As session wraps, most Howard bills on track to pass

As Maryland legislators begin the final day of voting before the 2014 session comes to a close at midnight tonight, most Howard County-specific bills are on track to passing or have already passed. 

According to Howard County delegation chair Del. Guy Guzzone, a Democrat from District 13, Howard received a total of $830,000 in state funding for local capital projects. 

Of the six local bond bills, four projects were approved for funding. Elkridge's Day Resource Center, which offers basic amenities to the county's homeless citizens, will receive $315,000 for upgrades; the county's Head Start program will receive $200,000 for an expansion and retrofitting; the historic Belmont property will receive $65,000 for renovations; and the Community Action Council will receive $250,000 to establish a permanent food bank location. 

The assembly did not approve the delegation's request of $200,000 to pay for shaded structures on county playgrounds. The sixth bond bill, to fund an expansion of Patapsco Valley State Park's Hollofield play space, was withdrawn earlier in the session. 

Other local legislation, including a bill limiting the number of class A liquor licenses the Liquor Board can award based on a license-to-population ratio, a salary increase for the county's Board of Education and a bill allowing beer festivals in the county, had made it past most hurdles and were poised to pass today, Guzzone said. 

Two local bills -- one allowing casino events to raise money for nonprofits and one increasing the salary for the county's Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board -- were tied to similar local legislation from other counties and failed based on non-Howard-specific issues, according to Guzzone. 

And a bill increasing regulations on massage parlors, intended to fight prostitution in the county, was introduced late and died after facing opposition in hearings. 

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