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Commissioners take positions on proposed legislation

It is now up to the Carroll County House and Senate delegations to the Maryland General Assembly to determine how important the opinion of the county board of commissioners is as it votes on legislation in Annapolis.

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners took positions on local and statewide legislation during its Thursday morning meeting. There were few unanimous votes as the individual commissioners had mixed opinions on proposed legislation. On some topics, the board chose not to take a position.

Here's a breakdown of the actions taken by the board:

Casino nights/card tournaments for

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charitable organizations



The proposed legislation seeks to amend the state's criminal law article in Carroll to allow card games and casino nights sponsored by certain qualified organizations for charitable purposes.

Vote: 4-1 in favor (Robin Bartlett Frazier opposed)

Comments: The size of the winnings, Frazier said, would attract people who are interested in "hardcore gambling."

With so many nonprofit organizations, including volunteer fire companies, struggling, they need all the help they can get to raise money, said Haven Shoemaker.

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Archery Safety Zone



The proposed legislation reduces the distance that bow hunters in Carroll County have to be from dwellings and structures to shoot their weapon from 150 yards to 50 yards.

Vote: Board took no position

Electioneering

boundaries



The proposed legislation sets electioneering boundaries in Carroll at 100 feet from the entrance and exit of a polling place instead of 25 feet.

Vote: 4-1 in opposition (Dave Roush in favor)

Comments: Political campaign workers and people running for office should be close enough to voters to easily provide them with their literature, said Commissioner Richard Rothschild.

Board of Election membership



The proposed legislation changes the make up of the Carroll County Board of Elections from three full-time and two substitutes, to five full-time members. The restructuring would cost the county an additional $3,800 a year.

Vote: 4-1 in opposition (Shoemaker in favor)

Additional early voting location



The proposed legislation allows the Board of Elections to have an early voting site at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center in Sykesville. It will cost the county $20,000 to have another early site for both the primary and general elections.

Vote: 3-2 in favor (Rothschild and Frazier were opposed)

Comments: The board of elections has not demonstrated a need for an extra early voting location in south Carroll, Frazier said.

Property tax credit for certain retirement communities



This proposal would authorize the county commissioners or a municipal corporation in Carroll to grant, by law, a tax credit against the county or municipal corporation property tax imposed on certain housing units at independent living retirement communities.

Vote: 4-1 in opposition (Roush in favor)

Goodwill bond

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The proposed legislation allows Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley Inc., to sell up to $800,000 in bonds to renovate the Goodwill facility in Westminster.

Vote: Board took no position

Agriculture Center bond



This proposal amends the Maryland Consolidated Capital Bond Loan of 2010 to extend the deadline for the Board of Directors of the Carroll County Agriculture Center Inc.

Vote: 5-0 in favor

Carroll County Board of Education student representative



The proposal codifies a student representative position on the Carroll County Board of Education.

Vote: 3-2 in opposition (Frazier and Shoemaker were in favor)

Comments: The commissioners who opposed the legislation said that the Board of Education had asked that it not be introduced before it went through a public hearing process.

Testimony of a convicted perjurer



The proposal establishes an exception which allows a person convicted of perjury to testify in a proceeding when they are an alleged victim.

Vote: Board took no position

Drug recognition expert program



The proposal would permit the testimony of a drug recognition expert police officer's opinion as to whether a driver is impaired by drugs or controlled dangerous substances in any criminal proceeding.

Vote: Board took no position

Carroll Community College Board of Trustees membership



The proposed legislation changed the number of members on the Carroll Community College Board of Trustees from seven to nine members.

Vote: 4-0-1 in opposition (Frazier abstained)

Teacher pension funding



Gov. Martin O'Malley has proposed having local governments share in the cost of teachers' retirement. Local governments will be required to pay 50 percent of combined costs of Social Security and teacher retirement contributions. The state currently covers 100 percent of local teachers' retirement expenses while local governments cover all of the cost of Social Security contributions.

Vote: 5-0 in opposition

Legislative redistricting



The proposal redraws the legislative district lines so that Carroll is served by resident representatives in the General Assembly.

Vote: 4-0-1 in favor (Shoemaker abstained)

Local redistricting



The delegations have chosen not to put forward legislation that changes the voting districts for the county board of commissioners.

Vote: 5-0 in favor

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