sides of the Susquehanna River is HB-1107 which requires the Maryland Transportation Authority to conduct a study of its plan to implement all-electronic tolling collection at the Hatem Bridge and other toll facilities.
The bill, which has passed the House and is awaiting action by the Senate Finance Committee, also places a two-year moratorium on the elimination of cash tolls at the bridge which links Harford and Cecil counties via Route 40.
Legislators from both sides of the river worked on the legislation in both houses, and its likely passage is considered a coup de grace, because the elimination of cash toll collections at the Hatem appeared to be a done deal at the start of the session.
There are a number of local bond bills which are expected to go down to the wire, including HB-1219 to provide $500,000 for renovations at Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton; HB-644 to provide $200,000 for renovation of Historical Society of Harford County headquarters in Bel Air; HB-648 to provide $250,000 for restoration of the Havre de Grace Opera House; and HB-649 to provide $75,000 for renovations at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum.
Another local bond bill, one that came in late in the session, is HB-1439, which provides a $50,000 state grant to complete the Edgewood Community Support Center.
Local bond bills are typically at the mercy of the key budget committees in both houses, and Harford's remain in those committees pending the final action that usually comes very near to the end of the session, when a lot of horse trading takes place in both chambers.